DecarbonizationEnergy

Wall turbines, which are visually stunning, have the potential to revolutionize urban renewable energy

Because of falling costs, the quantity of wind turbines has increased dramatically over the world. Huge wind turbine farms dot various landscapes, either offshore or onshore, and people have gotten accustomed to them. Residential wind turbines, unlike solar panels, are less economical and accessible, as they are considered overly bulky and wind-dependent, especially in urban locations. Wind turbines are hard to come by in Manhattan, but rooftop solar systems are plentiful.

Instead of harnessing the wind with giant blades mounted on towering towers, designer and businessman Joe Doucet designed a flat wind turbine that can be fitted into walls, filling a gap in our renewable power generation toolset with an out-of-the-box solution.

A grid of the square panes spins along 25 axes to form the turbine wall. The initial prototype comprises 25 commercially available wind turbine generators which are mounted to 25 vertical poles with square panels connected alongside them to collect wind pressure.

The prototype wall is 25 feet long (7.5 meters) and 8 feet tall (2.5 meters), but it may be enlarged to almost any size. One such modular panel, for example, might be interconnected with others in the same manner that individual solar panels are now used to cover a rooftop.

In a discussion with Fast Company, Doucet said that an ordinary American household with one side wrapped by a turbine wall would meet its annual energy requirements (10,000 kilowatt-hours/year). This is based on simulations, which are obviously subject to large variations depending on the amount of wind that reaches the turbines. Because these findings have not been independently validated or peer-reviewed, they should be taken with a grain of salt. High-rise buildings and other barriers in urban settings reduce turbulent winds, and real-world applications may produce drastically different results from simulations.

Large-scale commercial buildings, like office buildings, malls, and supermarkets, are where Doucet sees his innovation growing – even inside congested cities. Traditional wind turbines require up a lot of space, can be noisy, and thus are considered as eyesores and impediments in the visual environment, making them unattractive in urban areas. Wall turbines could be a good compromise if they don’t hypnotize individuals with their revolving panels.

Furthermore, the turbine walls, which have aluminum turbines, might be placed along roads and highways to take advantage of air pressure caused by vehicles. “You’d have an assortment of these instead of the conventional retaining walls around roads and motorways,” Doucet informed Fast Company. “Our highways could meet all of our energy needs with the increased wind boost from trucks.”

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