New wind turbine designs

Be skeptic​al

This page has a collection of innovative designs. I cannot promise they work, or are cost effective. 

In 1919, Albert Betz calculated that the maximum energy that could be extracted from the wind is 59.3 percent. (If 100% was extracted then the wind, and the turbine, would stop.) This number is Betz' limit. If anyone claims to exceed this then we should be skeptical.

Sometimes inventors and their promoters can be a little too enthusiastic about their babies. But the ideas should be included in the discussion as exciting possibilities. - John Davis

Sea Twirl

A very clever idea. Generates and stores energy.

The Sea Twirl floats on a shaft so needs no bearings.

The rotor spins no matter the wind direction.

If the electricity is not used, the outer bottom ring fills with sea water from the shaft and becomes a heavy flywheel storing kinetic energy. When the wind drops, the vanes collapse so the two rings are together and it can continue spinning without losing energy to the air.

As energy is required the water is pumped back to the centre causing the flywheel to speed up.     Video



Sea twirl

Portable wind turbine

UPRISE Energy has developed an innovative 50kW wind energy generator; the machine is powerful, efficient, and portable. The entire machine fits in a standard 40' shipping container, has been optimized for low wind-speed environments and produces power for less than domestic utility power suppliers.  Source




Skysails wind gene​rator

Skysails is developing sails/kite for ships and is also developing a method of using kites to generate power.

The kite flies from an offshore floating tower. As it gains altitude, it pull the cable out generating electricity. Then when it reaches maximum altitude, the kite is feathered and can be reeled in by the motor/generator without using much energy. During bad or calm weather the kite is automatically docked. Tower maintenance can be carried out by replacing towing it back onshore.

The same idea is being researched by Ampyx Power

The first commercial 16.5 meter wingspan, 850kW PowerPlane®, is projected to produce as much electricity as an 850kW, 50-meter rotor diameter conventional wind turbine. The PowerPlane® system replaces the turbine tower and rotor blades, together weighing 120.000kg, by a glider plane and a tether weighing less than 400kg. The ground mounted generator and electronic back-end will be of similar dimensions as used in the nacelle of conventional wind turbines. PowerPlane® systems require lower transportation, installation and decommissioning costs, as well as lower operations and maintenance costs than conventional wind turbines. (From their website)


Ampyx Power kites

Airborne wind turb​ine

Makani is a company developing turbines to use the wind at higher altitudes where the wind speed can be twice that on the ground. 

The company has been bought by Google in  2013.


High efficiency wind turbine based on jet engine technology.

Massachusetts-based FloDesign has developed a wind turbine that could generate electricity at half the cost of conventional wind turbines. The company's design, which draws on technology developed for jet engines, circumvents a fundamental limit to conventional wind turbines. Typically, as wind approaches a turbine, almost half of the air is forced around the blades rather than through them and the energy in that deflected wind is lost, but by using a shroud design, the company says it is able to generate as much power as a conventional wind turbine with blades twice as big in diameter

FloDesign wind turbine


The wind is collected then channeled into a venturi where it is sped up. This should make it more efficient. The company, Sheerwind,  claims it to be 600% more efficient with electricity costs at 2c/kWh

Blue Energy - New Mexico

A new company is making vertical axis turbines with vanes covered with photo voltaic cells. Electricity from both sources merge into one AC output. Website


Wind turbines are an increasingly popular way to generate clean energy with large-scale wind farms springing up all over the world. However, many residents near proposed wind farm sites have raised concerns over the aesthetics and the low frequency vibrations they claim are generated by wind turbines. An interesting Windstalk concept devised by New York design firm Atelier DNA could overcome both these problems while still allowing a comparable amount of electricity to be generated by the wind.

The Windstalk concept would generate electricity from the wind without turbines

Airborne Wind ​Turbine:

The Altaeros Airborne Wind ​Turbine​ uses a helium-filled, inflatable shell to enable it to ascend to high altitudes, which give it access to stronger and more consistent winds than tower-mounted turbines, and the generated power is sent to the ground via tethers. The company says their product could reduce energy costs by up to 65% by harnessing those high altitude winds, and due to the unique design, installation time can be reduced from weeks to just days.


Magenn MARS

Wind turbines at ground level produce at a rate of 20-25%, but when placed at altitudes from 600-1000 feet, energy output can double. Ottawa-based Magenn Power is in the prototype stages of the world’s first floating wind turbine.

The Magenn Air Rotor System or MARS is a stationary blimp kept afloat with helium and tethered into place on an electrical grid. Centrifugal blades on the MARS can generate up to several megawatts of clean, renewable energy at a price well below our current grounded wind turbines.

Wind le​ns

Japanese researchers say that they've discovered a simple way to make wind turbines up to three times as efficient. By placing a 'wind lens' around the turbine blades. Ref

Honeywell wind lens turbine. The generator is in the rim.

Bladeless turbine

The Saphonian › How Does It Work

Instead of spinning blades, the wind is being harnessed by a curved sail-shaped body which follows a back and forth 3D knot motion. This motion (like a wobbling dish) allows the conversion of the majority of the wind kinetic energy into mechanical energy through the use of pistons. The pistons are connected to a hydraulic system which enables the conversion of the mechanical energy into hydraulic pressure and then, to electricity.
By replacing the turbine’ blades by a sail-shaped body that enjoys high aerodynamic drag coefficient (Cd), our Zero-Blade device is capable of capturing twice as much wind kinetic energy as conventional bladed wind turbine for the same swept area. The curved shape of the Saphonian body (Cd of 2.3) is capable of swallowing a great part of the blowing wind. Thanks to the specific motion of the sail-shaped body and the absence of blades, the Saphonian has set itself free from the Betz law. It also reduced major aerodynamic losses given its bladeless design. 

Saphon Energy

Editor's note - better than Betz limit. - ????? Can we see independent test results?


A Dutch collaboration between One Architecture, Ton Matton and NL Architects feel that 8 to 10 turbines can be mounted to one stand. This is a concept. (How would it turn to face the wind?)

Optiwind turbine


Longer blades from fabric

GE has partnered with Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to rethink the way wind blades are designed, manufactured, and installed.

The plan is to make a frame that could be assembled on site and then covered with fabric. This would allow longer blades to be used, increasing efficiency. At present size is limited by transport limitations, around 55 metres.

They should also be cheaper to make.

Source: GE press release

A standard fibreglass turbine blade - Hydro Tasmania

On this page are many innovative designs, mostly unchecked.

An article written about then describes some of the pitfalls of believing too easily