Current wind turbines with rotating blades are visually obstructive, mechanically inefficient, cause noise pollution, and have been reported to have detrimental health effects on residents living near them. Furthermore, bladed wind turbines have also proven to be a major hazard for wildlife such as birds and bats, killing nearly 600,000 birds a year.
As a result of their many disadvantages, a number of cities and municipalities in countries across the world have banned the installation and use of bladed wind turbines.
A number of modern designers, utilizing technology first patented by Nikola Tesla over 100 years ago, have developed innovative bladeless wind turbines that resolve all of the issues with bladed wind turbines. But before we showcase them, let's take a quick look at the history of bladeless wind turbines, which date back to the early 1900's during the era of the great Nikola Tesla.
Nikola Tesla & the History of Bladeless Wind Turbines
In 1913, Inventor Nikola Tesla patented a bladeless steam turbine that he claimed was the most efficient and the most simple rotary engine ever designed. Due to a lack of high-quality materials, Tesla was never able to properly build his engine.
A century later, we now have all the materials needed to build Tesla's turbine, and in 2010, a patent was issued to a company called Solar Aero for a wind turbine based on the Tesla design. Their turbine will be presented in this article along with other bladeless turbines like it that will enable us to revolutionize energy wind energy production worldwide.
"Every home in America can run on wind energy. In fact these units can be installed on existing power poles in rural areas, to catch the wind and send its energy back to the plant."
- Raymond Green, Inventor
The following 5 bladeless wind turbines have resolved all of the major issues with conventional bladed wind turbines, and include many advantageous features such as few moving parts, little maintenance and zero noise during operation.
Bladeless Wind Turbine #1: The Saphonian
With a design inspired by a ship's sails, Saphon Energy has created the Saphonian - a bladeless wind turbine at double the efficiency, and half the cost, of a regular wind turbine. According to Saphon Energy, the Saphonian is more efficient than bladed turbines and its Performance Coefficient (Cp) is way beyond Betz Limit (59.3%). The Saphonian efficiency level stands at the outstanding level of around 80% and therefore, its generated power increases exponentially with the wind speed.
When wind interacts with the patented "Zero-Blade Technology", it drives pistons which then convert the wind energy into mechanical energy. Hydraulic pressure is then produced and converted into electricity using a hydraulic motor and generator.
A law in physics called Betz's law, published in 1919 by German physicist Albert Betz, calculates the maximum power that can be extracted from the wind by a wind turbine, independent of its design. Incredibly, Saphon Energy claims that the efficiency of their Saphonian turbine exceeds the Betz limit. You can learn more about the Saphonian bladeless wind turbine in the following video.
To inquire about The Saphonian bladeless wind turbine for purchase or otherwise, use the following contact information:
3, Impasse n°3, Avenue Azouz Rebaï, El Manar 2, PO Box 2092 Tunis, TUNISIA
Tel : +216 71 886 808
Fax : +216 71 887 068
Bladeless Wind Turbine #2: The EWICON
A group of architects from one of the leading technical universities in Europe called Delft University of Technology have developed a revolutionary wind energy generator called the EWICON (Electrostatic Wind Energy Converter). It is highly efficient, has no moving parts, undergoes little wear and tear and requires almost no maintenance.
Perhaps the most important design feature of the UWICON is that it makes no noise and casts no moving shadows, two of the principal complaints that regularly deter wind turbine installation. These qualities make the EWICON bladeless wind turbine ideal for installations within cities, for example on rooftops and also for offshore installations.
How does it work?
The EWICON is comprised of a circular steel frame that encases a framework of horizontal steel pipes. Within the framework, charged water droplets are created which are then blown by the wind. The movement of the droplets then generates an electrical current that can be used on site or distributed for use by customers via the electricity grid.
Below is an animation of the EWICON bladeless wind turbine created by designers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.
Bladeless Wind Turbine #3: The Fuller
In 2009, the New Hampshire company Solar Aero unveiled a prototype bladeless wind turbine with the virtue of only one rotating part, its turbine driveshaft. The Fuller bladeless wind turbine is based largely on the work of Nikola Tesla, and in 2010 the company received a patent for its device.
According to the patent, "The present invention provides a further improvement over the basic concept of a Tesla turbine. The turbine of the present invention is particularly useful as a wind turbine or the like, and provides maximum efficiency in converting wind energy to mechanical power. It can also be used in geothermal applications, in which a refrigerant fluid, flowing in a closed loop, is used to drive the turbine."
Like other bladeless turbines, the entire assembly is contained inside a housing, which effectively eliminates any threat to wildlife. Solar Aero's turbine is expected to produce energy for about $1500 per kilowatt.
Currently, the company's website has disappeared, but thanks to the patent we know the address and phone number of the patent owner. If you wish to contact Howard Fuller to inquire about purchasing one of his turbines, here is the inventors information:
Howard Fuller, CEO
Solar Aero Research
77 Pleasant Street, Unit G,
Greenville, NH 03048, USA.
Bladeless Wind Turbine #4: Catching Wind Power
89-year-old World War II veteran Raymond Green has invented a bladeless wind turbine called Catching Wind Power which is bird and bat-friendly and very quiet in operation.
“Our design does not have any external moving parts to hit the birds,” writes Green on his website. “Our unit is easy to see so the birds can avoid it, and all moving parts are internal. The blades are mounted behind the windsock and inner compression cone, therefore making them nonaccessible to birds. Also, our turbines make virtually no noise.”
Green claims that his 'Catching Wind Power' turbine can generate double the energy output of a typical turbine, even when placed closer to the ground than normal. Green has a patent for his Catching Wind Power prototype, which he created at an estimated cost of $550USD.
How does it work?
Green’s CWP Compressed Air Enclosed Wind Turbine completely eliminates the three massive blades seen on most wind turbines. Rather than waiting for the wind to turn a blade, Green’s device features a patented Inner Compression Cone Technology, which he claims will squeeze and compress the incoming air in order to create more power at the turbine.
Catching Wind Power turbines are available in various sizes, from personal-sized turbines for residential use to large "Our turbines can be added to existing towers to help boost existing output, or they can replace the outdated traditional three blade turbines completely," said Green. The CWP bladeless wind turbines can also be mounted to utility poles in areas known to be windy adding a back up and auxiliary output using the existing grid.
In 2014, Green teamed up with a company named Sigma Design Company to help bring his product to the market. Below is a video demonstration of how the Catching Wind Power bladeless wind turbine works.
For inquiries about purchasing a Catching Wind Power bladeless wind turbine, here is the contact information:
P.O. Box 1045
Jackson, CA 95642
Bladeless Wind Turbine #5: SheerWind Invelox
Perhaps the most efficient wind turbine ever developed, SheerWind claims their Invelox bladeless wind turbine is up to 600% more efficient than traditional wind turbines. The Invelox can generate power from winds as gentle as 1 to 2 MPH. The company says it can produce wind power at a cost of $750 per kilowatt, installation included.
The Invelox bladeless wind turbine works by capturing passing wind in large scoops and funneling it down through an increasingly narrow space, where its velocity is multiplied. The compressed air is then used to power a small turbine generator. The following video illustrates how the highly efficient Invelox technology works.
As for the future of the Sheerwind Invelox bladeless wind turbine and whether or not it lives up to its claims remains uncertain. It is my hope that somebody responsible buys the patent rights to it and conducts proper testing and demonstration to prove to the public whether or not the technology and the claims of its inventors are legitimate.
Despite the highly efficient bladeless wind turbine being first invented over 100 years ago by the late Nikola Tesla, humanity's first attempt at harvesting wind energy involved using wind turbines with 3-blades, which proved to be visually obstructive, inefficient and perilous to both humans and wildlife.
Thanks to modern designers and engineers, we now have at least 5 highly-efficient bladeless wind turbine prototypes that can be used to more safely and efficiently harvest and employ wind to power our lives.