Omnidirectional Wind Turbine
Two inventors have created a prototype for an omnidirectional wind turbine. They are calling it the O-Wind. Designed by Lancaster University students Nicolas Orellana and Yaseen Noorani, the O-Wind Turbine is made to enable wind energy harvesting in urban environments. The invention aims to take urban energy harvesting to another level.
Wind power currently produces 4% of the world’s electricity. But traditional wind farms can only capture wind in one direction, usually horizontally. Wind farms tend to be located in rural areas because of this.
The tall buildings found in cities throws wind around into every direction. Conventional turbines, which are only able to capture wind travelling in one direction, are not effective in these environments.
The O-Wind Turbine on the other hand is designed to capture wind from all directions. The O-Wind can attach itself to balconies or the sides of buildings where wind speeds are significant. Ultimately allowing people living in apartments to generate their own electricity for their own use or to feed back into the power grid.
The current prototype of the round O-Wind Turbine is about 25 centimeters in diameter. It has vents sliced into the surface that allow wind to flow in from all directions, spinning the sphere on a single axis like a globe. This powers a generator that converts the energy into electricity. These design features allow the turbine capture any random breezes that pass by it.
The Prototype & Its Potential Impact
The omnidirectional wind turbine received lots interest after winning UK’s James Dyson Award for 2018. The O-Wind Turbine was chosen by a panel of judges as the winner of the UK division of the James Dyson Award 2018, which recognizes top inventions from current and recent engineering and design graduates from around the world.
“Cities are windy places but we are currently not harnessing this resource,” said Orellana, an industrial designer in the International Innovation masters program at Lancaster University.
Just how much energy these turbines can actually produce is yet to be seen. But it would have to be a significant amount of energy for this product to reach mass adoption. Nonetheless the project holds merit for its unique approach to pressing issues of our time.