When I think of wind turbines, I envision the west Texas plains with acres of languidly turning propellers as far as the eye can see. Texas is tops for wind power in the US, by the way. But there are more ways to skin the wind than I ever imagined. Check out these sometimes stylish, sometimes a bit wacky ideas for renewable wind energy.
For the Urban Environment
Yup, you read that right. Every floor of this Dubai building is capable of rotating autonomously with the wind current and providing inhabitants a new view – whichever way the wind blows. Looks incredibly cool. Check out the pictures here.
This idea (pictured right) also originates in Dubai and features two towers for the Bahrain World Trade Center. The structures have three standard turbines hung between them, each about 100 feet wide. The effect is stunning! Plus, the towers are built to create maximum air currents for optimal electricity.
This product bridges the gap between solar and wind as it allows a building to be retrofitted with wind energy. There are millions of tiny turbines operating behind small openings in the skin of the design. When added together, the whole is capable of generating electricity with less wind thanks to reduced turbine size.
These nifty little gadgets sit up on your roof or can be hung on a vertical surface. And they’re also portable in case you relocate or your building is scheduled for demolition. They look something like a whisk.
For the Individual Home
Helix-style wind generators accomplish two things: they’re quiet and omnidirectional. Wind funnels into the catch and is focused across the turbine. They almost look like a spiraling seashell, but are open rather than closed at the sides.
Made from Japanese design, these fluid turbines qualify as an artistic addition to a home and are a boost for the aesthetic of wind generation. Plus, they work with low wind speed.
For Commercial Applications
Magnetic suspended turbines require less acreage than a field of conventional wind turbines because the design reduces friction (the main efficiency reduction due to moving parts in wind generation) by using magnets to suspend the turbine. One of these turbines is worth 1,000 standard windmills. The device looks like a really tall building with slatted sides. Interesting concept.
Attach a blimp to a cable with propellers and turbines down the length of the tether. Add the auto-adjust propellers and you have this marvel. Air moves faster higher up in the atmosphere.
And that’s just the beginning. There are wind-powered cars (Mercedes has produced an electric/wind hybrid prototype) along with wind-powered bicycles, cell phone chargers, kinetic sculptures and even ideas for flying wind turbines. It’s really amazing to think about where we’ll be in ten years.