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, and diffuser. Here’s how it works:
A large intake captures wind from any direction, funnels it down tapered pipes that naturally accelerate wind flow to a concentrator that ends in a Venturi section, where a turbine is placed. Wind is then expelled through a diffuser. According to SheerWind, this technology increases wind speed by converting part of existing static pressure energy into kinetic energy. The kinetic energy in turn powers a ground-based generator.
The first small-scale prototype was installed near SheerWind’s facility in Chaska, Minnesota, and several field tests and a commercial demonstration were conducted in 2012. Today, the company is looking for developers with financial capabilities and power demands over 50 kW.