Monday, May 6, 2013

Researchers in the Netherlands have created a Bladeless wind turbine without running components that generate electricity using charged water droplets. 
Even as the majority of wind turbines generates electricity by transforming kinetic energy into mechanical energy of the blades rotating, which often produces electrical energy, the Ewicon (which somewhat awkwardly stands for Electrostatic Wind Energy Converter ) produces electrical energy instantly from wind energy.

It does this through the displacement of charged particles by the wind in the opposite direction of an electrical field. The device comprises a steel frame holding around 40 horizontal rows of insulated tubes giving it the appearance of a large tennis racket. Each tube features several electrodes and nozzles which release positively-charge water into the air, through a process that's been dubbed "electrospraying". 

Positively charged particles naturally move towards the negative electrode, but when the wind is allowed to push the particle away from the negative electrode, it increases its potential electrical energy a little like pushing a rock up a hill against gravity. This increased energy can then be collected. The whole system comprises of a battery, inverter, HVDC source, pump and charging system. All components are placed on a metal plate which is supported by ceramic insulators. The insulated metal plate acts as a capacitor, which is charged by the removal of the charged droplets. 

The Ewicon's advantages include the fact that it can come in many different shapes and sizes and it has no moving parts, meaning much less mechanical wear and tear and thereby maintenance costs. Thanks to the lack of moving parts, it is also much quieter and creates fewer vibrations, making it suitable for urban settings.


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