The School of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) has demonstrated a working prototype of an entirely new type of wind energy generator—the EWICON. What is so interesting is that this wind energy harnessing device works without any blades or moving parts.

This makes it much more easily integrated into buildings than conventional wind turbines, which cause vibration, noise, and shadow flicker. It also means that these new wind power generators may have longer useful life and require less maintenance.

The science behind it is less than intuitive.

The model-EWICON is quite abstract in appearance. A fluid steel frame in the shape of a rectangular zero surrounds a framework of horizontal steel tubes. Within the framework, charged droplets are formed, which are then blown away by the wind. The movement of the droplets produces electric power that can be transferred to the electricity grid. In 2009, Mecanoo used the EWICON in their design of the Stadstimmerhuis 010 building in Rotterdam, with two EWICONS being deployed to create the 010 symbol on the roof. The EWICON will be developed further if funding is secured for follow-up research.

But this video may help to explain it…

It reminds us a little of the principle at work in Kelvin’s Thunderstorm, but while in Kelvin’s model the charged particles are moved by gravity, in the EWICON, the particles are moved by the wind. There are also great similarities with Alvin Marks’ Vaneless Ion generator.

via Earth Techling