Ball-shaped wind tur­bine

The Witness - - FEATURES -

TWO Bri­tish-based re­searchers have cre­ated an award-win­ning new de­sign for a mini wind tur­bine that looks like a vol­ley­ball and can catch a breeze blow­ing in any di­rec­tion, which they say will make green en­ergy more at­tain­able for peo­ple who live in cities.

The O-Wind Tur­bine, cre­ated by Ni­co­las Orel­lana and Yaseen Noorani from Lan­caster Univer­sity, is a small plas­tic sphere with vents that catch wind from any di­rec­tion, caus­ing it to spin on its axis like a ball bal­anced on the end of a fin­ger.

It is bet­ter suited than tra­di­tional tur­bines for har­ness­ing the ev­er­chang­ing winds that blow through built-up lo­ca­tions, the in­ven­tors say.

“Cities are windy places but we are cur­rently not har­ness­ing this re­source,” said Orel­lana, who is from Chile. “We hope that O-Wind Tur­bine will im­prove the us­abil­ity and af­ford­abil­ity of tur­bines for peo­ple across the world.”

The duo, who re­cently fin­ished their mas­ter’s de­grees in in­ter­na­tional in­no­va­tion, say the 25 cm sphere can be at­tached to the side of build­ings or bal­conies and pro­vide green en­ergy for the home or send it to the grid.

The duo’s in­ter­est in broad­en­ing the ca­pa­bil­i­ties of wind tur­bines came af­ter study­ing the lim­i­ta­tions of Nasa’s Mars Tum­ble­weed Rover, an in­flat­able ball de­signed to bounce au­tonomously across the sur­face of Mars.

The duo hope to have the prod­uct launched to mar­ket within five years and also plan to re­search the pos­si­bil­ity of adapt­ing the tech­nol­ogy to gen­er­ate wave en­ergy from the sea.

— Reuters.

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