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Green Wavelength unveils bumblebee inspired wind turbine

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November 5, 2009

Green Wavelength's radical departure from conventional wind turbine design

Green Wavelength's radical departure from conventional wind turbine design

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Gizmag's pages are filled with clever examples of biomimicry, and why not, evolution is after all the biggest, oldest and most successful design house we know of. Today's lesson is being given by insects like bumblebees, hummingbirds, and dragonflies, whose efficient wing flapping capabilities are being harnessed by Californian start-up Green Wavelength in an effort to produce more efficient wind turbines.

Vertical axis windmills have been with us in one form or another for more than 1000 years. Designs have undergone constant improvement (including more examples of biomimicry using the whale as inspiration), but the efficiency of current wind turbines peaks at around 30%. To be fair, Betz's law, says that it's not theoretically possible to capture more than 59.3 percent of the kinetic energy in wind, but there is still some room for improvement.

Green Wavelength's 19-foot, aluminum and carbon fiber prototype known as XBee was unveiled last month at the Perfect Pitch 2009 entrepreneur conference in California. It can be mounted both vertically and horizontally and the blades move in a figure eight motion.

It's not yet clear what level of improvement Green Wavelength's radical departure from the norm will bring, with data yet to be published on its effectiveness.

“Breakthrough ideas are often the result of the convergence of seemingly disparate concepts,” noted Sabri Sansoy, the CEO of Green Wavelength and aerospace veteran, “and we are committed to finding ways of applying nature’s solutions to our man made energy problems.”

More development and research is planned with the aim of eventually producing home and business units up to 10kW, and like solar solutions and other examples of small scale wind generators we've seen, it is a direction that makes a whole lot of sense when addressing our energy needs.

Green Wavelength via Jetson Green.

About the Author
Noel McKeegan After a misspent youth at law school, Noel began to dabble in tech research, writing and things with wheels that go fast. This bus dropped him at the door of a freshly sprouted Gizmag.com in 2002. He has been Gizmag's Editor-in-Chief since 2007.   All articles by Noel McKeegan
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9 Comments

Another terrible design. The only thing the flapping will do is wave goodbye to your money!!

I design and build wind generators and high speed sailboats for 30 yrs and thid design violates every rule of power production from the wind. The pic itself shows the blades stalled, making very little power. For highest power should be no more than 15 deg from the wind. But even their wouldn't make but 10% of what a good 3 blade wind generator will.

And a good 3 blade unit can make 45% eff if designed right.

jerryd
5th November, 2009 @ 06:13 am PST

This wind energy euphoria has really gone nutcase.

There is a distinction... putting energy into the wind and pulling energy out of the wind.

This device, as an artform is magnificent, as engineering is totally backwards. It is not designed to extract energy at all, so it gets the ultimathule nutcase award... paint it blue and let the Blue Man Group have it.

Now a Ford Packard Hudson engineer achieved the theoretical maximum efficiency over twenty years ago in his retirement and his system is patented... it did dawn on him, which it has not for others, that to extract energy you have to have highly polished dead flat blades facing the wind. Yup... it is a fan... and a very clever one at that. His name... William Allison.

So it is upsetting to see younger generations going off on cockamamie schemes, and the lemming low effieciency NASA fan thing.

Island Architect
5th November, 2009 @ 06:23 am PST

Hey Everyone,

This is the inventor. This first prototype was about proving out the figure eight mechanism that drives the wings. At the conference we were just demonstrating one hovering motion of some flying insects that utilize the figure eight pattern.

Our next step is to understand and optimize wing designs to "drive" our mechanism. As you know this is a very difficult problem. We have modeled the system in ProEngineer and are running all kinds of analyses, including CFD. We're in the process of building small scale prototypes to test in wind tunnels and on flat bed trucks moving at wind speeds (poor mans wind tunnel..but it works!).

At our scale we are operating at much higher reynolds numbers than insects and birds and don't have the advantage that they do in the viscous regime.

We have not made any claims that we are more efficient or even if this will work. We've learned so much with this very first prototype and who knows maybe this will work better as a new type of flying machine.

I'll keep you guys posted of our progress and would appreciate any honest feedback.

Sincerely,

Sabri Sansoy

CEO, Green Wavelength LLC.

P.S. Jerryd, are you familiar with the lift and drag coefficient profiles of any of the symmetric NACA00

sansoy
5th November, 2009 @ 06:18 pm PST

good luck Sabri,,,,,,,,,,,,, new ideas sometimes work so good luck with this innovative approach

robinyatesuk2003
6th November, 2009 @ 05:09 am PST

It seems to me that all our devices achieve energy transfers. In that's why I think this design will not work. We say we are working to transfer wind power into electricity. The bees and insects are designed to transfer their flapping-wing power into a way to maintain its body up in the air by optimizing the friction with the air.

So trying to use that model to transfer the wind power into electricity is not appropriate.

Robito
6th November, 2009 @ 07:19 am PST

Let them build the thing and get 3rd party testing by NREL or similar. Then they have something. At present it is only hot air.

euss
7th November, 2009 @ 05:18 am PST

Hi Sabri.

This business of trying new things is a tricky one. The first to note is that all valuable knowledge is already known. It is described in a holy collection called (how thing are).

Doing anything hinting that you may wonder if the holy truth is entirely correct and complete, will upbring the holy wrath of the priests of (how things are). The priests will identify themselves by presenting eternal verdicts. The wrath of the priests will wake up the blodhounds of envy and ill will to make so much meaningless noise that none can discover what your question was.

Thus, the holy truth of (how thing are) can live on safely.

As we all know, the Earth is indeed a flat discus.

OR:

Im a sailboat designer too, and have made the interesting discovery that even though I know a lot on the topic, most of the things I know are fundamentally flawed or just a fraction of the actual knowledge. Also, the theories most (theoretically informed) sailors have on aerodynamics are as far off reality as the flat Earth is.

Even more interesting is that every time I discover a fault in my beliefs, it is a joy, and useful in a way I did not anticipate at all. You seem to have the right attitude. Go!

Stein
8th November, 2009 @ 05:23 pm PST

we have a new concept of wind generator with blades and kites.

www.gedayc.com

David Sarria Jiménez
23rd November, 2009 @ 01:56 am PST

Darn it! I had the same freaking idea. This always happens to me!!! Its like I've got some CIA mind chip in me stealing my intellectual property and selling it to other inventors. Just kidding, but this is driving me crazy! Although, I think my new version of a bees wing generator/ flying machine is better than this one. Good luck though. (I hope you paid the CIA good money for my idea because it was a good one)

ebrush870
11th October, 2011 @ 02:57 pm PDT
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