Vestas’ challenges scaling rules with a multi-rotor demonstrator

The concept of a wind turbine with multi-rotor arrays is nothing new. Back in 2009, a company named Greenward Technology designed what it called the “Wind Turbine Quad Array,” which mounts four smaller turbines on arms to capture as much energy as a conventional unit with a 100-m diameter rotor. It seems the model never made

Casting a spell: Accio Energy’s turbine-less wind generator gets offshore funding

Although the company name is based on magic (named after the summoning spell in the Harry Potter series), Accio Energy’s wind-power technology is rooted in science. The science of lightning. The basic elements used to create lightning are wind, water droplets, and charge separation. Accio’s electrohydrodynamic (EHD) wind-energy generation system uses all three, albeit producing much

Floating wind-power station can also produce fresh water

With stronger wind speeds available offshore than on land, wind developers are eager to take advantage of them. However, pile-driven foundations conventionally used to support turbines in shallow waters do not hold up as well in deep waters. Designing a foundation reliable enough to withstand the rugged offshore conditions has been a challenge for the

Storm-surge barrier also serves up tidal power

In early 1953, high tides and a major storm caused the North Sea to flood. The Netherlands, Belgium, and even parts of England and Scotland were affected. Recovery efforts eventually included the construction of an impressive nine-kilometerlong dam to prevent future flooding in the region. Oosterscheldekering, or the Eastern Scheldt storm-surge barrier stands as the

Student summit educates and excites future engineers

The HOUSTEX 2015 Student Summit, sponsored by SME, hosted 64 students and nine educators from seven area high schools at the George R. Brown Convention Center in February. This year’s summit aimed to introduce students to the advantages of myriad careers in manufacturing, with a focus on 3D printing and alternative energy sources. Students competed

Floating vertical-axis turbine makes waves in Europe

Leave it to clever French engineers to defy convention. Just scan the photos of offshore turbines going up in Europe and there is nary a floating two-blade or vertical-axis turbine in sight. But that will soon change thanks to the inventive minds at Nénuphar. In 2006, co-founders Charles Smadja and Frédéric Silvert launched the Vertiwind

Downwind: Why didn’t we think of that? Electricity stored as a temperature difference

The recent droughts across the U.S., specifically in California, have stressed the importance of power generation and storage strategies that use as little fresh water as possible. Energy production by fossil fuels and nuclear use water as a key part of power generation. Today approximately 99% of grid-scale energy storage relies on pumped hydropower. Beyond

Airborne turbines could power everything

A new report says airborne wind energy (AWE) systems could power the world. In fact, researchers posit that an “intermediate” number of AWE systems, placed in just the right spots, could power our planet three times over – and be more advantageous than conventional turbines. AWE systems work at higher heights than conventional turbines, in

Unusual design claims 600% more production in low winds

Smaller, more powerful systems that reduce operating costs and maximize energy output could be the future of wind energy, according to Minnesota-based SheerWind. Offering a glimpse into the future, the company has developed Invelox. The name derives from SheerWind’s mission of INcreasing the VELOcity of wind. The design consists of four sections: intake, concentrator, Venturi,

Downwind: Off-grid system turns to windpower when solar is not enough

Off-grid industrial devices and substations powered with solar panels have speckled the countryside for years. Solar, after all, is more cost-effective than running power lines at up to $100,000 per mile. But what about the weather? Snow can cover photovoltaic cells, which lets batteries run dry, and that may take critical equipment offline. In the