New omni-directional wind turbine can capture wind energy on building rooftops

May 16, 2011 by Bob Yirka report
Image: Katru Eco-Energy

(PhysOrg.com) -- Katru Eco-Energy, headed by founder and inventor, Varan Sureshan, has developed a new kind of wind turbine meant to capture the winds that fly in all directions atop big buildings, and unlike conventional devices, the IMPLUX, as it’s called, can capture wind from any direction as it stands; meaning without having to be repositioned or pointed. The IMPLUX achieves this feat by means of horizontal turbine blades that sit atop a vertical axis and are turned by wind that is pushed up through what Sureshan calls a "fluid dynamic gate."

The IMPLUX, under development for several years, and recently field tested in Singapore, relies on a central chamber that has been specially designed to capture wind as it comes from any direction and then to propel it upwards towards the turbine, accelerating it, without allowing any of it to escape. It is considered to be a vertical wind generator, as its main rotor shaft is arranged vertically, and while it’s not the first to incorporate such technology it is unique in that it has horizontal blades, and because it’s likely the first to have been tested by Honda Formula 1’s racing team to validate its unique ability to capture wind and hold onto it, rather than letting any escape out the opposite side.

New omni-directional wind turbine can capture wind energy on building rooftops

Sureshan, who has been in the business of designing mechanical systems (such as the first hybrid rooftop solar air-conditioning unit to go up on a commercial building in Queensland, Australia), for over 25 years, says he began working on the design after spending a lot of time working on building rooftops and noting how there was a lot of very nearly constant wind flying around, and thought there ought to be a way to capture it and put it to good use.

After studying then current ideas for capturing wind, Sureshan hit on the idea of building an enclosure of sorts, or shroud, with airfoil blades for “walls” that allowed air to travel inside the chamber, but because of the angle, would force it to flow upwards inside the chamber, rather than allow it to pass through and out the opposite side; all that wind (or at least 87% of it) would then flow upwards towards the horizontal blades connected to the turbine, which would spin, producing electricity. The result is a wind turbine that has just one moving part, is much quieter than most other turbines and doesn’t harm birds because they are too large to fit through the sidewall blades. It looks pretty cool as well.

New omni-directional wind turbine can capture wind energy on building rooftops
Image: Katru Eco-Energy

The Katru Eco-Energy website indicates the IMPLUX should be ready for sale by mid 2012.

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More information: via New Inventors (video)

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User comments : 20

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Donutz
5 / 5 (1) May 16, 2011
Interesting design. I'd like to see the efficiency compared to one that turns into the wind (like traditional wind farms)
maxcypher
2 / 5 (2) May 16, 2011
On the face of it, it should be more efficient because of having less moving parts.
Pyle
4 / 5 (1) May 16, 2011
Seems like you might get some pretty substantial feedback from the top of the turbine. Traditional turbines just slow the air. Redirecting it and then harvesting power almost has to be less efficient.

I wonder what kind of forces are involved.
TabulaMentis
5 / 5 (1) May 16, 2011
Even if the efficiency is less, the cost versus conventional standup turbines is well worth the investment. I have seen similar rooftop mounted wind turbines and they really do work providing the buildings are in wind zones!
caeman
4.3 / 5 (3) May 16, 2011
Wind generation AND its looks good. Win-win.
Twin
5 / 5 (3) May 16, 2011
When can I get one for the house?
Crazy_council
5 / 5 (1) May 16, 2011
I see this design a few years ago, I read as much as i can and i beleive the angle of the fins stops most turbulance. If i remember correctly the other design relied on the difference in air presure to regulate it. I presume thats what he means by fluid dinamics here. If it works as said, this will be a big leap for wind turbines as it also required a lot less wind to produce electric
Scottingham
1.3 / 5 (3) May 16, 2011
If a top of the line standard wind turbine today gets about 3MW at peak conditions, I would put this one at 1MW tops, and more likely in the 500KW range.

However, many of these could be set up on the top of a building, providing at least a few MW of power to the building. Probably enough to power the lights, not much else though.
Eikka
4.3 / 5 (3) May 16, 2011
If a top of the line standard wind turbine today gets about 3MW at peak conditions, I would put this one at 1MW tops, and more likely in the 500KW range.


I would put it in the 30 kW range, simply because a 3 MW turbine has a wingspan of over 300 ft.

With a diameter of 30 ft it would have 1/100th the area, and thus 1/100 peak power. Though the windspeeds through the device will be less because the wind has to be re-directed upwards, and it's closer to the ground where windspeeds are generally less anyways.

If you had 300 ft wings on that thing, it would make any building look like a gigantic helicopter, until the wings eventually bend out of shape.
Eikka
5 / 5 (2) May 16, 2011
It seems I was overly optimistic.

Prototype model
"IMPLUX - 225"- 4.0m / 2.0 KW
Future models
4 KW - 10 KW
fred_luchetti
not rated yet May 16, 2011
I would like to see the design compared to existing vertical axis wind generators. The fan type horizontal axis units are noisy, hazardous to birds and need to be pointed into the wind. Vertical axis shares the omnidirectional feature of this design without a lot of the fancy fluid dynamics in order to make it work. Also, this design ultimately uses a fan which could generate noise. Of all the wind generation systems I have seen, it is the prettiest.
that_guy
5 / 5 (1) May 17, 2011
There is no way you can eyeball the power output of something like this. There are way too many variables - drive type, efficiency, max wind speed rating, etc.

Also, MW capacity windmills are HUGE. Like 5 times bigger (100 foot blades) than the CG one on the building, and hundreds of times bigger than the one in the picture.

But Props to Eikka for getting the correct numbers on that.

I want to know if they can do anything to make it less ugly. I would put it on my roof if I had to, but I would camoflouge it with tree branches.
that_guy
5 / 5 (1) May 17, 2011
It seems I was overly optimistic.

Prototype model
"IMPLUX - 225"- 4.0m / 2.0 KW
Future models
4 KW - 10 KW

at 12 feet across, you could put it on your garage. Sure it would look like your house has a giant boil on it, and you would have to do some structural work so it could take the weight, but it looks like it would cover the needs of a single family home.
kaasinees
5 / 5 (1) May 17, 2011
Put a solar heat collector and some solar windows on that building and it could provide a significant % of the energy...
that_guy
5 / 5 (1) May 17, 2011
Or make the turbine blades and slats out of solar panels...
kaasinees
5 / 5 (1) May 17, 2011
I just had an idea... make some combination turbine. Where solar heat can be concentrated on a ball bearing motor that is on the turbine shaft. Then the turbine works when there is no wind but sunshine.

And if there is both it will generate much more power.
TheFlynn
not rated yet May 19, 2011
Kaas, can you please explain this ball-bearing heat-motor idea?
that_guy
5 / 5 (1) May 19, 2011
What if you combined the rotor mount and generator together like a maglev, so instead of the rotor twisting a shaft leading to the generator, the mount is the generator, and the rotor directly generates electricity as it spins. Is that possible?
kaasinees
not rated yet May 19, 2011
Kaas, can you please explain this ball-bearing heat-motor idea?


Well, the idea of a ball bearing motor is that the heat is concentrated in the balls, the balls expand and that creates kinetic energy. imagine two rounds, one round is mounted to something that can conduct the heat to the balls, a smaller round is connected to a shaft in between there are balls that expand when they are heated. It is the motor that can transform heat to kinetic energy.
What if you combined the rotor mount and generator together like a maglev, so instead of the rotor twisting a shaft leading to the generator, the mount is the generator, and the rotor directly generates electricity as it spins. Is that possible?

I have been thinking something similar and i was wondering the same thing... however it would still be connected to the shaft just that the ball-bearing motor becomes a functional component and additional component in one... i think that a generator/ball-bearing motor is possible
Rentner
not rated yet May 22, 2011
It can face every direction going, but it will still be completely ineffective if the wind isn't blowing.