Wind turbines may be an awesome way to generate energy, but they also have their downsides. To start with, they’re loud. They’re hazardous to birds, and many people don’t like the way they look.

But what if there was a turbine that could fix all that?

Gaining Inspiration from the Dragonfly

Renzo Piano, an Italian architect, hopes to make a turbine that people won’t mind having in their backyards. And if you haven’t guessed yet, it look a lot like a dragonfly.

Image credit Gizmodo

Aside from the appearance, main difference between this and previous turbines is that it’s small. It stands at a height of 65 feet – which doesn’t seem a lot when you think about the hundreds of feet a regular turbine takes up.

The turbine only has two blades, much like a dragonfly’s wings. Each blade is nearly hollowing, allowing the column to remain extremely thin.

Perhaps the most notable feature about this turbine is that it can harvest winds of speeds as low as 4 MPH. This means that a breezy day in your backyard could actually create a small amount of energy. It also means the turbine can stay quiet; it has to need to turn at fast and noisy speeds.

A Turbine in Your Backyard

We’ve previously discussed some of the issues with more urban turbines; unless you’re placed in a good location, the cost might not be worth it.

There’s no word on how expensive this small, dragonfly-style turbine will be. It’s still in the extremely early prototype stage. But if the design works, it could be a solution to the problem of urban wind energy.

The pretty design also helps alleviate quite a few other turbine-related concerns. If the prototype is as quiet as it claims to be, the dragonfly-like appearance could actually become quite popular.

Whether or not the look of a turbine matters is another question entirely. Many turbine designs, including vertical models, manage to look quite beautiful even without special elements. And even then, the functionality of the design is often the most important factor.

However, as with any form of technology, visual appeal is a great way to get the public’s interest. If the change can avoid hindering the function of a turbine – and possibly even enhance it – then the perhaps paying attention to the looks could be a positive move.

What do you think? Would the look of a turbine sway your opinion of it? Let us know in the comments!

 


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