A spinning turbine which can capture wind coming from any direction and could revolutionise how consumers around the world generate electricity has won its two student designers the James Dyson award.
Nicolas Orellana, 36, and Yaseen Noorani, 24, both master’s students at Lancaster University in northern England, have created the O-Wind Turbine which can use both horizontal and vertical wind without needing to be steered.
Most turbines only capture wind travelling in one direction, and are inefficient in urban areas where wind trapped between buildings is disrupted.
Wind is often dragged down to the street and then pushed upwards.
This catapults wind into chaos, rendering conventional turbines unusable.
Using a geometric shape, the O-Wind Turbine is designed to make the most of multi-directional wind with a 25cm sphere with geometric vents sitting on a fixed axis.
When wind turns the device, gears drive a generator which converts wind into electricity. This can either be used as a direct source of power or fed into the electricity grid, say the designers.
Orellana and Noorani came up with the design after studying Nasa’s Mars Tumbleweed rover and hope the turbine will be installed on large structures such as the side of a building or balcony, where wind speeds are at their peak.
Orellana said: “We hope that O-Wind Turbine will improve the usability and affordability of turbines for people across the world.
“Cities are windy places, but we are currently not harnessing this resource. Our belief is that making it easier to generate green energy, people will be encouraged to play a bigger role in conserving our planet.
“Winning the James Dyson Award has validated our concept and given us the confidence to approach investors to secure the capital we need to continue to turn our idea into a reality.”
The pair will now go forward to compete against other international entrants with the winner chosen by vacuum inventor Sir James Dyson, who founded the Wiltshire-based manufacturer in 1991.
To help finalists to develop their ideas, the winner is awarded £30,000 and the regional winners receive £2,000.
Professor Harry Hoster, director of Energy Lancaster at the university, said: “When the two students first approached us about test facilities for a new wind turbine design, we first thought it would just be the 23rd variation of some plain vanilla system.
“When they humbly showed their video and their prototype, however, we were, excuse the pun, blown away.
“Only holding it in your hands and playing with it gives you a chance to understand what their new device actually does and how, if things go right, its ability to capture any random breezes will take urban energy harvesting to another level.”
Nicolas Orellana and Yaseen Noorani with the O-Wind Turbine. Picture credit: YouTube