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Published on January 26th, 2010 | by Zachary Shahan

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Wind Turbines based on Jet Engines 3-4 Times More Efficient & Coming to Market? [VIDEO]

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January 26th, 2010 by Zachary Shahan
 

FloDesign, an R&D start-up in the US that has created a wind turbine design based on jet engine technology, just secured $34.5 million to help begin commercial development of its turbines. Lars Andersen, former president of Vestas China, has also just been appointed as the company’s CEO.

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FloDesign claims that its turbines are 3-4 times more efficient than traditional open-fan turbines. They have several other beneficial features as well that help economically, environmentally, and in other ways.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/v/RagPPrHUMTY&hl=pl_PL&fs=1&]

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Reportedly, FloDesign is “aiming to transform itself from a research and development organisation into a mainstream renewables firm.”

The company claims that its technology, “which forces air through a small hole to create a pressure differential,” has garnered the support of prominent venture investors because of its true potential and efficiency, according to Tom Young of BusinessGreen.

Major venture capital investor Kleiner Perkins Caufield and Byers led this funding round, and “was joined by a syndicate of three new high-profile investors: a Goldman Sachs managed investment fund, Technology Partners and VantagePoint Venture Partners.” Additionally, the US Department of Energy (DOE) recently awarded FloDesign an $8.3 million grant.

The FloDesign wind turbines require much smaller blades and are much easier to manufacture and ship (see video above). Additionally, they can be placed much closer together than traditional wind turbines and they align themselves with the wind like a kite on a string. These are a few of the technology’s unique benefits.

Wind power has been the fastest growing source of energy (renewable or otherwise) recently, but if this technology is as good as FloDesign says, perhaps we will see a much bigger boom in the years to come.

Related Stories:

1) New Intelligent Wind Turbines “See” the Wind

2) Early DOE Funded Wind Start-Up Nordic Windpower Lands VC Funding

3) Sustainable Energy and the Return of the Fly(wheel)

4) Renewable Energy on the Rise, Fossil Fuels Declining

Image Credit: Johnny Vulkan via flickr under a CC license

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • Hillbillywind

    Now, from what I know about FroDesign based out in the Guandong Province is that it’s easy to hide your mistakes in China. Poor people they get kicked by their leaders and then made fools of with bad design nobody wants. They just can’t get a break.

  • Ray

    I have a patent you may be interested in and I would like you to see if it can help you save fuel in Jet Engines performance?

    Sinderely
    Ray

  • Frankveluz

    You cannot get something out of nothing so you cannot get more energy from the source with smaller energy. The conclusion is 3 to 4 times more effecient as claimed is certainly not true.

  • Lars Mach

    Mentioning “smaller blades” – but forgetting that giant diffuser that consumes a ridiculous amount of material, while other wind turbine suppliers simply add few metres to their rotor blades (…which they will pitch out of the wind to protect the structure during storms and reduce thrust in order to keep tower and foundation cost low).

  • ad christiaensen

    Will be good if the claims hold.

    The Betz law is surpassed in a Dutch windmill-design called Powerball [see Aeroliftpatent windmill. Sellingpoint Home Energy Schoondijke (?) ] by using a construction in which the blades make use of the Venturi principle.

    The efficiency reached is 85 %. Starts rotating at a very low windspeed. With the same principle a 10 MW Satelite Windmill can be constructed with

    an efficiency of 85% or more.

    (I do not understand why they are not operational yet)

    Whether the Flodesign in the end is better, I do not know.

    • Lars Mach

      If you build a giant structure that is exposed to the wind but with just a tiny rotor in its centre, then the swept area for your efficiency calculation is NOT just the tiny rotor, but the entire structure!
      And, go figure, Betz law is valid for rotors such as for any other object that is exposed to wind and extracts energy from it.

    • Frankveluz

      Maximum effeciency you can get from the best wind turbine is around 53% only to run smoothly and continously. I mean if you get 100% effeciency then the wind will stop in front of the turbine and the next effeciency you can get is zero. More than 3 blades is less effecient that 3 or 2 blades. The best stable number of blades is only 3. You can use 2 blades with higher effeciency than with 3 but it is unstable.

  • CESAR HERNANDEZ-CHAVEZ

    EXCELLENT IDEA!

    GOOD THING THAT SOMEBODY USES ITS BRAIN INSTEAD OF STEEL, PLASTICS, AND ITHER ENERGY GUZZLERS.

    AS MI EARLY MENTOR SAID: “WHY MAKE THINGS EASY IF WE CAN MAKE THEM DOFFICULT?”

    WE MUST LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE, JUST REMEMBER THE HYDRAULIC GENERATORS WITH WATER TURBINES THAT WERE RECENTLY INSTALLED IN THE EAST RIVER IN NYC AND FAILED.

    THE DESIGNERS DISREGARDED THE EXPERIENCE OF THE SHIPBUILDERS AND TRIED TO RE-INVENT THE WHEEL!

    CONGRATULATIONS

  • CESAR HERNANDEZ-CHAVEZ

    EXCELLENT IDEA!

    GOOD THING THAT SOMEBODY USES ITS BRAIN INSTEAD OF STEEL, PLASTICS, AND ITHER ENERGY GUZZLERS.

    AS MI EARLY MENTOR SAID: “WHY MAKE THINGS EASY IF WE CAN MAKE THEM DOFFICULT?”

    WE MUST LEARN FROM EXPERIENCE, JUST REMEMBER THE HYDRAULIC GENERATORS WITH WATER TURBINES THAT WERE RECENTLY INSTALLED IN THE EAST RIVER IN NYC AND FAILED.

    THE DESIGNERS DISREGARDED THE EXPERIENCE OF THE SHIPBUILDERS AND TRIED TO RE-INVENT THE WHEEL!

    CONGRATULATIONS

  • Alex

    Am I the only one who thinks the engine in the picture keep moving?

  • Alex

    Am I the only one who thinks the engine in the picture keep moving?

  • Brian N

    I like the concept of this FloDesign but it can’t be true to say its 3-4x more eff.

    I suspect the 3-4x increase is really saying its has a virtual swept area 3-4 larger than its physical swept area.

    The virtual swept area is what makes it interesting.

    The kinetic energy in wind given by 0.5pav³ applies to all wind turbine designs and the Betz limit says the max extractable energy is 59%.

    Conventional VAWTs already claim to be about 35-40% eff IIRC.

    The claim that pitching can be increased seems dubious as turbines mustn’t shadow each other.

    The video briefly shows FloDesigns being packed in a squashed rectangular grid but that would require the wind to be extremely directional perhaps thru a long valley. But then any turbine design could take that advantage. Plus FloDesign creates a more turbulent wake which would mean down wind turbines need further pitching.

    The only pitching improvement that I can think of for any turbine type is to use hexagonal rather than square a grid to slightly increase turbines per farm area. In a honeycomb hex grid, each neighbor is equi-distant versus a square grid with 50/50 pitching / diagonal pitching.

    Danish Wind Power Industry Association has a great in depth guided tour of how wind turbines work.

    Easily found searching “danish wind tour”

  • Brian N

    I like the concept of this FloDesign but it can’t be true to say its 3-4x more eff.

    I suspect the 3-4x increase is really saying its has a virtual swept area 3-4 larger than its physical swept area.

    The virtual swept area is what makes it interesting.

    The kinetic energy in wind given by 0.5pav³ applies to all wind turbine designs and the Betz limit says the max extractable energy is 59%.

    Conventional VAWTs already claim to be about 35-40% eff IIRC.

    The claim that pitching can be increased seems dubious as turbines mustn’t shadow each other.

    The video briefly shows FloDesigns being packed in a squashed rectangular grid but that would require the wind to be extremely directional perhaps thru a long valley. But then any turbine design could take that advantage. Plus FloDesign creates a more turbulent wake which would mean down wind turbines need further pitching.

    The only pitching improvement that I can think of for any turbine type is to use hexagonal rather than square a grid to slightly increase turbines per farm area. In a honeycomb hex grid, each neighbor is equi-distant versus a square grid with 50/50 pitching / diagonal pitching.

    Danish Wind Power Industry Association has a great in depth guided tour of how wind turbines work.

    Easily found searching “danish wind tour”

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