Wind turbines with no visible moving parts are probably the future of the industry, especially in residential areas. They are more reliable, quieter and more efficient than propeller or blade-driven turbines. They also have a huge advantage: they don’t kill birds and other flying animals such as bats.
Wind turbines are also more efficient because they produce much less vibration. In strong winds, vibrations can damage the support pole, bearings and generator, especially in vertical shaft models.
Returning to the recently introduced Aeromine model, it is already being tested by a serious customer, BASF Corporation, the world’s largest chemical manufacturer, at its plant in Wyandotte, Michigan. The system was developed by the startup in collaboration with Sandia National Laboratories and Texas Tech University.
More efficient than solar panels, but more expensive
The system uses a design, borrowed from motor racing and aviation, in which air is directed through tubes from aerodynamic surfaces to a hidden propeller at the base of the assembly. The propeller spins the generator that produces electricity.
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Initially, air passes through large airfoils and is then captured by holes in these elements. The holes are connected by tubes to a main pipe that carries the air to the generator.
Thanks to the revolutionary design, which significantly increases the speed of the air reaching the generator, the Aeromaine turbine is apparently 50% more efficient than solar panels that could be purchased for the same money and takes up only 10% of the space required for them.
But the costs are higher than for solar panels. Aeromine turbines cost $2,400/kW to install in America, whereas the average cost for photovoltaics is $1,655/kW.