Experts blown away by students’ novel wind turbine

 In News

Two students have solved a green energy problem that put the wind up Nasa scientists.

Nicolas Orellana and Yaseen Noorani have invented a novel turbine that works whatever the direction the air is blowing.

They were inspired after studying Nasa’s flawed Mars Tumbleweed rover project, which was designed to bounce and roll across the planet’s surface to measure atmospheric conditions and geographical location.   But it failed when it was thrown off course by obstructions.

“Following on from the UN report on rising global temperatures and the urgency to cut our carbon footprint, this is another brainwave,” said green energy expert Ron Fox, of Noreus Ltd on the University of Keele Science and Innovation Park.

“The taller we build our cities, the windier they become,” said Ron of Noreus. “But traditional wind turbines capture wind travelling only in one direction so they are very inefficient in cities where the wind is unpredictable and multi-directional.

The students’ O-Wind Turbine, which is a 25cm sphere with geometric vents, utilises the urban air, generating energy even on the windiest of days.

It sits on a fixed axis and spins when wind hits it from any direction. When the wind energy turns the device gears drive a generator which converts the energy into electricity. This can be used as a direct source of power or can be fed back into the Grid.

The Lancaster University pair, who are both studying for their Msc International Innovation, have been rewarded as the 2018 winners of this year’s James Dyson Award, plus receiving £2,000 investment to kick start their product development.

They now go through to the international final of the James Dyson award and they already reached the last 20 nominations with the result being announced on Thursday, November 15, when the overall worldwide winner will receive a further £30,000 in prize money.

“Cities are windy places but we are not harnessing this resource,” said Ron. “Wind power generates just 4 per cent of the world’s electricity but this invention could produce much more.”

Nicolas and Yaseen want their O-Wind Turbine, which could take at least five years to be put into commercial production, to be installed on the side of a building, or the balcony of a home or business, where wind speeds are at their highest.

Nicolas Orellana added: “We hope that O-Wind Turbine could improve the usability and affordability of turbines for people across the world. Our belief is that making it easier to generate green energy, people will be encouraged to play a bigger own role in conserving our planet.”

Sir Kenneth Grange, Chair of James Dyson Award Judges, said: “I was captivated by the simplicity of the design, relative to the enormous ambition of competing in the renewable energy sector.

“Developing ways to embed sustainability into society is an important challenge which will puzzle engineers for centuries, and these innovators show promise as early pioneers.”

For more advice on wind turbines contact Ron on 0845 474 6641.

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Rolling out the barrel with a green brainwave - Sean Mason (left) and Mark Green.Solar panels.