Building a wind rotor design that could harvest more wind


You’ll Never Guess What Inspired This New Type of Wind Turbine

Everyone knows that for true inventors, inspiration can come from the most unlikely sources, and the latest wind technology work from the scientists at GE Global Research reinforces this theory. For the past few years, GE researchers have worked on building a more efficient wind turbine through wind turbine technology advancements—and the latest iteration doesn’t look like anything else on the market.

After Mark Little, GE’s chief technology officer, challenged principal engineer Seyed Saddoughi and his team to build a new wind rotor design that could harvest more wind, the team knew they had to think outside of the box. The result? A hemisphere placed on the center part of the wind turbine to redirect the incoming wind towards the outer parts of the blades. But how big should this hemisphere be? The answer came in the form of a tiny 10-inch wind turbine and a selection of Styrofoam balls ordered off the Internet. By testing different-sized balls, the team could run a variety of different tests, eventually isolating the most optimally-sized dome (and placement) for their new wind turbine design.

Following this, the team measured the amount of voltage the wind turbine produced—and saw that a nose placed on the center did indeed cause a bump in efficiency. The next step? Give their new kind of a turbine a name. 

Energy Capture Optimization by Revolutionary Onboard Turbine Reshape (ecoROTR)

“We wanted to come up with a name for this design, such that it really represented the idea – and was also something that everybody would remember easily,” remarked Saddoughi. “The team gathered in my office again, and after an hour of playing with words the name Energy Capture Optimization by Revolutionary Onboard Turbine Reshape (ecoROTR) was created.”

The dome went up in Tehachapi, Calif in May 2015 for more testing. “This is the pinnacle of wind power,” says Mike Bowman, GE Global Research’s leader of sustainable energy projects. “As far as I know, there’s nothing like this in the world. This could be a game changer.“

In addition to the latest technology in wind power generation, GE also leads the industry is some of the most advanced wind turbines as well as the world’s first digital wind farm.

Read the full story at GE Reports