Green Technology Spotlight: Wind Towers Instead of Wind Turbines

A company called SheerWind, Inc. is developing a wind  technology that purportedly can generate 25 megawatts without having to build a mega-size turbine.

One of its INVELOX towers produces four times the energy of the biggest offshore turbine and six times that of the largest onshore turbine.

If the technology gets off the ground, one tower would supply 25,000 US homes at a fraction of the size and cost of traditional wind turbines, says SheerWind.

It works in a somewhat analogous way to concentrating solar.

It captures, accelerates and concentrates wind in a tower, increasing the velocity of wind. "By concentrating and accelerating wind, we create a similar effect to natural wind corridors used by traditional wind towers. We are able to exceed current industry standards and make wind power costs competitive with fossil fuels," says Cyndi Lesher, Executive VP of Sheerwind, and former CEO of Xcel Energy Company. And this is without subsidies.

The technology has been reviewed and validated by experts at major research universities and prototypes have been tested under controlled laboratory conditions.

SheerWind

Here’s how SheerWind describes the technology:

Conventional wind turbines use massive turbine generator systems mounted on top of a tower. INVELOX, by contrast, funnels wind energy to ground-based generators. Instead of snatching bits of energy from the wind as it passes through the blades of a rotor, wind is captured with a funnel and directed through a tapering passageway that naturally accelerates its flow. This stream of kinetic energy then drives a generator that is installed safely and economically at ground level.

Bringing the airflow from the top of the tower to ground level allows for greater power generation with much smaller turbine blades. It also allows for networking, allowing multiple towers to direct energy to the same generator.

The unit is about 50% shorter than traditional wind towers and uses a ground-based turbine with blades that are 84% smaller. Fewer generators are required, so equipment and maintenance costs are lower. Most importantly, energy output is greater.

INVELOX is scalable, equally suitable for use in major wind farms or micro-generation settings. It will produce power effectively at much lower wind speeds than current systems do, which means it will have a dramatically wider geographical range of use.

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Comments on “Green Technology Spotlight: Wind Towers Instead of Wind Turbines”

  1. HCBob

    This is the most fascinating idea that I have seen for making electricity from the wind. It would seem to avoid a number of problems that exist with the really tall windmills. It should reduce the bird and bat kill. Maintenance should be cheaper and safer as there are no large turbine blades located 200 feet in the air and tied to the generator, also 200 feet in the air. Thus no large blades or ice from the blades to fly off and travel hundreds of feet endangering people and property. Fire fighting for an electrical fire in the generator could be done as it is on the ground. The noise level should be much less than the large wind turbines, and hopefully, there would be no infrasound (0 – 20 hertz), which people cannot hear, but is a problem. It would be interesting to see the results, performance, noise, electrical output and cost etc. of a full scale prototype built and operated at some location.

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  2. Fraforst

    I agree with HCBob, this is great. it is certainly a much better idea than what the current industry has done. In fact, the technology seems to copy nature. Go SheerWind, we need more of this ideas.

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  3. SeanT

    one of the reasons towers are 90meters in the air – that is where the wind is. dont buy that the output is greater on these. the wind industry has a long standing penchant for overstating system outputs.

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  4. Mike Barnard

    Invelox is pushing technology that hasn’t worked in 90 years of attempts. It’s always cheaper and more reliable to put larger blades in the air than shrouds. They’ve received a lot of investment money of various types to not deliver a single working production unit.

    Invelox triggered a massive eight out of thirteen possible red flags on my assessment of whether they are good or bad bets for investment.

    http://barnardonwind.com/2013/06/03/good-and-bad-bets-new-wind-technologies-rated/

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