(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 nozzle 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 wind speeds 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.
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 natural gas and hydroelectric plants. 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: Scientists get set for simulated nuclear inspection
More information: sheerwind.com/technology