Wind turbines have an image problem but silent, bladeless designs could change all that

Bladeless wind turbine
Bladeless wind turbine Copyright Vortex Bladeless
By Doloresz Katanich
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NIMBYism is one of biggest threats to the transition to renewable energy. So silent, small designs could make a big difference to installation rates.


Nicknamed 'the Skybrator' by the internet, a bladeless wind turbine has been designed to generate energy from its vibrations alone.

Global wind power growth must triple over the next decade to achieve carbon neutrality, says the UN. But traditional wind turbines are struggling to meaningfully contribute to this goal.

They are widely criticised for being ugly, noisy and harming wildlife. However, the majority of these problems come down to the traditional windmill design that is dating back to the ninth century.

Now, two companies have invented wind turbines without blades.

Spanish start-up Vortex Bladeless has designed a wind turbine that generates energy through vibration and Texas-based Aeromine has built silent, bladeless turbines.

Aeromine Technologies
Aeromine's wind-harvesting unit produces the same amount of power as 16 solar panels.Aeromine Technologies

What is the Aeromine bladeless wind turbine?

You won't see these turbines in fields because they're fixed to the side of a building that gets the strongest wind - though they can create energy from wind as slow as five miles an hour. They're installed in rows of 20-40 units and connected directly to the building's electrics.

Since they're so small, they take up far less room than traditional turbines and have the added advantage of being silent.

If combined with another energy source, such as solar, Aeromine's turbines could power a building entirely from renewables.

How does the Vortex bladless wind turbine work?

While different sizes are under development, Jorge Piñero from Vortex Bladeless tells Euronews Green that bigger is better. "Power grows exponentially with the size of the device. A Vortex Tacoma of 2.75m high could be powering a fridge, many phones and some led lights for an off-grid house."

As no blades are needed, the turbine is relatively low maintenance and quiet.

Plus, the design means no harm to birds - an important feature when you consider that hundreds of thousands are estimated to die each year after crashing into wind turbines. Although this figure is still lower than the number of birds killed by fossil fuel stations.

The device generates energy on-site and can serve as a complementary source of renewal energy along with solar panels, for instance, in residential areas.

What does the company have to say to people calling their product 'skybrator'?

"Well, we engineers tend to be serious about this, but it is indeed funny and not harmful," says Piñero. "People can joke if they want as long as they remember that this is a scientific project with many professionals and organizations behind working very hard and with passion."

Watch the video above to see the 'skybrator' in action.

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