A brand new type of wind turbine that is designed specifically for cities was today unveiled in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Dubbed Liam F1, the wind turbine is far more compact than previous designs and features a spiral shape that dramatically improves its efficiency. The result is a design that can generate enough energy to cover 50% of the power needs of a typical European family while producing far less noise than a traditional turbine.
Developed by The Archimedes, a Rotterdam-based research and development company, the turbine is based on theories developed by the ancient Greek mathematician of the same name. Its designer, Marinus Mieremet, has also taken inspiration from the Nautilis shell, which is famous for its perfect spiral.
The spiral design is not just for show: it provides several advantages over traditional designs.
For one thing, the turbine is a lot smaller, with a footprint and appearance similar to a large satellite dish.
This means it can snugly fit on most rooftops alongside solar panels or other units, which makes it far more useful for city environments where space is at a premium than traditional designs.
Its virtually silent running also means it could be located far closer to living spaces without disruption or annoyance, one of the biggest issues with older wind turbines at present.
The screw-like shape also makes the turbine technically superior to its windmill-like counterparts. The design means that the turbine automatically turns to face the wind, which results in a far higher yield than traditional turbines in the same wind conditions, with 1,500 kilowatt-hour of energy at wind speeds of 5m a second.
Mieremet said that the energy yield is a remarkable 80% of the total theoretically possible, as opposed to the rather pitiful 25% managed by traditional turbines.
This statistic shocked even the designers when it came to light. Not being able to believe what they were seeing, Liam F1’s developers tested the turbine more than 50 times before they were satisfied that the impressive results were for real.
In an age of spiralling fuel prices, any technology that can keep costs down without affecting quality of life is going to be highly prized, and the Liam F1 could prove to be immensely popular.
If combined with a solar panel, the company even believes that the turbine could make households entirely self-sufficient.
The Archimedes engineer Richard Ruijtenbeek explained: “When there is wind you use the energy produced by the wind turbine, when the sun is shining you use the solar cells to produce the energy.”
Although only formally announced today, The Archimedes has already received orders for more than 7,000 of the Liam F1 turbines, with requests coming from 14 different countries around the world.
It seems that this urban wind turbine could rapidly become a familiar sight in cities everywhere.
Images courtesy of The Archimedes.