At first glance I wouldn’t know what this is. On careful examination, if I were in a science campus I would pass it off as an experiment. But what if this served as a window or covered the facade of a building; I would pass it off as yet another design that da Vinci knows best!
If you were to tell me this generates electricity by using wind energy, not only would I be awestruck but would head back to my engineering books, searching on how is wind energy generated without the use of rotors and blades!
This gem of a concept uses the movement of electrically charged water droplets to generate power. How does this work? A handy video explains:
A scale model of the bladeless windmill developed by a Dutch architecture firm, Mecanoo architects and Delft University of Technology is now viewable in the campus.
HOW IT WORKS
The electrostatic wind energy converter (EWICON) is a steel frame structure that uses particle movement to generate energy. Electrically charged water droplets are moved across a bipolar field by wind which creates a current that is transmittable to a grid. As such, the form is freed of mechanically moving parts and instead becomes a sleek steel frame supporting a shear of horizontal tubes. More pragmatically, the lack of moving parts reduces maintenance costs, wear and tear and shadow casting as well as virtually eliminating noise pollution.
While traditional turbines convert wind energy into mechanical energy that is then turned into electrical energy, the EWICON uses electro hydrodynamic atomisation wherein a high electric field is used to generate and charge particles simultaneously.
The technology was developed by TU Delft’s departments of chemical and aerospace engineering in conjunction with Wageningen University and is slated to be the next phase of wind energy technology.