Humans have tried to harness the power of the wind for thousands of years. We've tried every design in the book, from cloth sails to wind mills, and discovered that three blades are the most efficient design for a wind turbine. But that may be about to change.
With support from Nottingham Trent University's Future Factory project, Heath Evdemon is attempting to bring his dream of a very different type of wind turbine into reality. Instead of blades that rotate around a central axis, the Wind Harvester is based on a reciprocating motion that uses horizontal aerofoils similar to those used on aeroplanes. It is virtually noise-free and can generate electricity at a low speed, which may silence critics of wind turbines residential areas. It will also be operational at higher wind speeds than current wind turbines.
"We're looking for potential sites within the Peak District National Park at the moment and then we'll turn our attention to industry," said Evdemon, "but it's a product which could one day be rolled out to farms working towards becoming carbon neutral and homeowners looking for a cheap and sustainable source of power."
The Wind Harvester can be made in any size up to approximately 15 metres across and only needs to be approximately half a metre off the ground in prominent positions such as hills and hillsides, rock outcrops, and on domestic, farm and industrial buildings and structures. At any size, this unique turbine can be broken down into handleable pieces so installation will not require the use of heavy machinery, which is particularly relevant to environmentally sensitive areas.
Along with funding from Future Factory, Evdemon's company, Wind Power Innovations, has also received £28,000 from the Peak District National Park's Sustainable Development Fund and £3,000 from the Live & Work Rural programme. A large scale demonstrator is expected to be installed in the national park once it has been completed by the team.
Image credits: Wind Power Innovations