The Tunisian company Saphon Energy has developed their unique take on the concept of the bird-friendly, bladeless wind turbine. Their “zero blade” Saphonian design made its debut at the TEDGlobal 2012 Conference that took place in Edinburgh, Scotland back in June. The Company is now looking for a partner to manufacture and market its product.
Named after a Carthaginian wind deity and taking design cues from sailboats, the Saphonian wind turbine resembles a large dish. Surprisingly, it generates less noise than traditional rotating blade turbines and will not harm wildlife during operations.
Anis Aouini, the turbine’s inventor, states that the Saphonian has superior aerodynamics which reduce the amount of kinetic energy lost when it captures the wind. It further increased its efficiency -and decreased its cost- by shedding blades, hub, gear box, and other structural elements that Mr. Aouni called “unnecessary.” Instead, the Saphonian’s moving pistons create hydraulic pressure which it either converts directly into electricity or stores in an accumulator.
This combination of features allow the Saphonian to keep up to 80% of the kinetic energy of the wind they capture. In comparison, the typical wind turbine can only retain 30% of the energy. Additionally, the Saphonian costs only half of the price of its equivalent.
Saphon patended its “zero blade” design in Tunisia in September of 2010. The Company secured its international patent back in March. It is now looking for a partner to manufacture the Saphonian for the market. If Saphon finds a partner before 2012 ends, it estimates that the turbine will reach markets in Tunisia and the rest of the world within two years.
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