Image by Charles Cook / Creative Commons
With Google recently investing a hundred million dollars into the world’s largest wind farm, alternative energies continue to be a hot topic amongst environmentalists, businesses, corporations, governments and investors alike. Opting for a greener, more environmentally-friendly method of powering our world is something many people are actually beginning to take seriously.
Wind and solar power are two of the front-runners when it comes to alternative energy, although there are a variety of other energy sources which could prove viable. Each major source of alternative energy has not gone without its critics however, and freak accidents such as this tend to inspire people to look for safer and greener options:
Incidents like this should not discourage people from seeking out wind energy collection systems which can prove, and in some instances have proven, to be safe and environmentally-friendly. Here are a few examples where wind energy collection goes far beyond the traditional turbine:
The first is a design which was done for the Solar Parks Works – Solar Highway Competition. It is a bridge aptly titled the “Solar Wind“. The bridge consists of a solar roadway on top, for the cars to travel across, and a selection of 26 different sized turbines below, which also serve to decorate the lower portion of the bridge. This combination bridge is estimated to be able to produce enough electricity to power 15,000 homes a year.
Image from the Solar Park South Online Competition
This next wind turbine design recently won a CleanTech Open sustainability award. “Invelox” is a truly non-traditional turbine which has the appearance of a gigantic phonograph, and with its velocity increasing features, can produce 3x the power of a traditional turbine. It also has the capability to capture wind when the speeds are as slow as 2mph.
This next is an interesting idea centered around the idea of getting further off the ground in order to tap into the constant flow of the wind. Although I’m not completely sold on this particular wind energy collection system, you have to admit, it is an innovative idea.
The Gullwing Twin Wind Towers are a creative idea to combine wind collection within the structure of a building. Instead of requiring a large, empty space to place tall turbines out in the open air, the turbines are fitted to the outside of the building. Placed on circular guides, which are then moved by the strength of the wind, these turbines can then power the buildings they encircle.
Image from Giacomo Sanna’s Portfolio
The world’s first official wind tower comes from ZENA System, however. It doesn’t surround an office or residential building, but it does allow the power of the wind to be captured from any direction. Some of its key features are:
- It is a 360-degree hexagon that can capture the wind from any direction,
- It is relatively easy to maintain, thus lowers maintenance costs,
- It is 2.5x more efficient than a standard turbine, and
- It is a safe and flexible alternative energy storage system.
Image from ZENA System Co., LTD
In terms of a personal wind turbine design, this particular turbine is good for both rural and urban settings. The fact that it is relatively quiet is no longer a bonus, but a must in this day and age.
This is something I’d like to see, a solar-wind hybrid turbine. Why simply harvest wind energy when you can harvest solar energy at the same time? It is also easy to clean and maintain. Sounds like something we should see a lot of, don’t you agree?
Here is another extremely innovative wind collection system in that it not only collects wind energy and solar energy, but hydro energy as well. A trifecta if you will. Designed by JMDesign, the Skydrain is “an energy collection product that is focused on providing clean renewable energy to the existing sprawl condition and other urban sites“.
Image from JMDesign
The ideas and designs shown here go to show that the ability to come up with innovative collection methods for wind energy has gone far beyond the traditional turbine. The options are limitless. As the world leans more and more towards alternative energy sources, wind energy can and more than likely will, play a key role in our future.