The omnidirectional wind turbine has won this year’s James Dyson Award, worth $39,000. This vented spherical device is designed to hang from skyscraper balconies and generate electricity in the bad wind conditions of a metropolis. The traditional wind generators are very efficient only when they are pointed straight into the wind. The wind generation in a large city is scarce since the huge buildings don’t allow the wind to pass quickly.
The wind in urban areas can be powerful, therefore, to draw energy from them and convert it into electricity; a device was needed which can bring energy from every direction. The omnidirectional urban wind turbine is inspired by NASA ‘tumbleweed’ technology that is designed to use the swirling winds on Mars.
The structure has a spherical shape and is covered with vents which have large entrances and small exits for air to pass through. The pressure differences are generated which causes the sphere to rotate clockwise around a single fixed axis no matter which direction the wind is coming from. This rotational energy can then be used to drive a generator and produce electricity.
The team from Lancaster University tested their prototype with a hairdryer and proved the initial efficacy and win the UK national Dyson award. A team member Nicolas Gonzalo summed up the significance of the device saying, “it allows people living in apartments to generate their electricity.” The house owners have the option of solar for many years however the Omnidirectional wind turbine can give a similar power production capabilities to buildings and houses in the in areas which are urbanizing quickly.