Minimal rotation electricity generation
Image source: Bladeless wind turbine by Vortex
Highlight: A Spanish company called Vortex Bladeless has produced a wind turbine that takes advantage of the vortices produced when wind moves around an obstacle. This new wind turbine wobbles elegantly in the wind, generating electricity without rotating blades. “It looks like asparagus,” says David Suriol, one of the founders.
Insight: Electricity generation hasn’t evolved a great deal since Thomas Edison: except solar photo-voltaic systems no matter the energy source to spin a turbine (nuclear, wind, hydro, fossil fuels…) electricity is generated by the simple rotation involving build for purpose parts (basically a magnet and copper wire coil) which generates electron movements and thus electricity. Modern generators and plants make use of multiple rotors to harness the energy and turn it into electricity.
In nature there are no rotating parts…in fact the more rotating parts a system has the more energy is lost through friction and thus the least efficient it is. While many research are focused on aspects such as improving the design of the rotating parts, perhaps a better solution would be to remove as many rotating parts as possible and find species in nature which interact with the energy source (e.g. strong wind conditions on a sea cliff); interesting static efficient design inspirations are likely to be found in these locations.
In this mind-set solar energy, which is friction-less, makes a lot more sense and it is the closest source to natural energy production through photosynthesis. Also it is worth reminding that all other energies are derived from solar in the first place including wind…
More information: here
What is Biomimetics: the field of gaining inspiration from nature first to solve some of our most difficult challenges. Instead of coming up with our own solutions to a problematic, the odds are that species on the planet already offer an ultimate solution. This simple fact is also another strong case to preserve species at all cost as the intellectual heritage contained within or through the study of species is both irreplaceable and invaluable…