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Saphonian bladeless turbine boasts impressive efficiency, low cost

By

November 7, 2012

The Saphonian bladeless wind turbine draws inspiration from the design of a ship's sails

The Saphonian bladeless wind turbine draws inspiration from the design of a ship's sails

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Tunisian green energy startup Saphon Energy has created a new bladeless wind turbine which draws inspiration from the design of a ship’s sails, and promises to convert the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity at up to double the efficiency – and half the cost – of a typical wind turbine.

Dubbed the “Saphonian,” in honor of an ancient wind divinity worshiped by the Carthaginian Mediterranean culture which predated modern Tunisia, the current iteration of bladeless wind turbine is the second prototype developed by the company thus far.

The Saphonian turbine implements a patented system called “Zero-Blade Technology” in order...

As illustrated by the development of the Solar Aero and Catching Wind Power bladeless turbines, there is a perceived need for wind turbines which can offer renewable energy while also avoiding the use of rotating blades, which can cause noise pollution and be harmful to birds.

The Saphonian turbine implements a patented system called “Zero-Blade Technology” in order to harness the wind’s energy. This is said to involve channeling the wind in a back and forth motion, until it is converted into mechanical energy using pistons. The pistons then produce hydraulic pressure, which can be instantly converted to electricity via a hydraulic motor and a generator, or stored in a hydraulic accumulator.

The savings in manufacturing result from being able to discard the blades, hub and gearbox needed in a traditional wind turbine, according to Saphon Energy. In addition, though we've been given no hard figures, the company claims that the Saphonian works to a level of efficiency which exceeds the Betz limit – a proposition which leaves us feeling skeptical, though admittedly intrigued.

The Saphonian bladeless turbine received an international patent this March, and Saphon Energy is currently seeking collaboration with a manufacturer in order to bring the technology to market, a process which the company estimates could take up to two years.

The promo video below features a little more information on the project.

Source: Saphon Energy via Environmental News Network

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam is a tech and music writer based in North Wales. When not working, you’ll usually find Adam tinkering with old Macintosh computers, reading history books, or exploring the countryside with his dog Finley.   All articles by Adam Williams
58 Comments

Well it all seems to be to good to be true‚ but I hope it's proven to be true!

yrag
7th November, 2012 @ 01:45 pm PST

one of the characteristics of light fraud is that it claims extraordinary superiority, uses expensive show and tell video's and promotions, and doesn't even bother to first explain the precise and simple source of the difference in performance.

this video above is classic. i've seen it so many times. i'm 95% sure that when you go to their website to investigate their contraption, you will either see no explanation or you will see an explanation that is either highly confusing to make you think you don't understand something about why its' different.

most of the time, complexity or sheer absence of explanation belies fraud. 99% of the time, the basic source of a legitimate performance difference can be explained in a relatively simple fashion and therefor WILL be. when something works , it usually does so for simple reasons, and because this is the case, the simple explanation will be forthcoming.

lack of a simple forthcoming explanation is invariably 95% of the time evidence of something either being fraudulent or simply wrong. You don't even have to waste your time on investigating. 20 to 1 odds you are wasting your time by investigating but you should have known something like this is a fraud in it claims.

zevulon
7th November, 2012 @ 02:13 pm PST

One picture is worth a thousand words. Especially words that say nothing.

I will believe it when I see it.

DemonDuck
7th November, 2012 @ 02:46 pm PST

I'm totally agreeing with Zevulon. I've read many claims to superiority for one product or another and without fail the products that can't simply explain where their superiority comes from turn out to be duds. Either actual fraud, wishful thinking or simply don't scale up from lab tests. It wouldn't take much to briefly outline the mechanism that allows for the Betz law to be defeated. I suspect it won't work at utility power levels or even useful levels for residential use. But it would be nice if it did.

Scion
7th November, 2012 @ 04:40 pm PST

Sounds 100% snake-oil to me.

Here's the patent:

http://www.freepatentsonline.com/WO2012039688.pdf

and yes, it does contain blades, and it does rotate as well:

" The system (SCEE) has a wheel (F) equipped with a series of blades arranged all around it. The wheel (F) turns in a pivoting connection

about a fixed axle (L)..."

Aside from that, the wording and diagrams are all gibberish to me.

Looks like an elaborate hoax, and the utterly irrelevant "Betz limit" mention in the second sentence pretty much confirms it in my mind.

christopher
7th November, 2012 @ 05:16 pm PST

LOL - here's how much they believe in their own words (from their web site): "Saphon Energy does not guarantee, nor shall be held liable, under any circumstances, for the suitability, fitness for any particular purpose, sequence, accuracy, absence of errors, veracity, topicality, loyal and commercial nature, quality, soundness, non-infringement or availability of the information contained on this website."

As for their hydraulic storage of energy claims, any mechanical device can do that (not just theirs), and since none ever do, there's clearly some good reason for that (insufficient energy density and extreme danger are two that come to mind).

If I had to guess at their "betz limit" claim: since they've got a stack of tiny blades outside their deflector, my guess is that they're deliberately ignoring the surface area of the deflector when calculating energy output (if they even built one of these things at all, which itself seems dubious - their promo "pictures" are missing the rotating blades, and so don't match their patent diagrams...)

christopher
7th November, 2012 @ 05:32 pm PST

http://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/detail.jsf?docId=WO2012039688&recNum=1&tab=PCTDocuments&maxRec=1&office=&prevFilter=&sortOption=&queryString=WO%2F2012%2F039688 This is the full patent filed with all documentation. It is clear that the system is simple, a weighted round sail-like body rotates around an axle and as it is connected with the axle using hydraulic pistons these are pushed and pulled converting the wind energy into mechanical ( hydraulic pressure) energy. This is then used to power a hydraulic motor which is used to power a generator to generate electricity. As the main part of energy conversion for wind is the area exposed compared to the energy output is what makes the system either more or less efficient in converting the energy, I have my doubts as to how efficient it really is. The reason being that they claim with a area of 1.2m2 they have an output of 300-500W. This is within the output a regular wind turbine would have, rated at 350-400W. It is an interesting system none the less and I would love to see the output of a regular 5 to 6 m body system and then compare that with the 5-7.5kW small scale systems for houses and farms. If they can show that it better in converting the energy, I will certainly give it a go.

Dany Ehrenbrink
8th November, 2012 @ 01:32 am PST

Solyndra vapourware.

Edgar Castelo
8th November, 2012 @ 02:42 am PST

Yes looks to me like another load of hot air. Their website reminds me of a LFTR website ie big talk, no action.

nutcase
8th November, 2012 @ 02:56 am PST

It does look like Vapourware for lobby reasons, e.g. carrying the old falsified myth that wind generators endanger birds. There is absolutely no evidence for that.

Emdenfahrer
8th November, 2012 @ 09:52 am PST

Another wind gen scam. I wonder why they keep doing these since it costs less to build a decent 3blade eff one for less money and would actually produce cost effective power?

The multiple energy conversions of so little power it can collect dooms it from the start.

jerryd
8th November, 2012 @ 10:30 am PST

Yes, it looks to me like some charlatans are trying to sucker some gullible people out of their ASSets. From what I've seen looking at the crude drawings in the patent, there's nothing much new to see here. How can a system like this with the added complexity be better than a fan spinning a generator directly?? It looks like there's some gears involved, and every time that power is transferred from one point to another one, some of it is lost along the way. You cannot recover it. Some guy had a vapor powered motor about 40 years ago that was a total flop. He made all kinds of wild claims about its horsepower output and he didn't even understand what horsepower (or Watts for those on the Metric system) really is. But he was a slick salesman, and convinced several people that it would make a fortune for everyone involved.

If it's so simple of a design, why not build a prototype and DEMONSTRATE it for the world to see? Since a patent has been issued for it, they can't make the claim that someone will steal the idea away from them.

Randy

Expanded Viewpoint
8th November, 2012 @ 11:16 am PST

Won't scale, can't feather / curtail, will collapse, principals with no history in wind industry, patent doesn't describe what they show and no numbers presented. Deluded principals at best, scam at worst.

http://www.quora.com/Wind-Power/Are-stationary-circular-sails-the-future-of-wind-power

Mike Barnard
8th November, 2012 @ 11:16 am PST

Don't the evil Koch brothers propagandists and Global Warming deniers ever stop? The effectiveness of the bladeless turbine is easily provable and is certainly not a scam.

Now that this new technology has been created, there will be even more intense competition between safe, clean, economical alternative energy sources and the toxic, dangerous fossil fuel and nuclear energy industries.

Give it up you greedy earth destroyers, the writing is on the wall. If fossil fuels and nuclear power industries didn't get overly generous corporate welfare, unfair tax breaks, and the freedom to pollute the planet at will, they would have gone out of business a decade ago.

Kevin Schmidt
8th November, 2012 @ 11:26 am PST

it is too bad that it did not show the thing in action, so for that reason im out lol regards Freelance Eng.

Dave Hargraves
8th November, 2012 @ 11:33 am PST

While this machine does have all the attributes of snake-oil; performance claims that we all know are scientifically impossible, no explanation of how it works, etc., a the hydraulic portion of the idea makes good sense to me. I've been trying to drum-up interest in it for some time, and I believe some folks out there are working on it. What needs to happen is a company in the hydraulics business needs to take a bit of a risk and enter the wind energy business. There are no off-the-shelf components well suited for wind turbines; existing equipment is not big enough and is designed to function at a relatively high rpm. I predict we're going to start seeing some hydraulic wind turbine systems soon. The idea has many advantages to current technology.

NRGHound
8th November, 2012 @ 12:20 pm PST

I am with everyone who has commented here, on the particulars of this device: a movie of the working one-meter model would have been money better spent than the insulting animation piece.

Hydraulic accumulators, such as presented by this company, are nothing new. They are relatively expensive, as far as power density goes, and cost per KW (not even to mention, cost per megawatt). Artemis Power in Scotland (see their website at http://www.artemisip.com/) is a lot more credible as far as the use of hydraulics and windpower. They licensed their great hydraulic transmission for autos, to BMW, and now it has gone extinct!! It's the "100-mpg carburetor" story, but for real!! BMW has sat on Artemis technology for four years, and it doubles MPG for gasoline-powered automobiles.

Scott in California
8th November, 2012 @ 02:10 pm PST

To all of the armchair scientists and nay-sayers who have commented to date on the Saphonian Bladeless Turbine: the only thing more galling to me than labelling a legitimate patented invention such as this as "snake oil" and similar epithets is the demonstrated inability of commenters to read plain English and understand a simple diagram.

Let's straighten out some facts that have been woefully twisted beyond recognition by some of the preceding comments.

#1. Yes, it is indeed bladeless, just as the developers have claimed.

#2. No, nothing rotates--just as the article notes. This is a "fixed sail" design, in which the energy of the wind moves the circular sail BACK AND FORTH. This reciprocal motion drives a piston, which is further used to drive a hydraulic motor and/or store the pressurized fluid for later use. If you can't even visualize this then you have no right to make negative and uninformed comments. There is no rotary motion on the unit anywhere, except further downstream on the hydraulic motor turning the generator.

#3. All of this nonsense about it being impossible to "exceed the Betz limit", as if this is some violation of the laws of physics, is hot air. I'd use another [stronger] term but I think discussions of this nature should remain civil. If you even read the Wikipedia link in the article, you would realize that that Betz efficiency limit of 59.3 % of the wind energy refers to conventional wind turbines, NOT to designs where the wind energy is utilized in a different fashion, specifically where the air does not pass through moving elements in the same way. Such as shrouded turbines, or--in this case--fixed sail designs. It's as simple as that. Read the Wikipedia article, it's a nice explanation as to the "why" of it.

#4. The company has TWO working prototypes, which were ultimately the source for the energy efficiency measurements. The fact that the company chose not to include video of these prototypes in motion is indicative of nothing in particular, other than having the effect of bringing all the armchair experts out of the woodwork, their arms wildly flailing and screaming "fraud". This design is in its early stages and is not yet ready for commercialization, by the company's own admission. Typically it would take an untested new design anywhere from two to five years to work out all the kinks, optimize the hardware, test longer-term concerns like maintenance issues, and gear up for large-scale production. You can be assured that more advanced prototypes will indeed be featured in future videos from Saphon Energy.

#5. The inventor, Hassine Labaied, was given the opportunity to speak at the TED conference on June 28, 2012. If you follow these things, you will be fully aware that TED organizers do not invite shady characters with dubious inventions to speak in this august forum. Ever. It behooves readers to do their homework before making wild claims and miscellaneous disrespectful, unfair or ill-informed statements.

#6. I have no connection to this company other than wanting to see the inventors and companies profiled in Gizmag to get a fair shake. They're the ones doing all the hard work and investing their own cash, not you. They deserve a little respect.

SiteGuy
8th November, 2012 @ 02:39 pm PST

Tunisian Saphonian Carthaginian Mediterranian Bladelessian BSian - I mean really, did you even watch the vid? I wasn't gonna waste my time even having a look - I'm glad to read it was a piece of useless animated BS - just as I expected. I suspect the only wind power here is a lot of hot air.getting blown around.

Facebook User
8th November, 2012 @ 03:45 pm PST

"The company has TWO working prototypes"

They make a Slick Video when 10 second video of a prototype working and out performing a traditional turbine would of made us all believers

I read through the patent, Have read all the comments. I see no reason to believe that this would actually work let alone outperform current technology.

It is a very interesting concept, it does have a small potential if used in a fluid like a river or tidal flow.

Besides the obvious fact that this will not perform as described, it will also blow OVER with high gusts or harmonic gusts of winds.

Michael Mantion
8th November, 2012 @ 05:19 pm PST

Scott, the Artemis Intelligent Power thing is owned by Mitsubishi since 2010, not BMW.

Gregg Eshelman
8th November, 2012 @ 10:01 pm PST

Miracle energy production devices are quite common these days.

Reminds me of the famous Energy Catalyzer.

http://www.e-catworld.com/

Andre Ruas
9th November, 2012 @ 06:21 am PST

Scott: one more thing about BMW and the great conspiracy that sunk Artemis' automatic transmission. You say they licensed it to BMW, not sold or gave exclusive rights. Even if they were given exclusive rights, the license surely will expire and then Mitsubishi will be able to use the technology it owns in...I don't know...perhaps Mitsubishi cars. Why would a company like BMW want to bury a technology that would put them so far ahead of other manufacturers not to mention years ahead of governmental standards? Same goes for the oil companies and the "100mpg carburetor". Look at an oil company's balance sheet. Look at their miserable ROI compared to software companies, insurance companies and banks to name a few. Why would they not use the technology to place themselves ahead of the game, profit wise? Remember the ones that lose the most when the number of gallons of gas purchased decreases are the Federal, State and local governments. Perhaps the government bought the magic carburetor and buried it along with its inventor?

Siteguy: I'm a little disturbed on at least two counts with your comments. First, a patent does not legitimize an "invention" or idea. I think there are more than a few patents that never hit the market because they are not feasible in production. Maybe I'm wrong on that count. If I am wrong I'm sure others will correct me. Second, and a little scary is you assume that you have been accurately visualizing the invention and that others who are not visualizing as you are, have "NO RIGHT" to interject their comments? All I can say is OUCH!

Dr. Veritas
9th November, 2012 @ 01:35 pm PST

I am not an engineer, though my father is one. I was raised to actually READ instructions when assembling things, or understanding things.

As a result this part jumped out and bit me pretty hard :

"The Saphonian turbine implements a patented system called “Zero-Blade Technology” in order to harness the wind’s energy. This is said to involve channeling the wind in a back and forth motion, until it is converted into mechanical energy using pistons. The pistons then produce hydraulic pressure, which can be instantly converted to electricity via a hydraulic motor and a generator, or stored in a hydraulic accumulator."

So, this thing shuttles back and forth like a leaf in a high wind. As for being blown over (I doubt it) A simple spring loaded hinge point would solve that problem, as strong winds would push it only so far before the surface area would be inline and offer no resistance.

"The pistons then produce hydraulic pressure, which can be instantly converted to electricity via a hydraulic motor and a generator, or stored in a hydraulic accumulator" So it can produce electric power by pushing fluid through a hydraulic motor, or can pump fluid to a raised tank or tower, to be turned into electricity when it is allowed to fall back to a lower tank. (seems to me we just saw this idea with a short time ago while using piazzo crystals, for wind collection,( WHILE THE BOTTOM END WORKED A HYDRAULIC PUMP MOVING FLUID FROM A LOWER TANK TO A HIGHER TANK, FOR LATER USE.) And I don't recall any comments about "snake oil" with that product.

Now, as for being silent...it will not be silent, but it should make far less noise than the tri-blade windmills. Hydraulics are smooth, and powerful, but do make some noise as it comes to a stop and reverses. there may be some squealing as well, but nothing like tri-blades.

Site Guy, Thanks for actually reading what was printed in plain English. I read this through a few times, trying to find what people were objecting to.

As long as the builder installs a break-away for heavy winds, I see no reason why this should not work quite well.

As to claims that the Saphonian works to a level of efficiency which exceeds the Betz limit , I have my doubts, but I will reserve judgement on that score until it can be proven one way or another.

kellory
9th November, 2012 @ 08:07 pm PST

kellory and Site Guy are smart people, and arrived at the same conclusion that I have - whether or not the product is real, the concept of a sail oscillating from the wind, and essentially "charging" a hydraulic system, is perfectly sound.

Joel Detrow
11th November, 2012 @ 07:19 pm PST

For Dr. Veritas: thank you for your thoughtful feedback. I disagree with your comment regarding patents, in the sense that the raison d'etre of a patent is the independent validation of a concept by a disinterested party, and to that extent confers a certain amount of legitimacy. Beyond a degree of legal protection to the applicant, it serves to encourage him/her to pursue further development. I would never propose that a patent turns an idea into a practical product, that's the purview of the inventor--and more often than not that's where it ends (i.e. fails to proceed). However, in this case the developers had not only a concept diagram, they had a working prototype. As far as I'm concerned, patent + working prototype = legitimacy.

As far as my what I wrote regarding comments stemming from ignorance, I stand by my words 100%. If you don't understand something, how can you legitimately be critical of it? It's as simple as that. Writing scathing criticism of something you don't grasp says a great deal about the writer, and nothing serious about the product in question.

SiteGuy
12th November, 2012 @ 01:00 am PST

I suspect some of the back and forth in this commentary section comes from whether people have looked at the patent application.

In the patent application, there are clearly blades involved inside the unit, with a spinning wheel, and all kinds of stuff. What is pictured above and on the Web site quite clearly doesn't have those parts. The animation and many surmises suggest that this design moves a sail-like doohickey back and forth and uses that motion to generate electricity. Probably the only part covered by the patent is some interior piece that is unrelated to the difference between the "enclosed rotating wheel with all sorts of blades on the outside" and "sail-like doohickey going back and forth" designs. It wouldn't be the first time that the relationship between an invention and its patents was obscure.

Patrick Rusk
12th November, 2012 @ 08:27 am PST

Mike Barnard's posting on the quora site is well worth reading. I think he is right on the mark about this design not being able to scale to industrial sizes, as well as the irrelevance of hydraulic storage.

Patrick Rusk
12th November, 2012 @ 08:39 am PST

Hi. I went to the patent site given above by Dany Ehrenbrink. The patent application is some 20 pages long with good drawings. I hope your French is good. At first, I did not understand because of the article's title which specified «bladeless». The patent application does not say that. It is titled «System for converting wind energy». It seems pretty simple; two disks. The front disk is not rotating and has a concave form similar to a speaker membrane. Its center rests freely on a series of double-acting actuating cylinders afixed to an axial support AND a second disk. Now this second disk has a series of blades around it and it TURNS with the wind. These blades are fixed so they may not always be oriented optimally in order the reach the best rotational speed. Also, we do not see them on the two photographs ??? I think the first photo only shows the front disk (sail) and not the back one with the blades. In the second photo, the blades could be hidden by the sunflower cover. Coming back to my speaker membrane analogy, instead of being maintained by an outside circular support along its entire circonference, the front sail has only one point of its circonference maintained by a rigid arm, itself afixed to the back disk and rotating with it. So the wind pushes on the sail but this one kind of wobbles around its center because of the rotating rigid arm going around it and pushing alternatively on the cylinders. The rest is hydraulics and electricity. I see friction between the rigid arm and the sail circonference. The sail may also become unstable at certain oscillation frequencies. The rigid arm also applies a constantly varying force on one point of the circonference of back disk, possibly warping it and applying stress on the axial shaft. I would have to see this wind turbine in operation to believe it.

Madlap
12th November, 2012 @ 01:32 pm PST

I think Safron has done away with the blades and has comme up with another way of making the sail wobble around its center. In the patent application, it is mentioned that other methods can be applied to obtain this effect.

Madlap
12th November, 2012 @ 01:39 pm PST

Very nice to see yet again another improved version of Blade-less Wind Turbine. As an leading online store for Residential Wind Turbines, Wind Power Generators and Solar panels, we always look for new improved models of wind turbines as we had come across Energy Ball and Hercules Wind Turbines and now this Safron developed bladeless turbines. But, we are eager to see it's rated capacity and practical capacity as soon as it come to the market.

Neil Raine
15th November, 2012 @ 03:13 am PST

So many people here have utterly dismissed this idea with "If they can't show a video with it working, it must be snake oil"

Well, about 1 minute of googling and I came up with this:



Which is a video of it in operation. Find the TED talk, and there is another one, of prototype #1.

It's incredibly simple. The dish "wobbles" about the center axis, driving the pistons (which I understood in 10 seconds after seeing the design, without seeing the video.. really folks?). I can't speak to the veracity of the efficiency claims, but the Betz limit does not apply here, since there is no rotational motion, etc. To quote: "Betz's law calculates the maximum power that can be extracted from the wind, independent of the design of a wind turbine in open flow"

In open flow. Here, there is no flow. The wind is being deflected. This is not a wind turbine, because there is not rotational motion around a central axis. I suppose you could call it a "wind energy extractor". But it is not a turbine.

I would guess that the more pistons you attached, the better it's efficiency, up to some limit.

Or maybe you could tether it to a spindle (like a perfectly straight flower stem) on the back end and translate the wobble to rotational motion. Hey that could work pretty well, I would think. In fact, a long spindle and you could really crank it up. Get some inertial wheel attached and hey, talk about smooth motion. That would be a killer way to make really cheap wind power, if you got the shape of the sail right. You could even beat a sail out of a garbage can lid, attach a pipe, and a wheel with a bearing and voila. I would not at all be surprised if a flower in the wind is exactly where they got the idea in the first place.

If Saphon uses this, please send me a check. It's my prior art ;-)

Anyhoo, So, there's that.

Timothy Zyg
17th November, 2012 @ 01:55 am PST

Is it me or does that thing look like it's drunk? I can't imagine that this device would survive Florida afternoon thunderstorms let alone a Hurricane.

Guess time will be the judge of this technology.

hec031
6th December, 2012 @ 04:17 am PST

Yes ,I know a little of this type emerging tech. It really works well for this small size systems, Very good.

Also some of the same theory of multi fan like jet type also have merite as well, The system known as Renewable (Thermal)=Wind power has 4 each of them in its' smaller structures now in phase 2 step 1 construction, proto type for specks for larger 5 sizes for better placement to local communities' sizes. All 1 word the public awearness site is renewablethermalwindpower.com

Kenny Magers
20th December, 2012 @ 07:56 am PST

There is a video of a traffic sign vibrating violently in a rotating mode during a hurricane which could be the mechanical phenomenon behind this invention. Other readers may recall this.

qwester
14th January, 2013 @ 12:11 pm PST

Regardless of whether this works or not, the promo video is a smear campaign. Please, for the sake of the greater good, do not share this promotional video. Sapho, you would do well to switch from this negative marketing campaign to a positive one. You start with something negative, and that's what you get back, to wit the flavor of the comments above.

foghorn
18th January, 2013 @ 01:06 pm PST

@ Timothy Zyg -- That's a pretty strong wind blowing in that video. Practical success will depend on how great a windspeed it takes to make the thing work effectively, and how many places there are with the necessary wind strength, and frequency.

Bill in Seattle
26th January, 2013 @ 04:55 pm PST

Behold! Somehow many people in this article decided that science and technology is exclusive to certain places hypocritically call themselves ''developed world'' as opposed to the ''underdeveloped''.

Fact of the matter is that great deal of these nations' achievements is the result of a direct contribution by brains from literally all over the world including this small country Tunisia which you again ironically almost judged unworthy and that it mustn't be the origin of an innovative high-tech gadget__by your unkind and lowly verbiage (snake oil, Nigeria scam...).

Now, objectively speaking, this particular contraption (the design on the patent or the video) cannot technically be a fuctional machine. It will generate some electricity but it will not function as intended (more than two times the efficiency of a conventional WT). Considering the the hydraulic system complexity with its reservoirs, hydraulic lines, couplings, joints, seals, hydraulic rams, wobbling friction...it will be just inefficient in comparison with three-bladed wind turbine. But these people have been working hard and spending cash to do something; the least we can say is wish them good luck. And I am almost absolutely sure they will achieve something. Isn't it how RnD companies in your own country do? Trial and error until success? Jealousy is as cruel as the grave.

Naval/research engineer.

Saladin
7th February, 2013 @ 07:40 am PST

Just a thought... why not replace the pistons with solenoid motors instead of converting power through an intermediate phase? (The solenoids will be acting as generators.)

This after all is why internal combustion motors have it over the steam locomotive in terms of efficiency.

Arch9enius
11th February, 2013 @ 04:37 pm PST

there are some big companies producing wind turbines,these companies would not of invested the amount of money they have, if for a second they thought there was a better way to generate power using the wind and turning a generator around and around.

Thomas Lewis
19th February, 2013 @ 12:06 pm PST

Why dont they just scrape the existing Wind Turbines and build Nuclear Power Stations instead .Most effective way to fight Climate Change.

Keithpark Park
1st March, 2013 @ 12:18 am PST

While the principle of using a back and forth movement to generate electricity is sound, the claim of higher energy efficiency is unsupported by the documentation. As to the claim of surpassing the Betz Limit seems highly improbable given that the basic principle behind the Law uses the idea of an object being pressed back and forth as its proof. It is entirely feasible to engineer a wind generator with this method at similar efficiencies to bladed turbines, though they do you yet show proof of success.

On to the hydraulic storage they speak of, aside from one very specific example of military equipment, hydraulics are highly inefficient at maintaining pressure once movement ceases. The only logical way of storing the pressure would be in large tanks which would create incredible hazard should they be breached when at capacity.

Jessie Petrosky
9th March, 2013 @ 11:36 am PST

I can imagine a bladeless turbine similar to Tesla's that needs the back and forth to get it moving. Then it will continue to turn in that direction as long as there is wind.. I don't see any advantage to converting from wind to hydraulic and then to electrical. every time you lose same. If you want electrical go directly to that. If you are pumping water then attach water pumps. An ice boat goes much faster then the wind speed. So this same

principle may be of use at low wind speeds.

doug9694
3rd April, 2013 @ 10:58 am PDT

Can it generate at least some power? Ok, sure.

Can it do what they claim? Hell no. I'll try to explain the Betz Limit in plain English. The wind contains energy - it's moving and that motion equals kinetic energy. Now imagine we try to pull out 100% of that energy. When we take all the energy out of wind we wind up with air with zero energy.... air that isn't moving. So our machine has wind coming in to it (carrying energy with it), and it has stationary air coming out of it. That air isn't moving.... so we end up with stationary air piling up around our device. And if our machine is sitting in the middle of dead air it obviously can't collect any wind energy. If you try to take "too much" energy out of the air then the outgoing slow air becomes an obstacle. It can't get out of the way fast enough to let more wind come in. So the more energy you try to take out of the air, the less air (and the less energy) you can have coming in. You get the most energy collection when you slow down the air a medium amount.... so that the air still has enough speed (and enough energy) to quickly get out of the way and let more wind energy come in. And the math nails down that maximum energy collection at 59.3%. They are clueless or deluded when they claim they go "beyond the Betz Limit". The video even goes so far as to claim they are "twice as efficient" as turbines, which is a really neat trick when good wind turbines can already reach 50%.

Bob Humbly
30th July, 2013 @ 08:20 pm PDT

Wind turbines can kill birds, it appears to be related to the way the tower is constructed (open designs attract them as possible nesting points)

Wind turbines DEFINITELY kill downwind bats. Their lungs explode, presumably due to pressure differences in the vortex trailing behind the blade.

I doubt this can get close to the Betz limit but it's still worth investigating, particularly if people want rooftop wind generation (a turbine on the roof makes your entire house rumble)

WRT storage, this is a necessity for efficient power distribution no matter how the power is generated, no matter what source is used, even if it lowers the effucuency of localised equipment. It's bad for baseline equipment to crank up and down quickly and the distribution networks aren't setup to cater to rapidly varying, geographically dispersed sources - which results in PowerCos paying turbine operators NOT to generate electricity due to the sporadic nature of wind power playing merry hell with the distribution networks. (In Scotland that currently runs at about £22k per month, per turbine)

If you'd like to see the effects or wind power on conventional generation sources take a look at http://www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/ and note how the CCGT curve matches and inverts the wind curve.

Yes we need more nukes - but we also need more ways of smoothing out power demand and supply curves. Having to dump generated energy overnight because there's not enough consumption to match, coupled with daytime shortages means the system needs improving.

Stoatwblr
13th September, 2013 @ 07:32 am PDT

Someone here said wind mill blades don't kill birds and there is no evidence of it.

Just go out to the a wind mill farm and look around before the minders come in to haul away all the dead birds and bats.

If we let wind mills go on killing bats, we will run short of food crops due to the increase in insects that bats eat.

Not enough bats means insects will become a dangerous problem.

robo
15th November, 2013 @ 09:31 am PST

So this thing is lower in noise? Just look at that tail shaking, the vibration would transfer down the tower and shake anything it's connected to , including the ground, like crazy. This thing cannot be balanced.

And why use hydraulics when crank shafts and gears (or chains) are more efficient? There's a reason modern wind turbines don't use hydraulic pumps and motors. No hydraulic accumulator, including tanks, could store enough energy to replace the wind power for any decent amount of time, if they could the wind farms would be using that idea now.

maak
27th November, 2013 @ 11:55 pm PST

“Skepticism is the first step toward Truth” – Denis Diderot

The Saphonian's advanced version on BBC World News

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_nrTtvfujI

This might somehow address the skepticism level around the concept..

Cheers,

hsaphon
24th December, 2013 @ 06:36 am PST

I have always wondered why the sailing ships and commercial ships haven't used J Coustea' "TurboSail Designs" that he had installed on his expedition/diving ships and had proof that it was 4-5 times as efficient as most efficient sails of the time. Why I mention them, as they were very similar to this design, but were taken to a much higher efficiency levels, so why start with a design so much less efficient?

Imagine many cargo container ships/tankers with 20-40 of the "TurboSails" to add to ships power with wind. Also if the design works they'd look great as chimneys on homes ;-) and charge up the batteries for domestic use.

I also think that the turbines are NOT a huge problem to sane/non-suicidal avian friends. If they do ever start flying at them to end their time on earth, I think we could respect their wishes and let them. (Just Joking honest)! Are bird lovers trying to say birds can't see/avoid a slow moving turbine blade??? Hmmm I see swallows catching insects on the wing, and raptors flying through/around trees/obstacles all the time to no harm to themselves, so I return to my suicidal avian issues and NOT that they have suddenly become blind, or the turbines have become "Stealth" blades these days.....

PaulYak
16th January, 2014 @ 11:23 am PST

PS If the turbines ARE Killing Bats & Birds as our fellow Gizmagger above kindly informs us, then something Must be done to make sure it is sorted out...as bats are such amazing acrobatic flyers, I wonder if there is a ultrasound generated by the turbines that affects the bats guidance systems, just a thought.

PaulYak
16th January, 2014 @ 11:29 am PST

it looks like it's creating an uneven eddy that spills off while rotating the (unseen) turbine which rotates the front disk/eddy maker I give it a 7 for plausibility but a 0 for verifying support & lack of numbers. They should show a real video w/ a moving turbine. Maybe they don't because someone might say it could hit a bird, but looking at the patent picture (see Christopher nov 7) the turbine seems to be pretty well protected. The turbine only maintains the rotating eddy-disk, the disk does all the work of pushing the pistons. The rotation keeps the disk from turning out of the wind.

SuperFool
24th February, 2014 @ 02:30 pm PST

I had same idea as Arch9enius,

Then had a thought of using a wobble yoke to convert a reciprocal motion to rotary motion and use a generator on the other end but because wind is random and disc would not wobble in right sequence, I go back to the solenoid coil generator idea.

Henry Van Campa
5th April, 2014 @ 03:38 pm PDT

Nikola Tesla designed a turbine like this about a hundred years ago, but it required materials with properties that weren't available at the time. With modern materials science it should definitely be possible... though I have no idea if it would be cost competitive.

CBDunkerson
10th April, 2014 @ 05:00 am PDT

Are mainstream Scientists, magazine, Media turning Science into a religion? The Betz Limit was calculated in 1919 with on rotor with blades. We all know that a lot of wind is lost.

That is why the even though 89% of Kinetic energy is lost only 59% is harnessed. Also a turbine decades ago achieved 61%

I think an efficiently designed wind turbine like the Flo turbine could harness even more than the Betz Limit

Qwan Blue
2nd May, 2014 @ 03:09 pm PDT

"Just go out to the a wind mill farm and look around before the minders come in to haul away all the dead birds and bats.

If we let wind mills go on killing bats, we will run short of food crops due to the increase in insects that bats eat.

Not enough bats means insects will become a dangerous problem.

robo”

Minders? Sigh. So now you think there are so many dead birds that the wind power companies employ people to rush out and clear away any evidence.

Because encouraging local predators wouldn’t solve the problem more cheaply?

That statistic on “dead birds” came from one yahoo going out to one wind turbine and noticing two dead birds, then doing some extremely bad math on a calculator.

But you’ve bought into it so completely you now imagine people on dead bird pickup duty.

William Carr
6th May, 2014 @ 11:50 am PDT

PaulYak,

Sorry but what you are describing is called a Flettner Rotor. J Coustea certainly did not invent it as this design has been around since the 20's. It implements the mangnus effect of imputed surface friction associated with a rotating object in a moving fluid.

JohnMc
9th May, 2014 @ 06:25 pm PDT

sorry guys:

1. Betz has nothing to do with the shape of the device. Betz deals with FLUID DYNAMICS. Thus exceeding Betz limit is like exceeding speed of light ...

2 could someone tell how to store "hydrolic energy", since oil is not compressible, unlike a gaz ...

Jam Sempy
17th May, 2014 @ 07:28 am PDT

they have just posted this last version, called "4th generation prototype" :

www.youtube.com/watch?v=ml6hiN4nCDA

looks they are re inventing the wheel ... or the umbrella, should I say !!!

Jam Sempy
17th May, 2014 @ 07:56 am PDT
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