What makes it such an innovative and unique system? The system doesn’t just capture the wind in a funnel. SheerWind states that its mission is “to provide sustainable, affordable, electrical energy to anyone, anywhere.”
The wind force (2) is concentrated and accelerated and then harvested through the INVELOX patented system. This system isn’t the typical high tower rotating blades often associated with windmill technology. There aren’t any high towers and huge blades turning above the ground.
In fact, SheerWind has brought “…current wind power turbines and rotors …to ground level for easier, safer, and cheaper operation and maintenance.”
The top of the INVELOX system is shaped like a funnel to capture wind. The design bends just below the intake where the wind is captured vertically and then forced to turn horizontally.
The SheerWind website states, “The omnidirectional intake area allows wind collection from any direction.” Once collected, the wind is “concentrated and further accelerated in the Venturi Effect section of the INVELOX system.”
The Venturi effect, named after the Italian physicist, Giovanni Battista Venturi, explains the result of reduced fluid pressure flowing through a constricted pipe section. Fluid dynamics shows that fluid velocity is increase whenever it moves through the constriction. The “static pressure then decreases and a drop in pressure is realize, while the velocity increases” (3).
When the wind enters the funnel intake, it is forced into a “tapering passageway that naturally accelerates its flow.”
In this system, the wind is sent to the turbine/generators that “convert the accelerated wind to electrical power.” The single wind tower INVELOX is to demonstrate that it’s “capable of powering multiple turbines in a row or series.”
SheerWind’s New Technology Validated
It’s not a pipe dream, the new SheerWind technology INVELOX has been “reviewed and validated by a technical advisory board, a team of experts from major research universities and agencies.” Tests were conducted from 2009 to 2012.
Full-scale “computational fluid dynamic (CFD) models” were built after testing prototypes “under controlled laboratory conditions.”
Those involved or collaborated in testing of the units/technology:
–> QRDC, Inc, an R&D firm with 25 years of working with the US government R&D, assisted in the laboratory tests.
–> City College of New York (CCNY) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) conducted wind tunnel tests.
In 2012, SheerWinds funded two field tests conducted on demonstration units with the “first small-scale unit” installed in Chaska, Minnesota near the SheerWind facility. “Preliminary speed data have validated CFD model predictions.”
The results were published in March 2013 WindTech International as well as “marketing articles and peer-scientific papers”.
ASME published a paper in July 2013 that was “scientifically reviewed and accepted for publication and presentation at ASME conference in Minneapolis in July 2013 (4).
The larger scale field demonstration was a commercial grade model and “exceeded expectations”. This unit utilized the “same turbine on a traditional tower-mounted system.”
INVELOX “significantly” out-performed the “traditional turbine.” It also proved to be “competitive with natural gas and hydroelectric generation.”
The INVELOX produced “600% more electrical energy (kWh- Kilo Watt Hour).” The unit was about to operate at wind speeds only 1 mile per hour as well as in “low wind regimes (class 1 and 2).”
The installation capital cost was reduced to less than “$750 per KW.” The increasing capacity to produce energy was a “record high of 72%.” The cost was less than 1 cent per KWH. The operating cost is reduce by 50% when compared to the current wind turbine technology.
INVELOX Doesn’t Impact Environment and Birds
Another positive for the system is the minimized impact the unit has to not just the environment, but also to animal and bird impact, not to mention human. The noise factor associated with current wind turbine technology is all but eliminated with the INVELOX unit since all of the moving parts, aka turbines and generator are either enclose at ground level or below ground level.
The expected excessive noise that’s generated by traditional turbine generator systems are suppressed by being at ground or below ground level (5).
The absence of these moving components above ground prevents the accidental killing of birds and other flying creatures. To prevent birds from flying into the intake chute, a netting can be installed.
SheerWind’s new technology doesn’t require any Federal funding and the company believes it is set to revolutionize wind technology, comparing it to the impact that the change in transportation from horse and buggy to automobile had on the world.
References & Image Credits:
(2) TSW: Energy Skyscrapers Start Popping Across World’s Deserts
(3) Wikipedia: Venturi Effect
(4) SheerWind: Releases
(5) Sheerwind: FAQ
(7) Wikipedia: Venturi Effect Model