The ingenious crank-beater is an American invention patented by Turner Williams in 1870 (thanks Wikipedia!). Williams had the simple realization that two adjacent, counter-spinning vortices could whip a whole lot more air into those dairy products than two spoons spinning rapidly in unison (the old fashioned way to beat whipped cream). The rest is history...
For some reason it has taken 140 years to apply this same physical principle, known as the "coupled vortex effect" to wind turbines, and now WindHarvest International a California-based startup may be taking it to the bank. The company is revolutionizing the wind industry by creating a way to harvest low to the ground wind turbulence using sets of 3 counter-spinning vertical axis wind turbines.
The vertical turbines use less material, have simpler gear-boxes, and do not require giant cranes in order to be erected. This makes them obviously cheaper to manufacture, but the real win is the fact that the opposing turbines actually entrain gusty winds into neatly formed miniature tornados that enable the turbines to harness double the energy captured compared to a typical turbine of the same size.
The company is only in an early test phase and is seeking funding to start up, so it may be a while before we see egg beater turbines popping up in the near future. But WindHarvest is just one more example of the extraordinary room for growth and innovation in the still budding wind industry.
via: GreenTech Media