Who would ever have thought that wind blower fans in a cow barn would spark an idea to create innovated vertical wind turbines?
It turns out that a small, clean technology startup company located in a kibbutz near Ramat Hasharon, Israel may be developing a new stackable wind turbine that could compete with the giant propeller ones currently in use around the world.
Coriolis Wind is the brain child of its 3 co-founders Dr. Rafi Gidron, an entrepreneur from Precede Technologies, an entrepreneurship and investment firm focused on high growth markets such as alternative energy; Orni Petruschka, also with Preclude; and Dr. Shuki Sheinman, formerly connected with NASA, Scitex and El Op.
The basis of the technology comes from a scientific phenomenon known as the Coriolis effect named after a French mathematician, Gaspard Gustave de Coriolis who wrote a treatise in 1835 about how the earth’s rotation affects the direction and force of wind. It’s also called the “toilet flush effect.”
A video of the Coriolis Effect:
This theory resulted in Gidron and his partners coming up with a very different type of vertical wind turbine that can utilize the earth’s rotational effect of winds to create the most efficient energy. The “wind testing” idea they use is even more unique as it revolves around a using cow barn at Kibbutz Kfar Hayarok, outside Tel Aviv to create a wind tunnel for testing their vertical wind turbines.
The “wind” used in their initial experiments does not come from the cows themselves but from the fans used to ventilate the areas the dairy cattle are living in (which can be quite smelly for obvious reasons).
According to Dr. Sheinman, who used his experience with NASA to help design the special rotary turbine blades, the main idea is to capitalize on what is known as the minimum wind “cut-in speed”; below which no useable power can be produced by a wind force.
Watch this video on Coriolis (Discovery)
By experimenting with different wind speeds in their “cow barn wind tunnel” they found that the minimum cut-in speed is 3.5 meters per second or 12 km per hour. Their idea is to capitalize on using minimum wind velocities, as influenced by the Coriolis effect to create the most energy and with a much lighter weighted smaller turbine device than the standard wind turbines we are all reading about.
By developing very light weight vertical turbine blades of only 2 meters in length, and made from a light weight plastic molding material, the turbines are then placed in a “pod” of three turbine fans, which are then linked together to form a module. The desired wind power is then created by combining enough modules which are mounted on vertical stands, which utilize less space than the large propeller turbines “that are the size of a 747 aircraft and very heavy” according to Dr. Sheinman.
Rafi Godron is banking on the financial potential that his company’s new wind turbine concept may create. He says that with wind turbines already being a multi-million dollar business around the world, their new design should be able to capture “at least 12-15% of the total market” when put into full production. With the idea of ”building a better mouse trap” as the old innovation saying goes, this new wind energy concept may very well accomplish this feat, once they get past the “cow barn” testing stage, that is. And it looks like they have. Check out the video above.
Article by Maurice Picow, appearing courtesy of Green Prophet
[photo credit: ISRAEL Dairy]