Wind turbines have their share of critics who worry about them killing birds, making loud noises or consider them large eyesores. Because of that, we've seen our fair share of different wind turbine designs that aim to solve at least one of these issues from vertical to bladeless.
A new wind energy generator designed by Delft University of Technology avoids all three of these issues by having no moving parts whatsoever, but the most different thing about this new design is that instead of harnessing the kinetic energy of the wind, the device produces electricity when the wind blows charged water particles across the structure.The generator is called the Electrostatic WInd-energy CONvertor (EWICON) and the prototype looks like it could pass for a piece of public art, with the inner mesh resembling the webbing of a giant tennis racket. Gizmag describes how the technology works:
The current design consists of a steel frame holding a series of insulated tubes arranged horizontally. Each tube contains several electrodes and nozzles, which continually release positively-charged water particles into the air. As the particles are blown away, the voltage of the device changes and creates an electric field, which can be transferred to the grid for everyday use.
Energy output would be dependent not only on the wind speed, but also the number of droplets, the amount of charge placed on the droplets, and the strength of the electric field.
The EWICON is completely silent, and because it has not moving parts, the device would require far less maintenance over its lifetime than a conventional wind turbine. So far, the developers have not released any info on the technology's efficiency, but it seems to be best suited for stand alone installations and urban environments.
You can watch the video below to hear more about the technology.