Will Inflatable Turbines Fulfil Our Wind Power Dreams?
Demonstrating that there are still novel ways of generating power from the wind, Winflex's inflatable wind turbines are made out of cloth, can be installed on roofs as easily as the ground, and are less expensive than conventional turbines. (h/t to Green Prophet for clueing us in to these.)
Currently the only ones around are 10 kW and 200 kW models but the goal is to develop a 1 MW turbine--making them comparable in output to the smallest of the conventional turbines used in the commercial wind farms.
Winflex touts the financial advantage of inflatable turbines:
Compared to known and available technologies, the WINFLEX system enables the kW installed cost to be reduced by at least 50%. Combined with high efficiency and low maintenance costs the ROI is reduced from 7-10 years for available products to only 3-5 years for the WINFLEX turbine. In cases where the government provides subsidies, the ROI for a best case scenario of a WINFLEX turbine can be as low as 2 years.
Let's class this one in the 'ooo shiny' category for now, but I must say I've very intrigued by this idea.