Startups promote ‘wind power without the blades’

Posted: March 17, 2021 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation, turbines, wind
Tags:

Credit: Vortex Bladeless


The makers say: ‘Vortex Bladeless is a vortex induced vibration resonant wind generator. It harnesses wind energy from a phenomenon of vorticity called Vortex Shedding. Basically, bladeless technology consists of a cylinder fixed vertically with an elastic rod. The cylinder oscillates on a wind range, which then generates electricity through an alternator system.’
– – –
New tech developments are happening in the wind power sector, says ZME Science.

Wind power is mostly associated with sweeping white blades, taking advantage of the strong gusts that blow over the land or the sea.

But what if we could forget about the blades and even the wind and instead just have a turbine?

That’s the idea of a group of European companies, who have come up with new ways to expand wind energy without the limitations of a conventional turbine.

Wind has gradually turned into a leading energy source around the globe, with costs dropping every year. But turbines can be problematic: they’re unsuited for some areas, they can harm birds, and they’re not recyclable.

This has led green energy pioneers to start thinking of ways to reinvent wind power – even forgoing the need for the blades in a tower.

In Spain, the small startup Vortex Bladeless has come up with a design that can create energy from winds without the actual blades.

The company claims not to be against traditional windfarms but instead hopes to fill the gaps in locations where traditional wind farms may not be appropriate, such as in urban or residential areas.

Continued here.
– – –
The Guardian also covered this story yesterday:
Good vibrations: bladeless turbines could bring wind power to your home

‘Skybrators’* generate clean energy without environmental impact of large windfarms, say green pioneers.
[*a jokey reference to their appearance]

Comments
  1. cognog2 says:

    These rotating cylinders act in like manner to a wing blade which produces lift when air travels across it.. They do however require an input of energy themselves to rotate the cylinder. It is an intriguing concept; but it would be FALSE to class this as bladeless.

    Scaling the concept up for capturing wind energy has many problems; as at the root, the available energy in wind depends on the actual area of the wind involved and so has to be of large area. So these cylinders would have to be large, or many of smaller size, as like wind farms.

    Secondly there needs to be a reversing method in the system to convert the lift force direction in order to produce a supply of power. This can produce many problems of dealing with inertia and potential fatigue failure. There would also the matter of low level noise pollution due to this reversal requirement.

    If the concept was developed we would probably see the current blade turbines replaced with just large cylinders blighting the environment.

    All in all I suggest an expensive dead duck for us all, except for those feeding off the grants and subsidies involved in chasing after it.

  2. saighdear says:

    Huh, Hobby or enthusiast engineering at its best: BOTTOME LINE – No Wind = No Energy = Waste of effort. https://duckduckgo.com/?q=Effort+meaning+in+Engineering&t=opera&ia=web

  3. oldbrew says:

    More tech details here, including:

    Vortex’s patented self-synchronization system allows capturing a wider range of wind speeds with no effort, with a cut-in point in 3 m/s approx (start speed). It can automatically vary rigidity and “synchronize ” with the incoming wind speed, in order to stay in resonance without any mechanical or manual interference.

    https://vortexbladeless.com/technology-design/
    – – –
    Kármán vortex street

    Vortex shedding caused the collapse of three towers at Ferrybridge Power Station C in 1965 during high winds.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/K%C3%A1rm%C3%A1n_vortex_street
    . . .
    Vibration Damages Towers (Case : Ferrybridge Cooling Towers Collapse)

    The vibrations of slender structures are caused by cross-wind loads known as the phenomenon vortex shedding. Specific critical wind speeds around an object can create under and over pressures that makes it move (vibrate) in cross-wind direction. These forces can make bridges swing , and chimneys or similar slender and light structures oscillate. Oscillation occur when the damping is small and the natural resonance frequency is close to the vortex shedding frequency.

    https://indoaero.com/2011/12/14/vibration-damages-towers-case-ferrybridge-cooling-towers-collapse/
    . . .
    Vortex shedding

    If the bluff (as opposed to streamlined) structure is not mounted rigidly and the frequency of vortex shedding matches the resonance frequency of the structure, then the structure can begin to resonate, vibrating with harmonic oscillations driven by the energy of the flow.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vortex_shedding
    . . .
    So the trick for the wind power idea is to exploit the resonances.

    ‘Vortex shedding behind a circular cylinder. In this animation, the flow on the two sides of the cylinder are shown in different colors, to show that the vortices from the two sides alternate.’ Courtesy, Cesareo de La Rosa Siqueira @ Wikipedia.

  4. Kip Hansen says:

    It should be noted that this effort so far has exactly zero commercialization, has not been certified in any country, and, as far as can be discovered from their promotional website, there are no actual working, full-sized installations anywhere.

    So, an interesting idea, but pie-in-the-sky at this moment. worth talking about, though.

    Note that the idea depends on oscillation — vibration if you wish. Attaching one of these, say, to your rooftop (mentioned on their website) would cause your whole house to hum or pulse. The same effect is found in wind-turbines on sailboats, especially when the wind-generator is attached to a mast, which in turn transmits the vibration to the boats superstructure or hull. Many sailors have had to abandon their wind-turbines after expensive installation for this reason.

    On my sailboat, the wind generator was mounted on a pole at the aft of the main deck — and could, at certain very specific wind speeds, set up a maddening vibration — sometimes leading us to tie it off.

    As I said, an interesting idea.

  5. @cognog: no rotation required or allowed. It vibrates when the wind blows over in. I suspect in the same way as a blade of grass vibrates when you blow it.
    Still, not much power and will require a grid connection so it remains under control when the wind is too high.
    I think that sound problems will be horrendous at full size.
    Being built out of resin and carbon fibre does not sound as though they a fully on side with green team. A bit like all other green projects I surprise

  6. oldbrew says:

    The ‘self-synchronization system’ is supposed to convert vibrations into resonances, or at least that’s what they seem to be saying.

    “Vortex successfully adapts its natural frequency to resonate with the wind’s frequencies within a wide wind speed range“

  7. JB says:

    And with this approach, it captures how much of the theoretical power in the wind??
    In the 70s William Allison came up with a modified blade design, similar to turbines, that was capable of acquiring 56% of the wind’s energy. Ran in slower winds and tolerated excessive wind speed, and avoided the problem of pressure pile-up.

    It made an hellacious noise….

    A device that seeks to maintain resonance with the wind’s variance, MUST transmit that vibration into the medium it is attached to. And what did Tesla discover with his ground-moving energy device?

  8. ivan says:

    Whoever came out with this statement: Wind has gradually turned into a leading energy source around the globe, with costs dropping every year. needs beating with a clue stick.

    I suppose the idiots that designed this should be awarded an E for effort but nothing higher. I agree with Steve Richards the sound is very likely to be more than anyone can stand and just what the vortex pressure gradients will do to birds, bats, insects and people they don’t know and I assume they don’t want to know, it might mess up their ability to claw in the money.

    Just another pie in the sky green scam!

  9. oldbrew says:

    Their tech page says:
    ‘Unlike regular rotating-based wind power, with the proper calibration and anchoring we expect Vortex technology to be completely noiseless.’

    https://vortexbladeless.com/technology-design/

  10. ivan says:

    There has to be some noise even if it is below the normal hearing threshold after all you have the vortex producing varying pressures behind the device and since sound depends on varying pressure in a medium, in this case air, there will be noise. You may not hear it but you will feel it. I have see a light plane trying to land just after an airliner had taken off – not a pretty site once it was caught in the vortex from the bigger plane.

  11. stpaulchuck says:

    Rube Goldberg is proud.

  12. Gamecock says:

    The message is, “Wind power can work!”

    Viable, reliable, abundant wind power is just one discovery away. It’s coming !!!

    In a few weeks time, another new breakthrough technology will be breathlessly reported. Signifying nothing. TPTB who embrace Net Zero love this stuff because it makes Net Zero seem plausible, delaying your drawing your pitch forks and lighting your torches.

  13. Curious George says:

    “The Vortex Tacoma (2,75m) estimated rated power output is 100w once industrialised.”
    So you’ll need 20 of them to start a refrigerator.

  14. E.M.Smith says:

    Cognog2:

    I think you are talking about the Magnus turbine. A different but similar Real Soon Now Just Send Money idea:
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S096014811300431X

    Abstract

    One of attracting concepts has been the use of Magnus effect to produce lift from rotating cylinders in various engineering applications. With emerging innovative Magnus type wind turbine technology, it is important to determine power performance and characteristics of such generators as correctly as possible. As stressed by Seifert, there is lack of theories in design and modelling of using Magnus force in engineering which is particularly noticed for the horizontal axis Magnus type wind turbines. In this study, the importance of research carried out for determining lift and drag forces of rotating circular cylinders is highlighted and reviewed. Then, the theoretical methods used in designing commercial aerofoil type wind turbines are extended to apply on the Magnus types. New formulation is presented for potential flow around the Magnus blades. The blade element momentum (BEM) theory is formulated for the Magnus wind turbines. A cubic function for angular induction factor is found from the BEM analysis which is strongly dependant on the drag to lift ratio. It is also observed that the relative wind incidence angle and the local power coefficient of the Magnus cylinder are independent functions of spin ratio.

  15. tom0mason says:

    According to https://vortexbladeless.com/technology-design/ this system uses magnets (people of the Congo will be pleased) for the generator and ‘system tuning’.

    Frequency tuning
    The frequency of the Vortex shedding is proportional to the windstream’s velocity, however each structure has its own natural vibration frequency. To match wind frequencies with a device’s natural frequency you should modify the body mass (the more mass the less natural frequency) and the rigidity (the more rigidity, higher frequencies), among other parameters. Therefore, you would need complex mechanisms to vary the natural frequency of that device.
    To avoid this, Vortex design uses instead a magnetic confinement system with permanent magnets that increase the apparent stiffness of the system according to their degree of flexion. The degree of flexion grows as long the wind intensifies. We call this “tuning system“.
    As a result, Vortex’s patented self-synchronization system allows capturing a wider range of wind speeds with no effort, with a cut-in point in 3 m/s approx (start speed). It can automatically vary rigidity and “synchronize ” with the incoming wind speed, in order to stay in resonance without any mechanical or manual interference. This way the aerogenerator’s lock-in range increases.

    So investors get your cheque-books out now and be the first in you area to have a nice vibrating pole in your area.
    P.S What stops the interface between the base and the moving structure from wearing, and what level of vibrational stress can the concrete base withstand?

  16. oldbrew says:

    TomO says: What stops the interface between the base and the moving structure from wearing>

    ‘As for the parts, theoretically the part that suffers the most stress is the carbon fiber rod that forms the core of the device, and it is the one that I tell you that operating normally it should last many years. As for the rest of the parts, we do not expect a great degradation due to the normal operation of the wind turbine, but it will be the certification that can tell us in detail which parts will be more prone to breakage so that we can improve our design.’ – via Google translate.

  17. tom0mason says:

    Thanks Oldbrew,
    So yet to be determined — ho-ho-ho 🙂

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