SheerWind claims its INVELOX wind turbine produces 600% more power

May 13, 2013 by Bob Yirka report

(Phys.org) —SheerWind Inc. of Chaska, Minnesota is claiming in a press release that its newly developed funnel-based wind turbine system is capable of producing 600 percent more power than conventional wind turbines. The new design uses funnels to channel wind to a ground-based turbine.

The idea behind the INVELOX system is to capture wind using wide mouthed funnels and channel it via ducts to a turbine sitting at ground level. The wind picks up speed as it is concentrated through a series of and pipes before it is delivered to a turbine, which produces electricity. SheerWind claims in its announcement that the system is capable of producing electricity with as low as 1mph.

As an example, they say that tests have demonstrated that the system operating in natural wind speeds of 10mph is able to increase that speed to 40mph before it enters the turbine. After passing through the turbine, the wind is exhausted back into the environment, in this case, at 15mph.

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In another scenario the company says it tested the abilities of its system by comparing it with an identical turbine configured as a conventional system. They claim they found improvements of 81 to 660 percent.

The company says the unique design is scalable, making it suitable for use in both wind farm applications and smaller deployments. And because of its smaller physical size, they claim the INVELOX is also more environmentally friendly—fewer are birds killed and there's less noise. They also claim that installation capital is less than $750 per KW and that once up and running, the system costs just 1 cent per KWH—making it cost competitive with and . They also note that the system can be put in place and run without government subsidies and still be profitable.

Amid the optimistic clamor there is one dark cloud—no one outside of SheerWind has been allowed to test the system. For that reason, the claims made by the company are at this point, still just that. But, should the claims hold, the INVELOX could be a game changer. Such a system could be purchased and put into use by virtually anyone wishing to produce their own electricity with the expectation of much higher production than conventional systems.

Explore further: Improved liquid battery: Longer-lasting materials could enable batteries that make renewables more competitive

More information: sheerwind.com/technology

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User comments : 31

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topkill
3.1 / 5 (19) May 13, 2013
Wow, 600% more power than other wind turbines. Let me be the first to call BullSh*t. LOL

I hope they have a viable system and it produces lots of power. But 600%? Does that include the perpetual motion machine that runs it? :-)

The sad thing is that it's possibly even a decent technology with advantages in some cases. But when you make outrageous claims, it's hard for anyone to take you seriously. Perhaps this is the EEStor guys reincarnated?
axemaster
4.8 / 5 (12) May 13, 2013
I hope they have a viable system and it produces lots of power. But 600%? Does that include the perpetual motion machine that runs it? :-)

I think they're referring to the very low wind speed regime, where conventional turbines are very inefficient. So while I'm skeptical as well, it's not entirely improbable.
PPihkala
4.4 / 5 (5) May 13, 2013
I also think that biggest gain versus older ones is at low wind speeds because normally there is something like 3 to 5 m/s minimum speed for turbines to rotate/generate electricity. Any generator running versus one that is not is much more efficient.
codesuidae
5 / 5 (6) May 13, 2013
The power available from wind goes with the cube of the velocity, which means that there is very little power in low-velocity winds. It's possible to extract it of course, but to get commercially useful quantities you have to have an enormous swept area, which tends to be expensive relative to the power produced, and impacts machine performance in high-speed winds.
italba
3.7 / 5 (12) May 13, 2013
It's another variation of the Compact Wind Acceleration Turbines (CWATs), it's been around for years and never demonstrated a clear advantage over classical design. You can make a quick research on Optiwind, FloDesign, WindTamer, WindCube, Innowind, Enflo...
topkill
2.2 / 5 (6) May 13, 2013
Axemaster,
Yes, I was assuming the 600% was probably referring to the very low speed wind. Most turbines won't even attempt anything at those low speeds because the electronics to handle that range are inefficient and cost prohibitive.
Perhaps it was just the writer of this article who used that 600% as a headline grabber to get more clicks, but they have no idea how much damage they do to a company's credibility when they start off with outrageous claims. Everyone just tunes out except for the UFO/tin foil hat crew and they're still looking for Elvis at Burger King.
NotAsleep
3.7 / 5 (3) May 13, 2013
It also looks like this would eliminate the problems of wind turbines affecting radar systems. Seems like a lot of good if the claims aren't a sham
Shabs42
4.6 / 5 (7) May 13, 2013
Another apparent problem of this bizarre system is, it requires the wind flowing in one predefined direction.


Where did you get that idea from? The picture and video I see makes it look like there are funnels set up in a circle that all funnel wind from every direction downwards into the turbine. They should probably put some screens or something up so birds and other animals don't fly/climb in and clog things up but this seems very promising other than the fact that they haven't let anyone else test the machine yet.
ToolMan78
3.9 / 5 (7) May 13, 2013
"In another scenario the company says it tested the abilities of its system by comparing it with an identical turbine configured as a conventional system. They claim they found improvements of 81 to 660 percent". If I understand that correctly, they used the same small turbine that's optimized for higher speed that the funnel produces and put it up on a mast like a conventional wind turbine. Well of course the figure for that will be far less, the swept area is far less as well. I can believe that 600% increase claim, but I also understand that it means virtually nothing.
adam_russell_9615
1 / 5 (1) May 13, 2013
Ok, I guess we all agree that putting the intake on both sides makes no sense. What about in a case where prevailing winds would allow intake on one side and outflow on the opposite? Does that even make sense? Would funneling the airflow down to a smaller turbine increase efficiency, or would it lose energy instead?
Guy_Underbridge
5 / 5 (1) May 13, 2013
natellino, it's not 'U' shaped. Look closely at the diagram and the picture, there are intakes on the backside as well...
Jeddy_Mctedder
2.4 / 5 (8) May 13, 2013
If there is one great thing about the internet...it is that is has become ever better at helping people identify scams ans ludicrous claims
ValeriaT
1.4 / 5 (5) May 13, 2013
Look closely at the diagram and the picture, there are intakes on the backside as well...
I'm just questioning the purpose of intake at the same side, like the turbine itself. For intake from the opposite side the another point of my objection remains valid - such a funnel could work effectively only in one direction of wind. BTW the stream of wind changes its direction twice-times during its travel along S-path inside of funnel, which is nothing special with respect to hydrodynamic losses anyway (the stream of wind is forced to stop and continue again twice-times during it). A lotta of kinetic energy of wind will get wasted in this way. Not to say, whole the device is not archetype of architectonic beauty. It looks like the lighthouse.
barakn
4.4 / 5 (7) May 13, 2013
ValeriaT/Natello/Zephir: Wind speeds increase with height above ground.
ValeriaT
1.8 / 5 (5) May 13, 2013
Such a device would be more expensive to build in sufficient height, than the classical wind plant. IMO it's a nonsense from engineering perspective and the industrial evolution produced many such lethal mutations and scams already.
javjav
4.2 / 5 (5) May 13, 2013
it's impossible for turbine to work at all in such case, because the funnel would work as a communicating vessel with equal pressure at both ends

Wrong. It is perfectly possible, just check the Venturi effect.
http://en.wikiped...i_effect
javjav
3.8 / 5 (4) May 13, 2013
The dirty trick here is that they are comparing both turbines when placed in a same position. But traditional wind turbines can get the wind much higher, where it is much more stronger. This design looks very impractical for placing it on a tall structure. To start with it would have a higher center of mass, but specially because it has the worst aerodynamic shape for a tall structure, one that creates a lot of pressure on top. This requires expensive strong structures to support it. It can only compete against small turbines or in areas with moderate winds (which is not bad, but they should mention it ).
Just see the picture, what an impressive structure for such a short funnel!
drhoo
2.3 / 5 (3) May 13, 2013
Better idea, a tall round structure like a power plant cooling tower utilizing venturi effect at the top where the wind blows fastest to 'pull' ground air through a turbine. Shouldn't this work to some degree?
Judgeking
1 / 5 (3) May 13, 2013
Love the idea, don't so why this wouldn't work as promised (or at least close). Couple of questions: 1) Less noise, why not no noise? Couldn't they bury the turbine with this design? 2) Why not use this offshore and use wave/water power?
Dug
4.1 / 5 (7) May 13, 2013
The structure is likely very light wt. consisting of a frame and ballistic fabric shroud = cost savings over traditional massive mast type wind turbine structures. The structure stability is achieved through guy cables that convert the lateral wind load forces into compression and tension forces. No need for elbow at the bottom if using a vertically mounted turbine directly below the throat which avoids friction loss caused by the elbow. The discharge could be diffused in a 360 degree radius at bottom with optimal spacing between turbine discharge and the concave diffuser/deflector - preventing back pressure on the turbine. Higher efficiency gains are in more modern materials and more efficient turbines designs - in this case with thrust rings increasing turbine efficiency by 20+%. In any case this is a basic design that has been visited and revisited many times in the past - but not built at scale. Maybe this time.
ValeriaT
2.7 / 5 (7) May 13, 2013
The canard about generating power from lower windspeeds is also nonsense. The amount of power available in winds below 5mph is not worth harvesting. Wind power increases with the cube of the wind speed. In other words: doubling the wind speed gives eight times the wind power. So the power difference between 5 and 10 mph winds is 800%! It makes sense to optimize for higher windspeeds, because 1 hour of 10mph is worth 8 hours of 5mph and 64 hours at 2.5mph and 512 hours at 1.25mph.

Finally, a windmill can only extract energy from the wind that contacts it, so to get the same amount of power as a 20' diameter windmill rotor, you would need a "funnel" of equivalent size. It is hard to imagine the economics of making giant massive funnels is going to be better than a slender tower and a few slender blades.
ValeriaT
2.7 / 5 (7) May 13, 2013
VendicarE
3 / 5 (2) May 14, 2013
A better design would have the air deflected up to a wing like cap that would use overflowing air to reduce the pressure on the exhaust section
gwrede
2.7 / 5 (7) May 14, 2013
Amid the optimistic clamor there is one dark cloud—no one outside of SheerWind has been allowed to test the system.
This quote alone defines these folks as Italian Energy Charlatans.

Were the invention this simple and genuinely worked as advertised, they'd have no reason for the secrecy. Period.
alfie_null
2 / 5 (5) May 14, 2013
Finally, a windmill can only extract energy from the wind that contacts it, so to get the same amount of power as a 20' diameter windmill rotor, you would need a "funnel" of equivalent size. It is hard to imagine the economics of making giant massive funnels is going to be better than a slender tower and a few slender blades.

Which is why turbines have lots of blades. Implying that the same amount of energy can be extracted per unit area (windmills with a few blades vs. turbines) is dishonest. I'm skeptical of these claims also, but I'd prefer the reasons for criticism be defensible.
Sean_W
2.3 / 5 (6) May 14, 2013
As for the wind at both ends of the tube when wind is facing the output tube, can one not just place a wind shield at the bottom part so wind isn't blowing back in and outgoing air just spreads out after it leaves?
Eikka
3.7 / 5 (3) May 14, 2013
I'm skeptical of these claims also, but I'd prefer the reasons for criticism be defensible.


The blade is not influeced only by the wind that actually hits it, but also by all the wind that goes past the blade because it causes a pressure differential around the blade and that's what actually spins the turbine. You can actually take a windmill blade and blow next to it - not directly at it - and it will move.

As long as the windmill spins at sufficient rate, it doesn't really matter if it has three or five blades, or even one blade with a counterbalance. Different number of blades have different operating characteristics in different windspeeds, but that's because of other effects.
alldaybrekkie
2.5 / 5 (2) May 14, 2013
It's another variation of the Compact Wind Acceleration Turbines (CWATs), it's been around for years and never demonstrated a clear advantage over classical design. You can make a quick research on Optiwind, FloDesign, WindTamer, WindCube, Innowind, Enflo...


I did quickly research those you mentioned. None look like this or have the particular innovation described. Wind from any direction is funnelled into the turbine below. It is a simple but clever innovation. Also those mentioning pitot tubes, equal pressures, etc .. the wind just goes into the TOP! The tube at the bottom of the image is just showing you the turbine - normally wind wont also go into that too.
javjav
4.3 / 5 (4) May 14, 2013
The structure is likely very light wt. consisting of a frame and ballistic fabric shroud .

Again, that only works for short structures. Using that kind of lightweight materials for a 100m tall structure with a huge surface on top and exposed to strong winds would be catastrophic.
antialias_physorg
3.7 / 5 (3) May 14, 2013
I think they're referring to the very low wind speed regime, where conventional turbines are very inefficient. So while I'm skeptical as well, it's not entirely improbable.

Looks like it. Though I'm also sceptical as long as they don't have some independent people look at this.
Even if it's 600% as efficient as others - at low wind speeds that still means pretty low power output.

Also one has to look at a field of these (not just a singular installation) to make sense as a power alternative. I'd wager that the shadow area of these installations is far larger than for windmills. Additionally I don't see how the land use is lower (as they claim) compared to conventional windfarms - quite the opposite.

On the plus side: Putting the generator on the ground is certainly attractive (from a service standpoint).

Telekinetic
2.8 / 5 (9) May 14, 2013
There's a very good reason for all of the secrecy, namely China. Haven't they usurped every new energy technology- wind turbines, solar panels, and lithium ion car batteries with their artificially manipulated currency and sickeningly low prices born of slave wages? Technology investors, twice shy by now, will need to see proof of the pudding before eating more bad energy investments..