Every trip from Indianapolis to Chicago takes me past Purdue University’s impressive wind farm. No matter how many times I drive past, it always feels like I’ve been transported into a science fiction movie. Hundreds of windmills, three hundred feet tall, dot the farmland surrounding I-65.
It’s the perfect location. The relatively small windmill base doesn’t interfere with farming. And since the land borders one of Indiana’s busiest interstates, no one complains about the noise. If you’ve never heard wind turbines in action, this will give you an idea of just how annoying they can sound…
Now, a Spanish company called Vortex Bladeless has come up with a radical new design for wind power, a device with no moving parts that looks a bit like a blade of grass. Instead of relying on spinning blades to create energy, it uses the oscillating motion of the wind to generate power in a way that is totally silent. This would allow it to be deployed virtually anywhere.
The design, which stands a little over forty feet tall, costs half the price of a wind turbine. And with no moving parts, maintenance costs plummet.
This doesn’t solve the problem of storing the energy (Tesla has been working on that problem), but it does go a long way toward a future where wind power can be successfully deployed in a residential setting.
The days of the “Don Quixote” windmill could be numbered.