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One of the primary reasons that current wind turbines have to be so large is that most of the energy is lost as the air flows off the end of the blades. That size increases the cost and reduces the density of turbines that can be installed. FloDesign has developed a wind turbine that incorporates ideas from jet engines, including a shroud to duct air over the turbine blades. Unlike previous ducted turbine designs, this one is claimed to be able to self align and still work effectively at up to 20 degrees off axis from the wind direction. FloDesign also claims that the turbine can operate effectively over a much wider range of wind speeds.
This new design should theoretically be much less expensive to produce and install. The smaller size would also allow up to three times the installation density compared to current conventional types. You can check out a video here.

[Source: MIT Technology Review via CleanTechnica.com]


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  • 16 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Current wind turbines are actually very efficient. If you want to increase the power density of your wind farm, just use bigger turbines. This is because the power output is directly related to the rotor disk area (the disk swept by the blades). A small increase in blade diameter yields a much large bump in output.

      I haven't seen how the self-aligning ability of this proposed turbine overcomes the relatively cheap alignment servos on current turbines. Anyone? Bueller?
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree. Efficiency of modern, large wind turbines is indeed quite high, especially the gearless designs of Enercon. The article was useless because it mentions nothing about the enrgy output of these new designs. Unless their output is high enough to offer grearter generating capability within the space of the Enercon 6 megawatt or the REpower 5 megawatt units, all that was said in the article is a moot point.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hmmm, a smaller, lighter, sturdier tubine that can produce 2-3 times the energy in a fraction of the space and at lower wind speeds? Since they've already developed the smaller prototype, I'd hope they'd consider marketing it for rooftops for individual home owners. It seems this beats everything else on the market. It could probably not only power my home but a few of my neighbors as well at only 2-4 ft diameter. I'd put it on my home if the price were right and even partner with those neighbors I mentioned.

      Rooftop turbines are not a new concept. Compare this to the Swift Turbine by Renewable Devices in Scotland. http://www.renewabledevices.com/swift/specification.htm. This turbine seems like it could beat the efficiency of the Swift Turbine, which is 2 meters in diameter, at a smaller diameter a few times over as FloDesign's 12' prototype will produce 10 kilowatts. How much electricity does your home use?
        • 6 Years Ago
        one of the biggest gotchas of wind generators is that they DON'T produce at their rated capacity - whenever the wind is slower OR FASTER than their design speed range, which it often is, they produce nothing at all. a 10kw wind turbine will produce the equivalent of 1-2kw on a continuous basis, so i wouldn't start signing up your neighbours for your private little grid just yet. in fact, you won't be able to operate all your "modern conveniences" simultaneously.

        and the really bad news is that the worst times for wind generation, such as summer days with a temperature inversion, when there is NO wind, happen to match peak power demand times. once a significant portion of electricity users switch to wind with the grid as their backup, the grid will collapse.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Great news. Now build a prototype and hurry to the market.
      • 6 Years Ago
      That is certainly very interesting.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is not my strong suit, but one of the drawbacks of using larger rotors is that every increase in rotor size has a resulting increase in the area needed for each tower. I.e. larger wind generators produce larger wind shadows down wind, so your wind farm has a higher production from the larger rotor, but you can't fit as many rotors onto the farm. Whereas the idea behind the ducted rotor seems to be making a more efficient use of the wind available. Or would the more efficient use of the wind available create a larger downwind shadow?
      I don't know, but I would love to see more wind power, more solar or geothermal or tidal power, and a whole lot more nuclear power, as soon as possible...
      • 6 Years Ago
      Sam: I'm with you. Wind Power "SUCK's"!
      • 5 Years Ago
      After contacting the office in every way seemingly possible with no response, it seems they are still in the development stages of this concept and either cannot back up the claims or are holding up development all together. Wind, effectively harnessed, can solve problems for US and the whole world, but talking about a product and that's all is science fiction, and I sure hope someone gets their hands on this design and does something with it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Anyone know of any Philip Starck wind turbine updates?
      • 6 Years Ago
      Just another scam trying to trump the laws of aerodynamics with the glamor of marketing.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The wind blows only intermittently, and often too soft and often too hard. The wind does not match peak demand times, and there is no good way to store any temporal excess. The long blades collect ice and sling it into people and buildings. Long blades break off and decapitate passing pedestrians and cattle. This particular shrouded wind turbine has been touted across the web for a year now, without any new information coming out. We need many additional TW of baseload energy. Wind doesn't qualify.



      • 6 Years Ago
      My understanding is that previous investigations have concluded that the added cost of building all the duct-work is much larger than the added cost of simply building longer blades. For industrial-scale turbines, those ducts would have to be MASSIVE structures.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Teddy Kennedy still won't want them anywhere near his sailing playground.
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