Best of 2011: Advances in wind power technology
When we talk about renewable energy sources, wind power is considered the most effective resource. There have been so many technological advances in the utilization of wind power resulting in a clean, renewable, cost-effective means of generating electricity. In order to obtain optimal efficiency from the smart grid, advancements in power system is essential.
Newer technologies used in connecting the turbines to the grid can enable us to get better energy production and face the electric disturbances smoothly. Here is a list of 2011’s best technological advances in wind power technology.
1. Turbine to tap the high winds
You cannot always predict the availability of winds at lower altitudes. As you rise above some altitudes, you have a better chance of having stronger winds. Here is a wind turbine that flies high in the air being tied on the ground and taps the energy from strong winds. This is an innovation from Makani Power. The idea behind this was of Corwin Hardham who is an engineer and co-founder of Makani Power. Along with engineers Kenny Jensen and Damon Vander Lind, he applied the logic of flying a kite. A simple sport, isn’t it? What they avoided was the bulky conventional tower and instead took their device on a string. Their prototype, which is 20 kW Wing 7, weighs 130 pounds and spans 28 feet. It taps the energy flying above 1300 feet. The take off is vertical, and it flies in circles. The turbines mounted on wings generate electricity and transmit it through the tether. This innovation has generated huge interest and there are plans to develop a unit that can tap the wind from above 1800 feet.
2. Breakthrough in wind turbine design
Fukushima’s nuclear crisis has led a new pathway of thinking for researchers at Kyushu University, Japan. They have led their innovations on the most-reliable and renewable energy source above their nuclear resources. They have come up with an amazing design of turbine that has thrice the output of conventional wind turbines and is cost-effective too. They call the new design, ‘wind lens.’ They claim this design to be very efficient and having reduced noise levels. This design will surely revolutionize energy generation.
3. Power Flower wind turbine trees
Generating electricity from turbines is a good idea provided you have lot of land and infrastructure. NL architects at Netherlands have come up with an idea that brings tree-like structures near to your homes to generate electricity. These structures called ‘Power Flowers’ have multiple vertical axis wind turbines. This is a latest innovation that enables capturing of wind power with good efficiency. With an elegant design, little noise pollution, these structures work on 4 kW Eddy turbines that are grouped in numbers of three or twelve. These Flowers are also used to distribute the energy at the same time. This advancement in tapping wind power can be termed the best in terms of availability of the energy at domestic level.
4. SkyStream 600
A new turbine design named SkyStream 600 has been announced by SouthWest Wind Power. This one proves to be more efficient than the earlier Skystream 3.7. The most amazing thing about this turbine is that it has a unique Skyview system, which can be accessed through Internet and you get real-time information about energy generation. Isn’t that great to know? These turbines have generated a lot of anticipation among households considering the cost-effectiveness and real-time information system.
5. Trans wind energy generation
Not only an efficient energy generating system this innovation is about, but also a new transport system not dependent on any fuel. Sails that glide on wires supported by towers are used to generate energy. Larger sails generate more energy that is directed towards generators. A passenger carrier slides on the wires, which gets its power from sails that power the motor. These motors keep the carrier going and any excess power from sails is directed to the power grid. In this manner, a new way of transport is available along with energy production. Each carrier is believed to accomplish the power requirements of around twenty households. This design is believed to have three times the efficiency of conventional wind turbines. It cuts down the requirement of fuels and other resources and efficiently taps the existing and consistent wind power, which is available and accessible without manmade limitations.