Rethinking the wind turbine
Wind farms may be finding mainstream acceptance, but that doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement. After four years of research, Professor Farzad Safaei of the University of Wollongong reckons he’s come up with an answer: PowerWINDows. Says Safaei: “My primary aim was to overcome some of the key shortcomings of current wind turbine technology – in particular, enable modular manufacturing, transportation and installation, reduce noise, land usage footprint, and better integration with living environments.”
PowerWINDows has a unique modular design whereby the movement of the blades is translational with respect to the wind, as opposed to rotating blades of current wind turbines. According to Safaei, this decreases induced turbulence in the vicinity and wake of the turbine, resulting in reduced structural stress on neighbouring units. It also enables modular extension of the plant, improves manufacturing and installation, and reduces operational costs. The university has teamed up with Birdon, one of Australia’s leading marine and engineering service companies, to further develop its patented wind energy converter.