Sandia National Laboratory, Texas Tech University, and BASF, the world’s largest chemicals manufacturer, are testing a wind energy generator by a Texas start-up called Aeromine Technologies that claims its design makes 150 percent more energy than a solar panel array of the same price and takes up a tenth of the space.
The system is mounted in a cabinet about 16 feet tall, or about 5 meters, and open at the front and back. Inside the cabinet are blades shaped similar to airplane wings or the aerodynamic spoilers on race cars.
The blades are shaped and positioned so that when wind blows past them, the air pressure in the cabinet drops drastically.
That loss of pressure creates a vacuum effect that draws air up through the base of the cabinet where a propeller is mounted.
As the low pressure sucks air up into the cabinet, the moving air spins the propeller, which is attached to a turbine, and makes electricity.
The unit has no moving parts, needs no scarce metals, makes no noise, and works any time there’s a breeze.
BASF is testing an Aeromine unit on the roof of a chemical plant in Wyandotte, Michigan.
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Although Aeromine’s units aren’t suitable for single-family homes, they could do well on apartment blocks, office towers, and most commercial buildings.
Teamed with a solar array in the right locations, the complementary technologies could sharply reduce a user’s consumption of nuclear- or fossil-generated power from a centralized grid.