By Andrew Liszewski
An Industrial Design Engineering student in the UK has won the top prize in this year’s BSI (British Standards Institute) Sustainability Design Awards with his innovative take on the wind turbine. Not only is Ben Storan’s design particularly suited to urban environments where traditional windmills can be impractical but it’s also extremely easy to setup and take down when the weather gets nasty.
The result is a unique design which uses vertical, rather than traditional horizontal, rotation. This feature gives a slower rotational speed, which allows the turbine to capture more energy from turbulent air flow, common to urban environments. It also means quieter operation.
As a result, it is able to generate more energy than domestic models currently on the market. Similarly sized existing personal wind turbines claim to generate 1kW at a wind speed of 12 m/s, but typically produce just 40% of what is claimed. Benís design should realistically produce 3 times that (1.2kW) of those currently on the market.
The clever vertical rotation design uses lightweight materials, which means Benís turbine is more stable than other personal turbines leading to better energy capture and making it is easier to install.
Besides the £3,000 cash prize he took home Ben’s creation now has a much greater chance of actually being produced thanks to all the publicity its getting. Oh and I assume he’ll also get an ‘A’ in the course.