The Future of Wind Power Lies in the Spirals of the Helical Wind Turbine
The pressing need for the world to find clean, renewable resources that won’t harm the environment has become a task we can’t ignore any longer. Out of all the renewable resources in this world, the easiest and most viable resource is the pure untainted power that comes from the wind.
For centuries, mankind has harnessed this power. It has powered the sails of our ships to discover new and uncharted lands. It has driven our wind mills to grind our grain. And it has given us the power of flight, helping what would seem impossibly heavy aircraft to soar gracefully through the skies. Wind is a clean, reliable source of energy that, when harnessed for electricity, doesn’t emit any pollutants or toxins into the air like the burning of fossil fuels such as coal and petroleum does.
Many different designs of wind turbines have been created over the years in an effort to more effectively capture wind power, and research and development still continues to fine tune these concepts. One such design that has gained a lot of popularity recently in the residential and urban markets is the helical wind turbine.
The helical wind turbine is a vertical axis turbine or a VAWT. This means that the main rotor shaft runs vertically. As an evolutionary development of the Darrieus wind turbine, a turbine created by French aeronautical engineer Georges Jean Marie Darriues in 1927, the helical wind turbine features three airfoil blades that have a helical twist of 60 degrees.
While the Darrieus model was a revolutionary concept of its time, there have been many engineering faults discovered in the design since, which has created a spark of engineering ingenuity that piggy backs on this original design. The helical wind turbine is one of the more successful design concepts that has really taken off in the urban and residential areas. That’s because it still has the power to turn from relatively low winds, which are present in an urban environment.
The Many Benefits to Helical Wind Turbines
There are many advantages to the DNA shaped helical wind turbine. The first big advantage is that they are much quieter than the turbines that consist of blades because they have slower speeds along the blade tips. This allows these types of turbines to be placed in residential areas since they are almost silent during operation 1.
One big disadvantage to the original Darrieus turbine model is that, over time or with high wind speed, the eggbeater shafts of the turbine would bend and become damaged. However, with the helical wind turbine, this damage is averted by the shape of the helical wind turbine. That’s because this unique shape spreads the torque evenly throughout the revolution of the blades and prevents this damage from occurring.
Another reason the helical wind turbine is gaining in popularity in residential and urban areas is that they only need slow minimum wind speed to start and operate the turbine. They can also be placed lower to the ground and on rooftops and they can turn no matter which way the wind is blowing 2.
Helical wind turbines can also be used in regions where there are very high wind speeds. Blade turbines often need to be shut down for safety purposes if the winds get too high. This allows more uptime for the helical wind turbine to generate electricity.
These turbines are also more eco-friendly. There have been cases where the traditional blade turbines have been reported to cause the death of many raptors and bats. However, with the helical wind turbine, the danger to wildlife has been averted with hardly any cases reported since increased installations have begun to populate the United States.
There has also been a decent amount of uproar from communities about traditional wind turbines because of the aesthetics of the actual machine. The bladed turbines need to be high enough to capture the wind and usually are coupled with several machines. Communities have argued that they devalue the surrounding property. However, the current top brands of helical wind turbines are so graceful and elegant that they have literally been used as works of art in front of hotels and shopping malls.
Small Wind Making a Big Impact with Helical Wind Turbines
One of the biggest manufacturers of the helical wind turbine is called Quietrevolution and their products can be used to harness small wind. The importance of small wind has become a hot topic lately and the idea is catching on in the United States and across the world. The American Wind Energy Association reported that there has been a recent dramatic increase in the small wind market. In 2008, the market increased almost 78 percent! The United States also sold about half of the total wind turbines worldwide last year – almost $77 million worth 3.
These small wind helical turbines can be used for net metering as well. What that means is essentially any excess electricity the turbines produce gets fed back into the grid. The power company will then pay you at the end of the year for any power you supplied. They also qualify for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which gives consumers a 30 percent federal tax credit when they install these turbines.
Clean, Pure Energy All Around Us
The use of fossil fuels as the primary source of energy has caused the environment great harm over the years. The United States alone is responsible for more than 21 percent of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide is the main culprit and cause of the greenhouse effect 4. Fossil fuels also emit sulfur dioxide, which causes acid rain. The earth can’t take much more abuse from our energy production methods, especially when there are abundant sources of alternative energy that leaves little impact on the environment.
With the prices of oil and gas sky rocketing in the United States, the need to find and develop these alternative resources has become unavoidable in terms of maintaining the economy as well. It is only by truly devoting our time, money, and resource into researching and developing these clean renewable energies, like wind power, can we create a world free of pollutants and toxins, with energy that will last us for all time.
Learn More About Wind Turbines
1. The Future of Things. Quetirevolution Helical Wind Turbine. http://thefutureofthings.com/pod/163/quietrevolution-helical-wind-turbine.html
2. Wind Turbines Now. Helical Wind Turbine. http://www.windturbinesnow.com/helical-wind-turbine.htm
3. Jetson Green. Small Wind Market Surges 78%, US Manufacturers Making Money! http://www.jetsongreen.com/2009/06/small-wind-market-grows-78-percent-in-2008.html