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 resembling a large round plate, which is said to reduce major aerodynamic losses. Traditional three-bladed, upwind designs have an efficiency limited to about to 40%. The company expects its zero-blade device to capture more kinetic wind energy.
Instead of spinning blades, the wind is harnessed by a curved body that follows a back-and-forth motion, according to the company. This lets the “turbine” presumably convert the wind’s kinetic energy into fluid power through the use of levers and pistons. A hydraulic system connected to the pistons converts the reciprocating motion into hydraulic pressure which can also drive a generator.
Saphon Energy says sailboats are the inspirations behind the technology. A sail, it says, is the only system capable of capturing and converting most of the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical power. WPE