Wind turbine without blades!
Geege Schuman stashed this in Energy
The new design has advantages but wind energy has challenges.
There are many advantages to the new Vortex design: It is cheaper to manufacture than current pinwheel turbines. Maintenance prices are also lower because there is no friction from mechanically moving parts (e.g., the blades on a traditional turbine), which reduces the need for oiling and bolt replacement. It is completely silent and birds can fly around them safely (though it has yet to be announced whether the turbine is nest-proof.)
New wind technology, however, always receives some skepticism: Most wind-harvesting technologies only work at a fraction of their most efficient output. Wind turbines need smooth, laminar airflow; the kind you only really find at about 100 meters (328 feet) above the ground. The wind that we know and love to hate is turbulent, messy and generally no good for wind turbines. Vortex claims that their wind turbine can adapt to any wind speed with the assistance of the magnets in its core; however, the details on how this actually works are frustratingly hard to come by.
The Vortex device has been computationally modeled, tested in a wind tunnel, and there are prototypes out in the open, but details on tests carried out by the company or independent labs are currently scant. It is also not the first wind turbine to take advantage of oscillatory technology. Researchers in the '80s found that the swirling oscillations were too random for reliable power generation, and the speed of oscillations put a lot of stress on the structure and caused it to break down unexpectedly.
The idea hasn't been terribly successful in the past, so it will be interesting to see how Vortex Bladeless tackles these challenges. While this invention might not revolutionize Earth's renewable power sources just yet, it's still exciting to see what designers are creating.
For some reason I see this technology: