Clean Power

Published on September 2nd, 2011 | by Breath on the Wind


Wind Lens Triples Turbine Output

September 2nd, 2011 by  

Professor Prof. Yuji Ohya of the Kyushu University research institute for applied mechanics (RIAM) has been working with a team to improve the efficiency of wind turbines. Combining an inlet shroud, a diffuser, and a brim into a wind lens, power output has been improved by a factor of 2 to 5 times in several experiments. Turbine noise is also decreased.

The Wind Lens works by creating an area of low pressure behind the turbine that essentially sucks the wind through the turbine, increasing effective wind speed. As wind power is proportional to the wind speed cubed, the wind lens changes the fluid dynamics around the turbine to increase its power.

Karl Burkart of Mother Nature Network walks us through the implications. The US is ranked 3rd in the World for potential wind resources. Using just 20% of that potential and turbines with a wind lens modification, sufficient power could be generated to satisfy 100% of present US electrical production.

The RIAM researchers anticipate the best use of wind turbines is offshore, where winds tend to be more constant and speeds higher. In an effort to promote the Wind Lens applications offshore, they have also designed a hexagon floating platform that could be used in conjunction with the wind lens turbine technology.

Primary Source: RIAM
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We share this World; its past, present resources and our combined future. With every aspiration, the very molecules we use for life are passed to others through time and space so that each of us may be considered a Breath on the Wind. This part of the world's consciousness lives in NYC; has worked in law, research, construction, engineering; has traveled, often drawn to Asia; writes on Energy and Electric Vehicle issues and looks forward to all your comments.   "If you would persuade, you must appeal to interest rather than intellect." -- Benjamin Franklin

  • sandcanyongal

    If those propeller blades spin, without any shoud then it’s still garbage technology and where are those huge cables going to be run through?

  • Mairi Wickett

    It is interesting, and we wish them success, We have a very exciting new technology that will collect all 6 degrees of motional energy (clockwise, anti clockwise up and down and back and forth) and turn it into useable power, the WITT, Whatever Input to Torsion Transfer.
    The WITT will collect electricity from WATER, sea river and tidal, WIND or HUMAN MOVEMENT, WE ARE ON THE FINAL STAGES OF DESIGN AND BUILD. please click to view short video clips of the technology. We now have a top engineering company finalising the design and build. We feel we have a low cost solution to collecting power and the WITT for wind energy could be very exciting in remote locations offering an IKEA flat pack solution easy to assemble collect power 24/7.
    WITT for marine is very exciting please view the clips

  • Pingback: New Japanese Wind Turbine Triples Power Output Without Increasing Size()

  • Seamus Dubh

    Two questions.
    1. How much does this increase the cost of the wind mill generators over current ones without it?
    2. Could this application be used for a rim generator instead of a hub generator?

    • Breath on the Wind

      1 Probably not much as on a small scale it is just a stamped piece of metal. With larger sections there is no reason that it has to be made using a supporting material. It needs to direct the air much in the same way as a sail or airplane wing. Future designs will optimize the design and endlessly decrease costs.
      2. In fact if you will go to the website or watch the video you will see what may be rim generators. Such a design might allow the generator to be placed on the ground instead of hundreds of feet in the air. I would expect any particular design to have an optimal size.

      • wrong and wrong, first off this is just another rehashed idea, not anything new. Hopefully, it will work… this time. The extra weight of the brim is going to mean you need a stronger tower in the first place. If you had a stronger tower, you could have just had a bigger turbine to start with. The problem is, on a large scale, the extra cost is going to out weigh any gain in performance. They designed a floating sea based model for a larger scale, probably so the 2 towers they have just to hold the brim steady, dont have to be as tall as they would on land but then the cost of the floating platform is going to cost as much as the whole turbine. $$$

        • Breath on the Wind

          The ancient Greeks had an saying that “there is nothing new under the Sun.” When we thoughtfully consider, most of what is “New” is a “rehashed” from nature. Wind can have its speed affected by all sorts of objects in nature. Getting a device to “work” is often a matter of efficiencies and economics. With two variables: the cost and the efficiencies of two elements there is likely to be a “sweet spot” where size and cost becomes more economical. That the device provides multiples of efficiencies rather than a percentage is encouraging. As already mentioned in another comment the “wind lens” does not have to be a metal construct. To direct the wind it could be fabric, paper or a carbon wafer.

          Containment of a nuclear reactor costs more than the fuel. If a Wind Lens sea platform costs more than the device that produces the energy this is also not a particularly “New.” development. Perhaps what you are trying to suggest is that these scientists are disingenuous. This answer to this may not be found in the technology. The marketing aspect in the name, “Wind lens” is interesting. Sometimes all that is needed is a new image that can touch and inspire the imagination.

  • Anonymous

    This is a really interesting design, but I wonder if placement might not be limited by the amount of non-furl-able (better word?) for the stuff stuck up in the wind.

    In areas of high wind turbine blades are turned parallel with wind flow to allow the wind to move past the turbine and not destroy hardware in very high speed winds. I can see these puppies getting trashed in high winds.

    If this design works out where it would really pay off is in areas with lighter winds and little to no very strong storm winds. That and being quieter could mean installing turbines closer to urban areas thus cutting transmission costs.

    This isn’t the first attempt to use a shroud to focus wind, but hopefully it’s one that works. Any improvements are welcome.

    The hexagonal float looks more material intensive than the three legged floats now being tested.

    And the pictured design places turbines fairly close together where turbine wakes could decrease performance. (Plus some are positioned where it would be harder to reach them by boat.)

    • Breath on the Wind

      With enough money the design could include elements that change shape for the wind speed. Imagine a wind turbine that would turn at an increasing rate until a maximum was reached and then rather than packing up and sitting out the high winds the air flow was modified to within safe limits.

    • Shayne O’Neill

      To be honest, if the danger of your turbine is that it’ll produce too much power, your probably doing something right somewhere. A simple mechanism that decouples the fan shaft if its raping the turbine too hard seems like its a fairly straightforward piece of mechanical design.

  • Anonymous


  • they invented the funnel.

  • Dan

    It looks like the same concept as the dyson fans. the vortex speeds up the wind

    • Breath on the Wind

      Look up Bernoulli effect: Trying to visualize how it is applied in each case may be a bit of mental gymnastics.

      • You got the name wrong. It’s not Mr. Bernoulli this idea should be concerned about. It’s Mr. Betz.

        A large diameter, slow turning rotor is the most efficient way to extract energy from passing wind.

  • Anonymous

    in this design the wind is actually coming from the back. while in conventional turbines it comes from the front

    • Breath on the Wind

      Not entirely sure how you are determining the back and front. Low pressure on the downwind side and the wind pressure on the upwind side work to increase wind speed.

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