These bladeless wind turbines create electricity without spinning

Vortex Bladeless
The turbines we currently use for wind power are incredibly advanced pieces of technology. Everything inside of them –from the shape of their airfoils to the generators they spin– has been painstakingly engineered for maximum efficiency. They’re a very mature technology, but that’s not to say an alternative concept might not be an improvement.

Case in point: these incredible tube-like wind turbines from Spanish startup Vortex Bladeless. Through a clever manipulation of physics, the company’s turbines are able to generate electricity without the help of any large, spinning blades. It sounds crazy, but it’s totally legit — Vortex has been developing the turbines for the past few years, and even went so far as to build its own wind tunnel to prove the technology works.

Instead of capturing energy through the circular motion of a propellor, Vortex turbines take advantage of a physical phenomenon known as vorticity — an aerodynamic effect that creates a pattern of spinning vortices or whirlwinds. Think about the little eddies that form around the edge of a canoe paddle when you move it through the water. This is the same principle — except substituting air instead for water, of course, and with the air moving around a stationary paddle (the turbine) that sticks out of the ground.

As the wind blows past the turbine, little whirlwinds are created behind it, and when they get big enough, they cause the structure to oscillate. This kinetic energy is then used to power an alternator, which multiplies the frequency of the tower’s oscillation and converts the motion in to usable electricity.

The result? A drastically cheaper wind turbine. Vortex claims that its design can reduce manufacturing costs by 53%, cut maintenance costs by 80%, and would represent a 40% reduction in both the carbon footprint and generation costs when compared to conventional bladed wind turbines. They’re also quieter, and present a much lower risk to birds who fly near them.

Vortex hasn’t yet begun production of its planned full-size, 490-foot turbine (capable of 1 megawatt of power), but the bulk of its R&D is done, and they’ve produced a number of smaller working prototypes. They’re extremely close to launching a pilot program to get the turbines out into the world, and to help make that happen, they’ve recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.

It’s worth noting that the campaign isn’t so much about launching the turbine as it is about spreading awareness. The company has already secured millions of dollars in funding from private investors, and so Vortex turbines will become a reality regardless of whether the campaign succeeds — but every cent counts.

Obviously, you won’t receive a turbine of your own if you pledge your support, but if you back the project now you can get your hands on some sweet Vortex Bladeless merch (t-shirts, hoodies, etc.) — along with, of course, as the satisfaction of knowing you helped a brilliant invention come to life.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: heat-powered watches, phone cases with reflexes

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

The Razer Phone 2 will have a $100 off deal for a limited time

The Razer Phone 2 is finally here, and it's got upgraded specs, that super-smooth 120Hz display, and an updated design. Here's absolutely everything you need to know about the Razer Phone 2.
Mobile

We tried all the latest and greatest smartphones to find the best of 2019

Smartphones are perhaps the most important and personal piece of tech on the planet. That’s why it’s important to pick the best phone for your individual needs. Here are the best smartphones you can buy.
Gaming

You're never too broke to enjoy the best free-to-play games

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially-popular League of Legends.
Emerging Tech

Why wait? Here are some CES 2019 gadgets you can buy right now

Companies come to CES to wow us with their cutting edge technology, but only a few products are slated to hit the market right away. Here is our list of the best CES 2019 tech you can buy right now.
Emerging Tech

Drones: New rules could soon allow flights over people and at night

With commercial operators in mind, the U.S. government is looking to loosen restrictions on drone flights with a set of proposals that would allow the machines greater freedom to fly over populated areas and also at night.
Emerging Tech

Yamaha’s new app lets you tune your motorcycle with a smartphone

It used to be that if you wanted to tune your motorcycle’s engine and tweak its performance, you needed specialized tools and even more specialized knowledge. Yamaha’s new Power Tuner app changes that.
Emerging Tech

Short film celebrates New Yorker’s amazing robot costumes

New York City resident Peter Kokis creates stunning robot costumes out of household trash. His designs are huge, heavy, and extremely intricate, and never fail to turn heads when he's out and about.
Emerging Tech

In a first for humankind, China is growing plants on the moon

Having recently landed a probe on the far side of the moon, China announced that it managed to grow the first plant on the moon, too. Here's why that matters for deep space travel.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Emerging Tech

Want to know which drones are flying near you? There’s an app for that

Want to know what that mysterious drone buzzing over your head is up to? A new system developed by AirMap, Google Wing, and Kittyhawk.io could soon tell you -- via a map on your phone.
Emerging Tech

A Japanese hotel fires half its robot staff for being bad at their jobs

Japan’s oddball Henn na Hotel has fired half of its 243 robot staff. The reason? Because these labor-saving machines turned out to be causing way more problems than they were solving.
Emerging Tech

CERN plans to build a massive particle collider that dwarfs the LHC

CERN already has the world's biggest particle accelerator. Now it wants a bigger one. Meet the 9 billion euro Future Circular Collider that will allow physicists to extend their study of the universe and matter at the smallest level.