Forget about traditional tri-blade wind turbines — the ultra-efficient turbine of the future might look completely different if Kyushu University professor Yuji Ohya has anything to say about it. Ohya and his team recently unveiled the Wind Lens, a honeycomb-like structure that purportedly triples the amount of wind energy that can be produced by offshore turbines.
The Wind Lens was unveiled at Yokohama Renewable Energy International Exhibition 2010. The structure works similarly to a magnifying glass that intensifies light from the sun — except in this case, the lens intensifies wind flow. Ohya’s design doesn’t have too many moving parts — just a hoop (AKA a brimmed diffuser) that “magnifies” wind power, and a turbine that is rotated by wind captured from the hoop. Each Lens, which measures 112 meters in diameter, can provide enough energy for an average household.
Ohya doesn’t know if the Lens will go into commercial production, but if nothing else, it could provide a more aesthetically appealing alternative to traditional offshore turbines. via.