Saphon’s Cheaper and Efficient Bladeless Wind Turbines


Saphon, out of Tunisia, is interested in finding partners to mass-produce and market their unique wind energy device, based on their own Zero Blade technology. An average wind turbine captures only 30 to 40%, while the Saphon turbine is said to be 2.3 times more efficient. Additionally, the cost is expected to be 45% less than a conventional turbine, mostly due to the fact that there are no blades, no hub, and no gearbox on the units. The Wind Turbines out on the market now have the following drawbacks: (1) low efficiency level, (2) high cost ($1.5-2 million per mega watt), (3) lack of wind storage options, (4) turbulent wind which is causing developers to go offshore at a high cost, and (5) environmental disruption such as noise or killing birds.

The Saphon Zero Blade technology is different in that it confronts most of those issues. In regards to storage of energy, most of the kinetic energy can be stored (via a hydraulic accumulator) or converted to electricity with a hydraulic motor and generator. It is capable of overcoming the Betz’ limit, which states that no turbine can capture more than 59.3 percent of the kinetic energy of the wind. The Zero-Blade Technology is largely inspired from the sailboat and is likely to increase the efficiency of the current wind power conversion devices. The blades are replaced by a sail-shaped body while both hub and gearbox are removed. There movement allows the conversion of the majority of the kinetic energy into mechanical energy (using pistons). The same is then converted to a hydraulic pressure that could either be stored (in hydraulic accumulator) or instantly converted to electricity via a hydraulic motor and a generator. The company is now looking for manufacturing partners to bring the turbine to market, and once that happens, they expect to be shipping out units anywhere from 18 to 24 months afterward.

Wind power is one of the technologies the world is counting on to provide a source of sustainable, non-polluting energy. Wind is abundant, totally clean, perpetually renewable and unlike fossil reserves, it is widely distributed across the five continents. Shifting to renewable energy (including wind energy) is becoming a must to address the climate change challenge. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), fighting global warming is going to cost more than $45 trillion to halve carbon emissions by 2050, but the failure to take action would be a disaster as it would cost the world more than 20% of global GDP every year to fight famine, disease, rising sea levels and so forth.

via TreeHugger