Lately many people have expressed dissatisfaction with the traditional and conventional wind turbine design. The reasons given are that they look creepy especially in the background of a scenic environment. In addition to that, they occupy a lot of space and may not be convenient in a site that does not have abundant space. You may also have heard people complain about the level of noise produced by from today’s wind turbines.
Most disturbing of all, bird enthusiasts and environmentalists have cried foul over the number of deaths that is brought about as a result of the utility of such turbines.
If the current events in Tunisia are anything to go by, the voices of opposition to wind energy can be assured that there are some new solutions that can balance between harnessing wind energy and being sensitive to their needs.
The Saphonian Zero Blade Technology
Saphon Energy is a Tunisian start up company that has been credited with the invention of a windless turbine for more effective harnessing of wind energy. The company has creatively come up with a conical sail that flutters when the wind is blowing more or less as a sail boat flapping. Consequently, the fluttering motion leads to a situation where linear pistons can be used to move hydraulic fluid which in turn is used to spin the hydraulic motor which is commonly used for the generation of power.
The technology borrows heavily from the technology of wind sails which is thousands years old. It is used in the conversion of wind to kinetic energy through the use of pistons that are powered by the back and forth motion of the sails. It should be noted that the innovative technology does not use blades, rotators, or hubs. Rather, spinning of blades is replaced by harnessing wind energy through a curved sail shaped body. Anis Aouini, the Saphonian inventor, stated that that innovation is a matter of cleverness which makes a different perception of the obvious.
The Zero blade technology is in a position to produce as much energy as the conventional wind turbines thus giving the technology an economic advantage and preference. This is because the Saphonian body is curved thus giving it more ability to harness wind energy than the bladed turbines.
The birds and bats will be able to identify it as an obstacle that needs to be avoided rather than in the case of the traditional wind turbines which catches them unawares and thus kills them. It also reduces the likelihood of wind turbines accidents through fire or breakdown of the blades. Moreover, since the technology is making use of the non-rotating rather than the rotating system, it does not carry a disturbance on airwaves.
The future for wind energy technology
Science and technology will continue seeking more efficient and safer energy applications. The improved renewable energy solutions will also be more effective in environmental conservation. Saphon has been one of the companies that have set the pace in the revolution of wind energy harvesting. The renewable energy community is hoping that the company will enter into full production and commercialization of their laudable product.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.