Solar, wind and wave power are all heralded as the future of our energy needs, but they’re not without their setbacks. Solar panels require heaps of space, wave power needs constant breakers, and wind turbines? Well, wind, almost all the time everyday.
However, one challenge that the latter comes up against is not only the space they need, and – for some – the dominating visual nature of the huge wind turbines, but also the noise that accompanies propellers as they cut through the air. The last points are one of the most cited objections to the construction of new sites near people’s homes.
There are many companies attempting to address the problem, not least KETech. The Dutch company is on a mission to allow customers to “Create your own electricity and use it anyway you want. We help people to achieve this. Create your own power and take matters in your own hands.” How can it help you achieve this? The Archimedes silent wind turbine (AWS)
Swift as the wind
The turbine was the brainchild of Marinus Miermet. In 2003, he began working on a prototype of the turbine, influenced by the work of the AWS. The Greek mathematician and inventor discovered that for every shape made, he created volume, except for the spiral.
Miermet also took inspiration from the windmills scattered around the Dutch countryside, which have been used to pump water and mill materials for hundreds of years in a sustainable way. Miermet took it one step further and put three circular blades together, wrapped them round each other and then expanded them. This created a three-dimensional conical shape, reminiscent of the shells found on beaches, which also has the effect of drawing wind into the turbine.
The AWS has a visually pleasing, shell-like aesthetic but form is still equal to function. Its design is suited for rural and urban environments, and is bird and bat friendly.
In 2006, he filed a patent for the wind turbine, which was to be made a reality when he moved to South Korea and partnered with the South Korean company, Esco RTS. It was here that the turbine was developed and tested in many different wind tunnels and field tests in several weather conditions.
The AWS has a visually pleasing, shell-like aesthetic but form is still equal to function here. Its design is suited for rural and urban environments, and is bird and bat friendly. It’s both highly efficient (35% of all kinetic energy is in the air) and virtually silent (below 45dBa), and its energy output is many times higher that that of a normal urban windmill propeller.
The popularity of the turbine can be explained by many things including the democratization of energy choices and providers. Also driving the change is the politics behind energy prices and the willingness of others to attempt to lower their carbon emissions.