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Bladeless Wind Turbine – Inspired by Nikola Tesla, posted in Inventions, Wind Power, Wind Turbines.


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Bladeless Wind Turbine – Inspired by Nikola Tesla

News » Energy | Biofuels | Environment | Hydrogen | Solar | Transportation | Wind
May 18th, 2010 - View Comments

Bladeless Wind Turbine A research company in New Hampshire recently patented its bladeless wind turbine, which is based on a patent issued to Nikola Tesla in 1913. This wind turbine is christened as the Fuller Wind Turbine. This turbine is developed by Solar Aero. The specialty of Fuller Wind Turbine is it has only one rotating part, known as the turbine-driveshaft. The entire machinery is assembled inside a housing. Wind turbines are often disliked by environmentalists because they kill birds and bats and often generate noise for the residents living nearby.

The wind industry is trying to find a solution to the problem by working with environmental groups, federal regulators, and other interested parties. They are trying to develop methods of measuring and mitigating wind energy’s effect on birds. The Fuller Wind Turbine offers hope to bird lovers and environmentalists.

Fuller Wind Turbine has several advantages over the traditional ones having blades. Fuller Wind Turbine has a screened inlet and outlet. If you try to get a closer look at this wind turbine you can see the only movement visible is as it adjusts to track the wind. This wind turbine can be utilized by the military surveillance and radar installations because there are no moving blades to cause difficulties.

Another plus attached to this wind turbine is that it won’t cost a heaven when you get its power. According to manufacturers this turbine is expected to deliver power at a cost at par with the coal-fired power plants. If you want to probe deeper, its good news that total operating costs over the lifetime of the unit are expected to be about $0.12/kWh.

If we take the maintenance angle it won’t cause much headache because it’s a bladeless turbine. The turbine maintenance requirements are not colossal and it would result in lower lifetime operating costs. The turbine is mainly supported on magnetic bearings. Another advantage is all of the generating equipments are kept at ground level. This will lead towards easy maintenance of equipments. The company comes out with encouraging figures and proclaims “final costs will be about $1.50/watt rated output, or roughly 2/3 the cost of comparable bladed units.”

If we take a look at the Tesla turbine patented in 1913, it operates using the viscous flow of a fluid to move the turbine and as a result generates energy. The Tesla turbine has a set of smooth disks fitted with nozzles that send out a moving gas to the edge of the disk. The gases drag on the disk by following the principle of viscosity and the adhesion of the surface layer of the gas. As the gas slows and adds force to the disks, it twirls in to the center exhaust. Because the rotor has no projections, it is very strong and sturdy. One has to be careful about the disk space because disks in the turbine need to be closely spaced so that they can trap the viscous flow. The Tesla turbine has extremely thin disks to reduce turbulence at the edges and that makes them effective. In 1913, Tesla was unable to find metals of adequate quality to make this work effectively. But now almost a century later, those limitations have been surmounted.

Solar Aero’s current prototype is a modest trailer-mounted unit. But inventor says that their other models “should be capable of 10kW output with no problem.” If this technology takes off smoothly it would remove many hurdles attached with conventional wind turbines and more environment friendly.

What do you think?

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  • joelsk44039

    Will this wind power technology produce “dispatchable” electricity? The cost of power over the lifetime of the unit is ONLY $0.12 per Kwh? That’s still more than triple the cost of coal generated electricity.

    Some bargain!!

  • Mag

    Interesting. I’m going to google the fuller wind tunnel and learn more, hopefully.

    And that house in the ad above these fields should have panels running the full width of the roof. It’s weird looking as is.

  • Tom

    YES Finally someone actually mentioned the cost — and it is well worth mentioning (probably why it is not mentioned in EVERY previous article involving solar or wind) — Now this is very exciting news and I can’t wait to see if I can buy it for my house and start generating! No towers, no blades, no rooftop, NO PROBLEM! — now what is the start up cost?

  • Francisco A Roque

    At last somebody decided to dust off one of Dr Tesla’s inventions, I know there has to be one out here able to replicate his electric car. Not to mention his power tower.

  • Jason

    This is bunk, pure bunk. Without a decent sized surface area to harvest wind from no device can be called a “wind turbine.” Maybe that’s not really what this is, but more likely this is just another attempt to take advantage of venture capital looking to invest in wind power.

  • Cassidy

    I doubt they received a patent, since this looks exactly like a Tesla Turbine except they have put a screen on the inlet and outlet. I had this idea years ago and figured out that the amount of pressure that gets developed internally would slow this down too much to be any good. The large rectangular opening gets narrowed down to a very very small channel that moves across some discs, and basically looks like a centrifugal pump which extracts the energy rather than pump it. I doubt they actually have attached a generator to is because I don’t think this size could do anything more than a few hundred watts, nothing needed for real power generation. Nice try though…

  • Ruth Case

    My concern with the wind turbine towers is the immense size of the blades and the fact that in the U.S. we have a miserable record in lack of maintenance of our infrastructure. The possibilities are frightening with blades flying off the structures.

    I believe that solar, wind, geothermal, etc power should be local and not transmitted over long distances.

  • Ray

    Dr. Nic is still influencing technology in so many ways. Amazing man who never really got the credit he deserved.

  • styke

    It is an interesting idea, and could significantly reduce manufacturing costs. If the purchase price is $1.50/watt, and it is low maintenance as they claim, then the lifetime cost (amortized over then years) to be close to 2 cents per kilowatt hour, which would be fantastic.

    They don’t claim that, however, so either the purchase price would be significantly higher than $1.50 per watt or there would be significant maintenance at around $0.10/watt as an ongoing cost.

    Putting a screen front and back is interesting, but ordinary designs could do that, too, if they had a large hoop connected to the unit. Then ordinary wind turbines would look more like house fans, of course, which would be amusing.

  • sheckyvegas

    Funny how they avoided the comparison to vertical axis wind turbines.

  • russ

    Jason you are so correct. some many people think they can get something for nothing and then there is not in my backyard syndrome.

  • Neal Hilt

    People better keep studing Tesla’s designs. Nikola had a great mind. Today along with the oil spill is time for our president to promote these type of ideas. Read about Tesla’s defense design against enemy aircraft.

  • Ralph

    Combine this with a solar collector and have both charge a (quick -remove) lithium battery…. could help with an electric car’s energy expense.

  • MK

    Tesla was a great man, the man who lit the world. Most of what Tesla created was confiscated by the government before and after he died.
    I think he was too smart for his own good. Had ocd with the number 3 and spent all of what he earned on his personal research. We need more people like that. Granted his ideal in the above article has few application he was creative not just numbers but really broke out of the box. Its rumored that he created the “ray gun” which the government took and is now believed to be tested in the deserts of Arizona for space wars. (to take down a satellite) There is a thin thin thin line between brilliant and crazy

  • Naaa

    Tesla was a brilliant man with an amazing mind. Im only beginning to study him and am finding he is amazing. I hope to eventually go through his patents and try to replicate them and bring his plans to life. Tesla was a little crazy but the world made him so. Even though he wasnt recognized during his lifetime he realized that his rivals would own the present but he would own the future.

  • Rashanyn

    If it was invented by Nikola Tesla, how comes it was named “Fuller Wind Turbine” ?

  • http://inovaenergy.com Kenny Redd

    I have experimented with Tesla’s concept in a wind turbine. The results of my wind tunnel tests show that a pure Tesla design does not perform as well as a traditional windmill type turbine.

    I searched USPO for patent#7,695,242 as posted on Solar Aero website and there is no patent by that number.

  • tony gallegos

    Absolute hooey. the physics dont add up and the amount of power generated by this toy will be miniscule and in no way able to replace a proven wind turbine. Let this guy build it and reveal the results of a 12 month field test. Buyer Beware!

  • Keith Elliott

    Folks…please…don’t be so negative.

    Did the first car travel 100 m.p.h. and get 60 m.p.g? Of course not.

    The prudent thing to do is to start small, try to prove the idea, and then scale up.

    I believe there is a time limit on patents isn’t there? Is it something like 17 years? I don’t see why anyone else could re-patent the same idea, that hardly seems fair.

    If this one is so difficult to build with such precision, then I think I might be in favor of something a little more robust and simpler in design and construction. Something perhaps, that a competent DIY person could tackle for themselves.

    I have noted that there are several different generator designs appearing using high power magnets. Unfortunately, I have not seen one that is actually for sale yet. The type I am speaking of is the one that supposedly runs on 400 or 500 watts of power, yet manages to produce over 2 KW. Please note I did say “supposedly”.

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