Bladeless Wind Turbine vs Wind Turbine

Bladeless Wind Turbines vs wind turbines

Renewable energy will be what saves the earth from self-destruction. And as time goes on and technology advances, these renewable energy sources will continue to provide more and more power with less start-up cost or initial investment.

Wind turbines have been around for a while and they are popping up in areas of moderate to high wind still. But the newest form of renewable energy is bladeless wind turbines. I’ve heard about them and supposedly they’re more efficient, better for the environment, and cost less. To me, that sounds like a no-brainer. But I wanted to do some more research and get a breakdown of each. below is what I found.

What Is a Bladeless Wind Turbine?

A bladeless wind turbine still used the power of the wind, but instead of turning blades, it causes the turbine to oscillate back and forth. This back and forth motion combined with an alternator produce electricity. This is a very high level simplification but without knowing a lot about the technology, it seems pretty simple and straightforward.

The guts or internal components of a bladeless wind turbine are minimal and require little to no gears, bearings, or moving parts. Thus the amount of maintenance and upkeep on them is incredibly small and cheap.

Cost of Bladeless Wind Turbines

Cost always plays in role in advancing technology. But the good thing is, technology advances so fast the cost of these improvements or advances drops quickly. From the research that I found bladeless wind turbines produce electricity for 40% less than a standard wind turbine.

A lot of this comes from fewer raw material in building bladeless wind turbines combined with less maintenance cost. This become very apparent when I read that the gear boxes in the traditional wind trubine have to be switched out about every 1.5 years. If the lifespan of a traditional wind turbine is 25 years, this means it will need about 17 new gearboxes in it’s lifespan.

That’s a lot of raw material and man power cost. Imagine having to switch parts of your car 17 times over it’s lifetime.

Efficiency of Bladeless Wind Turbines

The efficiency of these new wind turbines is lower compared to the wind turbine. But the efficiency is only about 10% less, currently. Bladeless wind turbines have been around for about 5 years, and as I mentioned above, the technology will improve, so this efficiency could decrease or even become more efficient as improvement are made.

To compensate for being less efficient the footprint of bladeless wind turbines allow for more of them to be installed in the same area. In a space where you can only fit two traditional wind turbines, you can install 4 bladeless turbines. This results in greater output per square foot, at a reduced cost. It’s a bit of give and take, but I expect bladeless wind turbines to become favored over wind turbines in the near future.

Envrionmental Impacts of Wind Turbines

One of the big setbacks of traditional wind turbines is the negative environmental impacts they have. Oppoents of wind turbines argue and have evidence of two types of negative environmental impacts. Similar to any time you build a structure of a certain size or within a certain area, an environmental assessment has to be done.

For example, building a public water system near a stream needs to ascertain the impacts on the stream itself as well as the fish using the stream. If the new water system will have a negative impact on the stream, mitigating factors have to be taken in order to prevent or reduce those impacts. With wind turbines, there is a concrete pad that goes down as the foundation, and if enough of them are built, it could have an impact on wildlife in the area.

The second negative impact is from spinning blades injuring and killing birds and bats. It’s no surprise that gigantic spinning blades could have a negative impact on flying birds. Additionally, you can’t just build wind turbines anywhere.

It’s my understanding that identifying the number of birds killed by wind turbines is difficult and costly to determine but best guesses say hundreds of thousands are killed each year. As the number of new wind turbines increases, the number of birds killed will also increase.

Other negative impacts include the looks and the noise produced by wind turbines. I can easily see how having hundreds of wind turbines scattered across a valley or plateau will ruin earth’s natural beauty. Wind turbines aren’t exactly a beautiful thing, except in the eyes of the corporation that is making a profit from them.

But advocates of renewable energy argue that wind turbines are better looking than the effects climate change is having. Between seeing flooded cities, municipalities destroyed by hurricanes and tornados, most would take a hillside of wind turbines. Along with what some view as unsightly, the wind turbines do put off some noise.

If you’re looking for tranquility and peacefulness, the noise of blades sheeding wind can ruin the experience. And since wind turbines are typically installed outside of towns and municipalities, infrastructure has to be built to get the energy from rural areas into the power grid. Again, this is viewed as unsightly in the eyes of those against wind turbines.

There is no denying that wind turbines or even bladeless turbines have some negative aspects, but let’s briefly discuss the positives of wind energy.

Advanatages of Wind Energy

Theres a reason why renewable energy is becoming mainstream. Tradtional means of producing energy are wreaking havoc on our earth and alternatives need to be explored. Hence wind and solar energy.

Clean Energy

This is pretty self-explanatory but generating power using wind doesn’t produce greenhouse gases. While the installation, production, and minimal upkeep might produce greenhouse gases, compared to fossil fuels, it’s minimal. The fewer greenhouse gas emissions combined with energy conservation is becoming more main stream and everyone is trying to do their part.

Abudant Source

Wind will keep coming no matter what, so we have an endless supply of it. We aren’t depleting the world of any resource if we use wind. On the contrary, fossil fuels have a limited amount, therefore as we use up these resources they deplete.

Job Growth

Thousands of good paying job are the result of wind turbine and bladeless wind trubines being installed. These jobs are expected to grown over the next few decades. And good paying jobs like this help ensure a thriving economy for the US.

Wrapping up Wind Turbines

Renewable energy is here to stay and figuring out the cheapest most efficient way of producing power with an abundant resource will save the earth. I live in an area with lots of traditional wind turbines and have never seen any of the bladeless wind turbines. Based on the cheaper cost, better environmental impacts, and what i would consider to be better looks and less noise, I anticipate seeing more of these popping up.

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