After the Fukushima disaster wiped out the future of nuclear energy, wind energy has taken on a new swing: a wind turbine that could generate twice or even three times the energy that regular turbines put out so far.
Ever since March last year, a team at the Kyushu University have been testing their “Windlens” – turbine units with a capacity of 70 to 100 kW (blade diameter of 12.8) – in an attempt to bring down wind power costs so it can rival coal and nuclear energy.
The idea behind them is to introduce to the Japanese and eventually the global market a brand new wind turbine concept, since previous models left a lot of users and policy makers disappointed: the turbines were underdeveloped, which led to a short, inefficient and noisy life.
Therefore, after keeping them in a water tank at an in-house laboratory at the University, the team took the turbines to rigorous and lengthy field testing, that could take up to as much as two years to implement. So far, results have shown several benefits.
First of all, as mentioned earlier, the new turbine model gives out a lot more energy. This efficiency comes from its unique technology that puts an inwardly-curved ring around the blades. Thus, the airflow passing through the them doubles or even triples its speed.
Also, the base of the turbines has a hexagonal shape, which isn’t so expensive and still does a good job in braving out the marine conditions. Plus, the shape would later allow for other platforms of turbines to adjoin.
Secondly, by concealing the edges of the blades, the level of safety increases and, thirdly, the irritating noise disappears, reducing noise pollution.
All in all, it would a shame to let Japan’s coastal potential go to waste, as the country is currently producing less than 1% energy from winds. So far, countries as the U.K., E.U., U.S., Canada and other parts of the world have shown interest in the model’s performances and if everything goes out well, then the future of reliable, cheap wind energy is closer than we think.
[via Oil Price]