The winners of this year's Next Generation design competition have unearthed an idea that's brilliant in its simplicity: adding wind turbines to already existing electrical towers. The project, aptly called Wind-It, would have wind turbines built on pylons and towers along high voltage lines across the US, sparing the need to build entirely new structures on private or government land--and they'd generate as much as a megawatt of power per tower. Has this concept solved one of the biggest problems with wind power?The concept is the brainchild of French designers/architects Nicola Delon and Julien Choppin, and Raphaël Ménard, an engineer.
Wind-it answers one of the greatest challenges to the development of wind power: where to site wind turbines. Choppin, Delon and Menard's design uses existing infrastructure - the towers and pylons that dot the more than 157,000 miles of high voltage power lines in the U.S. - to locate their turbines, which can be stacked within already sited structures. Moreover, Wind-it solves the problem of linking energy generation and electricity transmission in the same way - by co-locating them.
Wind-it XL calls for new and taller pylons. The design is most promising for developing regions and can generate as much as one megawatt of power.
Wind-it L loads eggbeater turbines onto the core of existing towers
in medium- and high-voltage grids.
Wind-it retrofits low- and medium- voltage pylons for a nominal one to
ten kilowatts of power.
Here's how the retrofit would look on a standard transmission line.
And here's an existing high voltage pylon, with the eggbeater turbines inside.
The big gun--capable of generating an entire megawatt all by its lonesome.
So have we solved the biggest problem of wind power?
"The genius of the proposal is that it solved probably the biggest issue of wind production," says Alexandros Washburn, New York's chief urban designer and a judge for the Next Generation competition, "which is where to locate these very large structures. By incorporating them into transmission towers, which are already located and of the same scale as wind towers, the idea of how it looks on the landscape is very cleverly integrated."
More on Wind Power Design:
New Turbine Design Wins Sustainability Award
Jet Engine Wind Turbine Design Could Halve Wind Power Electricity Costs