Wind Lens design triples turbine energy output

Japanese scientists claim wind turbine design could boost energy output, slash construction costs and eliminate environmental impact of wind energy.

Comments Off on Wind Lens design triples turbine energy output September 1, 2011
by Design Engineering Staff

Japanese scientists announced that they’ve created a unique wind turbine design that could triple the energy output of conventional turbines. At the Yokohama Renewable Energy International Exhibition, Yuji Oyha, a professor of renewable energy dynamics and applied mechanics at Kyushu University in Japan, and his team unveiled their “Wind Lens” design.

According to Dr. Oyha, this unique concept works similar to the way a magnifying lens intensifies light. In addition to the traditional turbine blades, the wind lens adds a compact diffuser shroud with a broad-ring rim. This hoop-like structure then intentionally creates low-pressure vortices behind the turbine, which draw in more air and accelerate it as it passes through the turbine.

Since power output from a wind turbine is proportional to wind speed, Dr. Oyha says simulation testing shows that wind lens turbines produce three times as much electricity as those without it. In addition to the increased output, he says the wind lens design could also carry a number of other benefits, including improved safety, reduction of acoustic noise and Doppler radar interference and less impact on bird and bat populations.

As yet, the Wind Lens design is still purely conceptual and there are no plans as yet to build them for commercial use. Dr. Ohya said that the design is suited to Japan with its typically gentle coastal winds, but other countries may find it challenging to implement due to differing intensities and directions of wind conditions.