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 rotating blades of conventional wind turbines, the blades of PowerWINDows move translational with respect to wind, up and down. “The blades are like Venetian blinds, and the oscillations are similar to a garage door rolling up and down,” Safaei says. The design creates a less turbulent wake and reduces structural stress on neighboring units.
Safaei says his primary aim was to overcome the shortcomings of current wind-turbine technology, and, in particular, enable modular manufacturing, transportation, and installation. At the same time, he says the design would reduce noise, land usage, and improve integration with living environments. He hopes to mass-produce the modules, with simple interconnectivity so anyone can stack them and produce electricity.
The professor hasn’t amassed sufficient data to determine the exact efficiency of these modules, so development continues. But theoretically, Safaei says the modules could reach the efficiency of horizontal-axis wind turbines. And if not, he says, “With respect to cost – that is, dollars spent on capital outlay and O+M per unit of electricity produced – PowerWINDows is much better.” WPE
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