Six (Or Seven) Ways to Power a Vehicle by Wind

Siemens Turbine On Danish Soil photo
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1. Hybrid-Electric Vehicles Powered By Wind Turbines

The Swedes and the Danes are (among others) big fans of the idea of replacing a part of their transport fuel use with wind power. There's an ambitious goal to erect 6,000 new turbines in Sweden by 2020, while the Danes already get 20 percent of their electricity from wind. Pilot programs are testing how charging stations could work in urban and more far-flung settings to create an infrastructure that flows wind (mostly at night when demand is lower) from the grid to to hybrid-electric cars.

2. Ventomobile Is A 'Wind-Powered Land Yacht'

In the meantime, there are plenty of developers working on ways to use wind even more directly to get vehicles going. A race along a Dutch seawall near the windy North Sea fishing village of Huisduinen next week will pit against each other six inventive prototypes that all directly sail into the wind for locomotion. At TreeHugger we covered one of the wind-driven entries into the 2008 Race Aeolus, the Ventomobile, designed by Alexander Miller and a group from Stuttgart University.

ECN Wind Driven Vehicle photo

3. ECN's Impulse Uses Sustainable Materials

Though all six of the wind-powered vehicles competing at Aeolus 2008 are vying for fastest vehicle in the 3.5 kilometer race, another criteria for designers was to create prototypes that use sustainable materials. The Impulse, from the Dutch Energy Research Center was actually the first to apply to be in the race.

Flensburg Wind Powered Vehicle photo

4. Headwind Tricycle Based On 40-Year-Old Dream

This 'headwind bicycle' or tricycle was designed in the head of a 10-year-old German boy long ago. Now more than 40 years later that boy, Gustav Winkler, is professor at the Fachhochschule Flensburg in Flensburg. Winkler and his team used the basics of his dream design, with the turbine up front, to build a vehicle that is streamlined and sits quite low to the ground but offers scant protection for its driver.

Greek Wind Powered Vehicle photo

5. Wind God Drives This Go-Cart

Zefyros (named after the ancient Greek god of the west wind) was created by a Greek team working at the University of Patras and the National Technical University of Athens. Zefyros looks a lot like a wind-driven go-cart, but is designed, according to its makers, for both stability and safety, getting speeds of up to 35 kilometers per hour.

Vertical Turbine Wind Vehicle photo

6. Vertical Axis Taps Wind For Baltic Thunder

Baltic Thunder is the only entry to th Aelous contest, from students at the University of Kiel and Christian Albrechts University, that uses a vertical axis Darrieus turbine for its "energy extracting" device. Vertical-axis turbines haven't made it into the wind mainstream. Baltic Thunder also careens along on three wheels.

Denmark Wind Vehicle Entry photo

7. Danish Design A Classic Racer

This hand-constructed windmobile is from the Technical University of Denmark, and looks like minus the turbine it could be straight from a kid's 60's racing car fantasies. While it might be near impossible to imagine any one of these entries as your next family car, their competition helps advertise wind's still huge potential to be part of all our clean energy goals, even in transportation. Via ::Wind Energy Events