The O-Wind turbine has swept everyone off their feet and managed to bag the US$39,000 first prize in this year’s James Dyson Awards. The device is purpose built to be suspended from a high rise skyscraper and in turn generate electricity in the wind.
The typical wind generators that are in use are very productive but often variations in the wind pattern tend to cause interference. The wind patterns rarely follow a specific order and are always changing direction.
All year around, the winds that occur can be put to good use by employing the working of a turbine that can capture the wind from all directions to generate electricity – top, bottom, left and right.
This innovation is based off of the NASA tumbleweed technology which works by using the swirling winds on Mars to push an exploration ball and redirect it towards a single direction. The O-Wind team similarly designed a multidirectional turbine shape.
Image Credit: O-Wind Turbine
The spherical shaped device consists of small openings and exists to allow the air to pass through. The invention works on Bernoulli’s principle, by using the pressure differences generated to its advantage and causing the clockwise rotation of the sphere about a fixed axis. This energy gained from the rotation can in turn drive a generator to produce electricity.
The Lancaster University team used a hair dryer to test the prototype and managed to win the Dyson award last month, shortly before becoming the global winners.
“It allows people living in apartments to generate their own electricity,” claims the team member Nicolas Gonzalo.
Rapid development and urbanization is taking place daily which makes this device all the more significant. Apart from solar energy techniques, the O-Wind turbine can be additionally integrated into the day to day lives of skyscraper dwellers in order to sustainably and efficiently generate electricity.