Glen Lux, an engineer from Saskatoon, Canada, was recently recognized by NASA’s Tech Briefs magazine for his radical new VAWT design. Using a fraction of the materials of regular turbines and producing as much power, his model could make it far easier to get wind power where it needs to be.
The Lux turbine uses thin, curved blades, shaped like an egg beater. There are actually 6 blades on the turbine, twice as many as are found on most horizontal and vertical designs. It also uses a traction-based generator that rotates on the hub of the turbine. Conventional turbines often use a gear box generator, which costs more to make.
The main benefit to the Lux design is the reduced production costs. The creator estimates that it will only cost around $0.04 per kw of power, making it just as cheap to make as standard coal generators. And due to the way they are shaped, the turbines can be placed close together, allowing more energy to be generated from a smaller area.
Another benefit is the ease of maintenance. The main components of the turbine are close to the ground, as opposed to the top of the tower. Since the materials are cheap, replacement parts can be ordered at a low cost.
Lux’s design is so efficient, it won first place in the Sustainable Technologies category of NASA’s Tech Brief awards. The model is definitely one of the front runners of turbine design – but right now, no one has funded it yet. Inventions can be amazing, but if they aren’t paired with an investor, no one will see them. That’s why you can’t purchase a Lux turbine right now, even if it would be cheap to produce.
Lux hopes that the attention from the award will draw in interested investors. You can check out more about the turbine’s design on the Lux Wind Power website.