HOWLIN'

This wind turbine generates power without blades

Growing interest in alternative energy sources has made the three-pronged white metal wind turbines dotted across open landscapes a familiar sight.

But thanks to a Spanish energy startup known as Vortex Bladeless, there’s a new type of turbine in town with a rather different look—and the potential to be cheaper and more reliable. Vortex’s generator resembles a giant straw in the ground and harnesses wind energy without the need for rotating windmill blades. It’s designed to vibrate in the wind as much as possible, like a guitar string; those vibrations are then converted into stored energy.

According to the company’s website, the Vortex turbines are 53% cheaper to manufacture and 51% cheaper to operate than traditional wind turbines. This is in part due to their lack of moving parts—there just aren’t that many components to break. Their current model, the 41-foot Vortex Mini tube, captures around 30% less energy than a traditional wind turbine, but can also be packed more densely into a given space.

The company has raised about $1 million from the Spanish government and private investors, according to Wired; it says it will begin raising more money via crowdfunding on June 1.

home our picks popular latest obsessions search