Our reliance on fossil fuels has been a problem for generations and in the near future we will see a global crisis resulting from this dependence. The barriers to our society moving beyond fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy include both the cost and the inefficiency of the existing renewable energy systems. The ideas that I am presenting will address these issues.
Wind farms in their current incarnation are effective in only one direction and they are massive in size. To improve the efficiency of the conventional wind turbines, I propose a closed design that incorporates a system of funnels to create a continuous stream of air in one direction. By having an air stream in the direction of the blades, we can boost the efficiency of conventional wind turbines by 20%. The additional benefit of the closed loop funnel system is that it allows the wind turbines to be located anywhere in the world.
Conventional wind turbine blades rotate in a large vertical circle. This vertical circle represents the total amount of wind a conventional turbine can capture. I am proposing a tower design to interrupt and harness the air stream. By providing a larger surface area, one can capture more wind. This tower will be comprised of a series of funnels in the center, which will force the air downward. The total amount of air that the tower will capture is equal to half the towers' face.
To house the wind turbine, I am enlisting a cage design in which the blades are horizontal to the air stream. I also propose that there should be more blades on the turbine to capture more wind. The cage design will allow for a lighter blade assemblies and provide more structural stability to the wind turbine.
By using this tower approach, it will place the turbine and the generator closer to the ground. This will allow less costly maintenance and services to the wind turbine. From a maintenance and safety perspective, this design has taken out all of the high moving parts from the convention turbine. Though the funnels may be tall, they will rarely need service because there are no moving parts in the design to maintain.
One main advantage of using the funnel system is the amplification of the wind speed provided by this design. The air flow simulations that I have performed thus far shows that there is an increase in air velocity. The Flow Works simulation (see figure 1) shows that a 5 Mile Per Hour(MPH) wind will be amplified (increased) to 8 MPH winds.