A new style of silent wind turbine doubles as an art installation that wants to overcome objections that turbines are ugly
Spotted: An often-voiced opposition to wind turbines is that they are unattractive and noisy. But what if wind turbines could be turned into silent works of art? That is the goal of Flower Turbines, which aims to democratise green energy by making turbines that people actually want to live and work next to.
In addition to making the turbines attractive, the company has also designed them to address some of the technological and aerodynamic problems that keep small turbines from being used on a large scale. The Flower Turbine uses a Savonius-type design – a simple, drag-type device consisting of two or three scoops which in this case, is two overlapping semi-circles.
The wind enters the turbine and then reverses direction, hitting both blades. At the same time, horizontal ribs reduce turbulence and increase efficiency. This allows the turbines to produce more energy from a lower wind speed – making them practical for use in smaller sizes and applications such as domestic or smaller commercial buildings, or local parks.
In addition to their innovative design, the turbines create almost no noise and are designed to resemble large, colourful tulips. Flower Turbine CEO, Dr Daniel Farb, told The Guardian that he was influenced by a desire to make wind turbines more accepted. He points out that, “Big turbines are very efficient, but for some people, they’re an eyesore. They definitely produce noise, flicker and some degree of environmental degradation. I was looking for a way to solve these problems, to make wind energy available for everybody.”
Wind power is seen as an important component of the switch to green energy, but the noisy and unattractive turbines are proving a real stumbling block. At Springwise, we have seen a number of innovative attempts to overcome the understandable NIMBYism associated with wind turbines, including street lamps powered with tiny, colourful turbines and a small, portable wind turbine that can be moved almost anywhere.
Written By: Lisa Magloff