Seven ways floating turbines could solve offshore windpower conundrums

A floating turbine that avoids migratory bird patterns, NIMBY activists, and state jurisdictions, according to American Offshore Energy. The Pennsylvania-based company says its vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT) uses tension and compression design principles, which allow a stiff, lightweight, fixed-wing-composite structure that can be scaled to huge sizes, and could one day bring consistent renewable energy

Windpower forest proves bigger is not always better

Tar Chalome, a vast wetland south of Bangkok, is known for crocodiles, poisonous snakes, and spicy seafood. Now, it will be known for a powerful contradiction of terms: the world’s biggest small wind farm. More than two dozen towers rise from the wetland, each holding 10 small-wind turbines. Locals, struck by the complexity of the

Underwater turbine rides the tide

A Scottish company’s tidal turbine is a few degrees away from commercial deployment. Weighing 100 tons and measuring 33 meters, a 250-kW prototype reached a peak power export of 273 kW during a recent trial. Bigger tests are on the horizon. Essentially, the turbine is a floating cylindrical tube that supports dual horizontal axis rotors.

Windows for windy cities

Professor Farzad Safaei, from the University of Wollongong in Australia, envisioned a modular wind-power generator, stackable, and suitable for the space between buildings in a city. After years of work, PowerWINDows is patented and may come to market through a collaboration between the university and Birdon, a leading engineering service in the country. Unlike the

Downwind: A floating wind farm with lodging

A 750-meter-long floating wind farm with living space could harness energy from places too deep and seabed conditions too difficult for bottom-mounted wind development. Hexicon, a Swedish design and engineering company, says its wind-farm design will use a centralized turret mooring system that lets a platform and its turbines automatically align to the wind. The

Downwind: Wind electrifies art (with extended Q&A)

Two undergraduates at the Georgia Tech School of Architecture recently claimed top honors in a competition to aesthetically combine land art and electrical generation. James Murray and Shota Vashakmadze’s design, called Scene-Sensor, would rise 90 feet over New York’s Freshkills Park and annually produce an estimated 5,500 MWh. The students say two mounds in the

Bladeless “turbine” converts wind into fluid power

A Tunisian-based wind energy company specializing in R&D has developed a radical way to capture the wind power. The Saphonian, an unusual zero-blade design, offers a clean, efficient, and cost-effective way to produce wind energy, says Saphon Energy (www.saphonenergy.com). This concept removes the rotating devices (blades and hub) and replaces them with a non-traditional body

Wind turbine on wheels delivers power where needed

Despite numerous improvements to wind turbines, they share one minor drawback: they’re static. A network of designers under the banner of Pope Design (www.pope-design.net) has come up with a mobile wind-turbine concept that might just change all that. Able to generate and store enough power, the turbine could also be erected anywhere the wind blows.

Downwind: A Rolls Royce for renewables

Tidal streams provide reliable and predictable wind energy. Rolls-Royce, a subsidiary of Tidal Generation Limited has developed a 500-kW turbine prototype to harvest it. The prototype tidal turbine is located underwater off the Orkney Islands, Scotland, and has generated over 100 MWh of electrical power into the national grid. The tidal unit’s three-bladed turbine is

Robots lend a helping hand in lifting up-tower

Brothers Keith and Bruce Schlee, founders of Helical Robotics (helicalrobotics.com) are developing a wheeled light-lift platform that uses a patent-pending magnetic adhesion system. The magnets hold the robot against a surface while its Mecanum wheels allow maneuvering in any direction. Because of the strong magnetic forces generated, the robot’s inventors say it can carry payloads