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Wind turbine design targets onsite renewable energy market

The technology taps into aerodynamics similar to airfoils on a race car to capture and amplify each building's airflow.

A company aims to enter the onsite renewable energy market with a wind energy technology that it claims can generate up to 50% more energy but at the same cost as rooftop solar PV.

Aeromine Technologies said its bladeless wind energy product is being tested by BASF Corp. at a Michigan manufacturing plant. 

The technology taps into aerodynamics similar to airfoils on a race car to capture and amplify each building’s airflow. The product uses around one-tenth of the roof space needed by solar panels. An installed system consists of 20-40 units installed on the edge of a building facing the predominant wind direction. 

AeroMINE (Aero Motionless, INtegrated Extraction) distributed wind power generators have no external moving parts. In operation, incident wind creates low-pressure regions between the mirrored airfoil-pairs. This suction pulls air from orifices (air-jets) in the skins of the foils, from the hollow airfoil interiors, supplied by a manifold which incorporates a turbine-generator. The turbine-generator is located inside the building, away from weather.

In 2019, researchers from Texas Tech, Sandia National Laboratories and Westergaard Solutions tested the design using a wind tunnel.

They used a variety of geometric configurations (involving foil spacing, angle-of-attack and air-jet configuration) to achieve a mechanical efficiency of around 1/3 of the Betz limit, roughly 18%. They said that intermittent operation at higher efficiency (around 27%) was demonstrated for higher angles-of-attack, but that steady operation was impeded by an aerodynamic instability. That instability trimmed power production and reduced overall efficiency to around 10%.

The Betz limit is a wind turbine’s theoretical maximum efficiency. A German scientist working more than a century ago calculated the value at 59.3%. That means that, at most, 59.3% of the wind’s kinetic energy can be used to spin a turbine and generate electricity.

The company’s founders include climate investment fund partner David Asarnow, inventor Carsten Westergaard, and AXON Networks CEO Martin Manniche.

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