Stuff We Need: Better Wind Turbines, Part II

Back in May 2010, I wrote about the conflict between conventional windmill turbines and avian wildlife.

And while my research into the issue revealed that wind turbine blades don’t actually harm that many birds and bats, way fewer, in fact, than are harmed by automobiles and by birds flying into building windows, any harm, in my view is too much.

It’s now been over two years since I read at Inhabitat about a Nikola Tesla-inspired blade-less wind turbine that seemed to be a good solution, but I’ve not heard any news since on that technology.

Today, however, Inhabitat reports on yet another new turbine design, the Saphonian, this one by Tunisian company Saphon Energy, also a blade-less device, but modeled after sails rather than a Tesla concept.

This design shares three features with the previously reported Fuller Wind Turbine. Not only is it a considerably more efficient technololgy, harnessing MUCH more wind energy, 80% compared to the 30% captured by conventional windmills, it also cheaper to manufacture and it’s safer for birds.

Additionally, the Saphonian is reportedly a silent device, addressing a common complaint by opponents of windmill-based wind farms.

It’s been two years between the reports on these two technologies, so let’s just hope that two years from now we finally see installations of expansive wind farms utilizing these designs, rather than just another report on just another new alternative.

Judging just by Saphon’s much fancier website, compared to the one for the Fuller, and the fact that Saphon’s backer was featured in the 2012 TED Talk below, perhaps Saphon does have the kind of momentum needed to make the leap from concept to implementation.

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