An egg-beater-like vertical wind turbine design could potentially double the output of wind farms by using the space between larger, horizontal turbines.
Wind farms take up a lot of land because the large rotating blades of the turbines need a lot of space in between them to operate safely and effectively, but company Wind Harvest International thinks wind energy could be generated in those empty spaces. The company claims a MW array of their shorter, vertical turbines could fit in the space between two horizontal MW turbines.
The Wind Harvest turbines work in groups of three or more to maximize their energy output. The turbines alternate between clockwise and counter-clockwise rotation, creating a vortex that accelerates the localized wind speed by almost double. The company says it's also possible that the arrays could boost the energy output of the larger horizontal turbines as well, but that more testing would have to be done to confirm that.
Other than utilizing all of the land in a wind farm, the vertical turbines could also act as a back-up for the horizontal ones. In extreme wind speeds where large turbines have to be shut off, the vertical turbines could keep generating electricity. The company also plans to market a turbine for low wind speeds.
Wind Harvest plans to have 25 and 75-kW versions available commercially in 2011.