Fascinating wall turbines could revamp urban renewables
The number of wind turbines around the world has grown exponentially thanks to falling costs. By now, people have become accustomed to the huge wind farms that dot some landscapes, whether on land or at sea. But unlike solar panels, residential wind turbines are less affordable and accessible, being considered too bulky and wind dependent, and this is more evident in urban areas. You’ll be hard pressed to find wind turbines in Manhattan, as rooftop solar installations abound.
It is this situation that inspired designer and entrepreneur Joe Doucet to fill the void in our renewable energy production toolbox with a plug-and-play solution: rather than harnessing the wind with huge blades. Hanging from tall towers, Doucet invented a flat wind turbine that can be incorporated into walls.
The wall of the turbine consists of a grid of square panes which rotate along 25 axes. The first prototype consists of 25 already commercially available wind turbines, which are attached to 25 corresponding vertical rods with square panels attached next to them to capture wind pressure.
The prototype wall is 25 feet (7.5 meters) in length and 8 feet (2.5 meters) in height, but can be scaled to virtually any dimension. For example, such a modular panel could be interconnected with others like this, in the same way that we now use individual solar panels to cover a roof.
And while it may sound like a sophisticated kinetic art installation, Doucet claimed in an interview with Fast business that an average American house with one side covered by a turbine wall could meet its annual energy needs (10,000 kilowatt hours / year). This is based on simulations which are obviously subject to large fluctuations depending on the amount of wind hitting the wind turbines. These results have not been verified or peer reviewed by independent sources, so these claims should be taken with a grain of salt. In urban settings, turbulent winds are mitigated by tall buildings and other obstacles, and real-world applications can give results very different from these simulations.
Where Doucet imagines his flourishing invention is in large-scale commercial buildings, such as shopping malls, office buildings and supermarkets, even in busy and overcrowded cities. Conventional wind turbines take up a lot of space, can be noisy, and are seen as horrors and obstacles to the visual landscape, making them unattractive in an urban setting. Wall-mounted turbines can prove to be an acceptable compromise, as long as they don’t hypnotize people with their revolving panels.
In addition, the walls of the turbines, whose turbines are made of aluminum, could also dot roads and highways, taking advantage of the atmospheric pressure generated by traffic.
“Instead of the typical retaining walls along roads and highways, you would have a range of them,” Doucet said. Fast business. “With the additional wind power from the trucks, our highways could meet all of our energy needs. “
Doucet is currently in the process of concluding agreements with several manufacturers to bring its prototype to the market. In combination with solar panels, these turbine walls could significantly reduce our urban carbon footprint.