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May 29

Wind Turbine Concept Inspired by Jet Engines

Posted in Energy Inventions | Wind Power | Wind Turbines

FloDesign Wind Turbine According to a recent article from Greentech Media, a Massachusetts aerospace company called FloDesign is working on a wind turbine concept that could potentially be at least twice as efficient as traditional rotor blade turbines, which force air around them instead of through them. It works by channeling wind into a vortex that spins the blades and generates electricity. The company hopes to have a working prototype completed by the end of 2009. Unfortunately their website at flodesignwindturbine.org is not currently functional, but the following video gives a great overview and technical details.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8Si-74IcrQ

Benefits of FloDesign Turbines

The traditional prop acts as an obstruction to airflow, forcing air around it instead of through it. To compensate for this, props are built at huge sizes, with blades around 150 feet long. Their size makes them fragile, requiring low rotational speed, and large gearboxes. FloDesign’s wind turbine extracts 3-4 times as much energy from the wind, allowing much smaller and faster blades. Diffusers provide greater efficiency at the expense of weight and length, and they are prone to separation of flow and losses. FloDesign’s mixer duct is less effected by off-axis flow, or turbulence, and uses FloDesign’s mixer ejector uses axial vorticity.

It’s like an Archimedes screw for air. When the two flows meet from different angles, they create a rapid mixing vortex. FloDesign’s turbine can automatically align to the wind direction like a kite string, and does not need motorized alignment. Traditional blades are enormous, and require special infrastructure to manufacture and transport. The FloDesign turbine can be disassembled to fit in one truck. FloDesign’s smaller robust rotor spins effectively at lower winds, but can also sustain higher winds in which other turbines would stall or break.

Traditional turbines require wide spacing, while FloDesign’s turbines can be placed closer together, optimizing land. While traditional turbines use fragile cantilevered beams, FloDesign’s shorter, stronger rotor benefits from a hoop. Traditional turbines require placement away from people and buildings. FloDesign turbines are inherently safer, adopting methods from the engineering of jet engines.

  • manjit

    Great innovation. Kindly look into using the bernouli principle. This wind turbine will make it produce more RPM with less wind or air. Keep up the good job!

  • Jan

    The FloDesign Turbine looks like a very good idea. Why hasn’t anyone come up with this before?

  • http://www.svshs.wa.edu.au/ Peter Spicer-Wensley

    The use of deflectors and collectors to concentrate wind energy suits this design. Standard wind turbines are relatively inefficient as they are collecting a relatively diffuse energy source over a restricted wind speed range with the difficulties inherent in large moving structures. The FloDesign system would work well with collectors, baffles and natural features (such as gorges) that serve to concentrate air flow or channel wind from one particular direction. These could be fitted onto the top and sides of skyscrapers or cliffs where high speed surface winds provide a concentrated energy flow.

    A similar modified design could be used for water turbines for the collection of tidal or current flow water energy. Hydro is more concentrated than wind energy and could yield high energy collection and efficiency gains over wave and obstructive tidal collectors.

    Fantastic system design!

  • http://windenergy7.com/turbines/ WindEnergy7

    It’s a great idea, I guess but it’s already been patented by a chinese guy. I would look into that before spending too much money. There’s a guy who has many patents with VAWT turbines and such in China, he’s already patented this concept and I already saw drawings of it a while back.

    WindEnergy7

  • Larry S. Mong

    An idea whos time has come. This idea has an absolute host of benefits to compliment the already heavily used and promoted wind turbine that are being agressively built.
    Imagine 3 of these FloDesign Wind Turbines attached to the top of an Electric Vehicle providing both extended mile capacity but also recharging fewer-lighter weight batteries furthering the mileage capacity. Currently most vehicle already have Air Damns under the front…just imagine the potential benefits for years to come! Stay focused on the GOAL…Make it happen NOW!

  • Dominique Dupont

    “manjit: ” I understand what you mean, but all wings work with the bernouilli principle. I think what’s different here is really the capture of the high velocity wind that is deflected in the traditional concept.

  • Howard Wilkinson

    Jet engine concepts do NOT translate well to low speed applications as we have seen in general aviation where many folks have repeatedly attempted to “revolutionize” aviation….. and routinely failed to achieve anything even close to the propulsion efficiency of an open prop. In this application it makes even less sense. Extracting more energy from wind results in more resistance to airflow resulting in MORE air going around rather than through the turbine. The video is liberally salted with BS, and has all the earmarks of a marketing scam built around a non-functional concept. I don’t buy a word of it!!! None of this is new or original in concept.

    Howard Wilkinson

  • http://www.archivale.com Marc de Piolenc

    The basic idea is sound – use a shroud to make the effective area of the rotor larger than its physical size, by inducing additional flow. Grumman built a similar machine called the Diffuser Augmented Wind Turbine, and I believe an Israeli outfit also tried it. There are two problems – one is the size, weight and cost of the shroud, and the other is a tendency for the flow to separate in the diffuser, reducing its effectiveness. If I understand what these folks are trying to do, their mixer/ejector is supposed to re-energize the boundary layer in the diffuser to prevent separation. That still leaves the problems of shroud weight and cost. By the way, an inventor by the name of Suess built a similar rig to get energy from fast-flowing rivers in the late 1920’s; a favorable report on his work was made by the Polytechnic Institute of Vienna. For Suess, the problem was much easier due to the 800 times higher density of water.

  • lajolla30

    Please check the following web site:
    http://www.torishima.co.jp/wind-1000/feature.html

    Patent ownwd by Kushiyu University. Torishima is selling this type of wind turbine, but the size is small.

  • russ

    You got it right Howard – these smart fellows are saying they can defeat Betz’s law – do away with back pressure.

    I see nothing in common to compare with a jet engine.

    I am sure they are looking for investors with deep pockets – probably people should hurry though as I doubt they will be around long.

  • http://wind-turbine-jet.blogspot.com Wind Turbine Jet

    I love it more reliable more robust and more efficient! I know Batter is a word of opinion but this is BETTER BETTER BEST I have seen yet of course in my opinion. Safety isn’t a major concern of mine but yea its safer to. Then why don’t I build myself a small scale model for reliable power.

  • YoMomma

    Patent? I think not. If they got a patent on the design as described, then it was not in the USA. And whereever it was patented, the international rights of that patent are clearly subject to trivial dismissal.

    A patent must be on something “unique, not manufactured for sale elsewhere previously.”

    The multiblade design is nothing new.
    Farmers have been converting wind power into serious mechanical power for many years. And they do NOT use any silly three bladed waste of space illogical “aerofoil lifting” turbines. They use flat plates set on about a 45 degree angle, and they do not care if you like their design or not. Still, the multibladed design is nothing new.

    The use of a shroud is nothing new.
    Furthermore the use of a shroud is anti-productive.
    “The basic idea is sound – use a shroud to make the effective area of the rotor larger than its physical size, by inducing additional flow…” No that idea (for free-flow air) is not sound. The shroud itself is a problem. Consider what the idea is: Very simply you are saying that if someone cuts the point off of a hollow cone, and slightly induces wind into the small end, that the wind coming out the big end will be greater in volume. The greater volume of wind which comes out of the larger end would induce more wind to enter the small end, and thus create a self-sustained continuous increase of flow over time. That simply does not happen. If it did happen then by simply inducing the wind into the small end for a short time would create a continuous (unending) flow perpetually. You are therefore claiming a perpetual motion concept.

    The old farmers windmills do not use a shroud. Surely they may have tried a shroud, and they probably did not give a sh*t what you personally thought of the look of the thing. But, as farmers are, they made it work one way or another, and that does not include a shroud. If that company is getting tax dollars for developing that thing, then [no comment].

    Go search for “low wind speed startup” and see what you get. Flat plate technology is nothing new. It works. If that company would have simply built without the shroud, and left the design with multiple blades at 45 degree angles, and not claimed a false “patent” then they might have done far better.

    “That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.” (I don’t remember the tune that was from.)

    I doubt that you guys know what bernouli’s principle is or even what Betz’s law is. Explain the logic of their use or you make you self look foolish.

  • http://www.archivale.com Marc de Piolenc

    You’re quite wrong about a shrouded wind turbine being a perpetual motion machine. It does not violate any physical law, and it does require a wind to drive it, like any other turbine. It simply induces a greater mass flow through the turbine than would occur without the shroud. As a rough measure, the “capture area” of the shroud is governed by the size of the shroud exit, rather than being a fraction of the turbine’s swept area as is the case with an open turbine. There have been successful experiments with shrouded turbines in Israel and the USA. The big disadvantage of course is the size, weight and expense of the shroud; In most cases it is cheaper to just build a much bigger turbine to achieve the same capture area as the smaller turbine with shroud. There is also the problem of making sure that flow stays attached in the shroud downstream of the turbine.

    Marc de Piolenc
    co-author: Ducted Fan Design, Vol. 1
    http://massflow.archivale.com/ductbook.htm

  • russ

    Actually the new international patents are good around the world. Before them you had to patent the invention in each country.

    With the old patent (one country) you could patent an ‘invention’ in one country and I could patent exactly the same thing in another country – even if it had been in use and sold for many years in the first country.

    In dealing with new technology processes I have had considerable exposure to this point. For example, we developed and patented a concept and equipment in India for a direct reduction plant modification – I and others hold the patent. Midrex (the original overall process designer) later patented exactly the same thing in the US where I am one of the supporters and another as the inventor.

    Many patents that companies display are just for that reason – to show and are probably not legally enforceable. Many are from small scale inventors who are just wasting their time and money. A very few are serious items.

    The turbine described above is only good as an anchor – or to get money out of suckers – sorry bout that!

  • Bill Brosky

    Hey their site is up, but you have to request a logon id from them to even get past the picture on their home pate

    Marc de Piolenc said: “Grumman built a similar machine called the Diffuser Augmented Wind Turbine”.

    It should have worked “in theory” but didn’t. New Zealand started the Vortec Diffuser Augmented Turbine project in 1998 and gave up on it 3 years later in 2001.

    You can read the details at:
    http://www.wind-works.org/articles/vortec.html

    The FloDesign is a little different from the Vortec, it’s been almost a year surely they would have had enough time to make a prototype and test that pretty CAD picture.

  • trevor hunter

    As i was reading this article i found myself asking what many of you i’m sure thought, why has this not been done already? We know that we can compress air for greater efficiency its practical. I’m glad there are innovators out there thinking outside the box.

  • russ

    @trevor – It has been done before or at least very similar.

    The patent claim is only to impress people – so much BS.

    Check their site out – there is no real information available – at this time this ‘idea’ is in the huckster stage. Maybe they go and find something new but I doubt it.

  • gurdev

    Where do u want to attach this design?

  • onthego

    Envision’s already has a DAWT in with a working prototype and with studies already done with patents and patents pending. Flodesign is years behind these guys.

  • Terrance

    Ok I see the design but what gets me is where is the generator.. if it is in shroud then that would make it very heavy.. the base and supporting structure would be allot more cost to have it rotate to the wind and still carry the mass.. Magnets and copper coils are not cheap and weight is a big factor.. Now if the magnets are on the end of the blades or in sht should the placement would have be at a reasonable interval to capture the energy.. Oh did I mention weight.. Yea well it is enough to drive one mad.

    Cost would be the same but the start up speed would be no different. All they did was take the area of a large blade and placed it into the many smaller blades thus greater RPM.. now the wind average is only 10 to 25 MPH.. which is about 7 to 10 meters per second.. which happens to be about 60 % of the time.. the rest there is no wind.. what to do then? Sure they are safer in storm but what happens with a high wind freak storm and you can not pitch the blades back.. There is always a limit to what can take place.. even the generator can not handle that much.. something has to give.. what will it be?

  • http://www.archivale.com/weblog/ Marc de Piolenc

    The mass of mast-top machinery is a problem with any horizontal-axis wind-powered machine, but here again the use of a shroud mitigates the problem. At equal power output, a fast-turning generator weighs less than a slow-turning one, so shrouded turbines with their accelerated flow through the turbine disc should have an advantage here. Contrary to the previous comment, there is no requirement to condense the blade area of the equivalent open turbine into the smaller one; in fact, higher wind speed through the turbine allows LOWER solidity. Cut-in speed and storm resistance are easier with a shroud as well, both because of better mechanical support and because both the shroud exit and the stator vanes can be made adjustable so that the turbine “sees” a flow that it can tolerate, irrespective of conditions outside the duct. A shrouded turbine should therefore be able to make use of a wider range of windspeeds for power generation.


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