power most commonly comes from two sources: water and wind. The underlying
physics of power generation can be fascinating. For instance, many power
workers and electrical engineering students may be aware, but the average
layman has no idea that a new turbine must be perfectly synced up to an
existing power grid before being connected to it. If the poles are even a few
degrees off, the moment the turbine is connected to the grid, every other
turbine on the grid will electrically and instantly force it into synchronization,
destroying the new unit. This is may be an overly simplistic explanation, but
Katru Eco-Energy's (relatively) new wind turbine, however, avoids such
catastrophic failure. First dreamt up in 2007 by Katru's founder Varan
Sureshan, patented in 2008, and brought to proof-of-concept in 2010, the IMPLUX
"fluid dynamic gate" design is a new take on
wind-driven turbine power. Rather than relying on large vertical blades, the
IMPLUX utilizes a series of circular airfoils that channel virtually all the
wind it receives upwards through a horizontally rotating blade assembly.
The IMPLUX is not going to revolutionize air-powered power generation. The
units, instead, are designed for aesthetics, efficiency and safety -- their
main function would be to supplement a single building's power needs, reducing
the drain on the national or local grid. The first production units (slated for
production in mid-2012) will likely be 4m in diameter and generation
approximately 2KW of electricity. That's enough to power about four modern
computers and their monitors on a good, windy day.
Future models may include 4KW and 10KW production potential, likely with a
related increase in the diameter of the unit. A video explanation of the
physics behind the IMPLUX turbine can be viewed here.
Another new turbine invention is powered not by air, but by liquid. You can
find most of these types of turbines in power dams where the flow of water
is regulated and used to drive the rotors. However, University of Bern
mechanical engineers at ARTORG Cardiovascular Engineering (ACE), a research
group at the ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research, revealed a
new, very small turbine at the 6th International Conference on
Microtechnologies in Medicine and Biology in early May. This tiny turbine, as
one might suspect from previous use of the word cardiovascular, isn't powered
by water, but by blood.
The grain-sized generator is meant to harness the pumping power of the heart to
power small medical devices. A pumping heart develops approximately 1 to 1.5
watts of hydraulic power. The blood turbine would likely be fixed to the
internal thoracic artery and, in tests using common tubes used in replacement
surgeries, has generated upwards of 800 microwatts. A modern pacemaker requires
in the area of 80 microwatts to function.
While the potency of the power producer cannot be overlooked, neither can the
possibly deadly medical side effects. Like almost all vertical turbines, ACE's
produces turbulence in the area behind the moving part of the generator. Turbulence
in blood can cause coagulation, a byproduct of which are clots. Clots can cause
death via embolisms, infarctions and thrombosis, generalized terms for blood
clots based on their effect and their location in the body.
With a risk so great, the devices could hardly be installed into living beings
without heavy testing. Drugs like heparin or warfarin could be used in
conjunction to moderate the blood's tendency to clot behind the turbine, but
these blood-thinning drugs come with their own side effects.
Brilliant people are moving forward with fluid-dynamic power generation on many
if not all available fronts. The question doesn't seem to be if we can expect
these power plants to be ubiquitous in the future, but when.
quote: Turbine power most commonly comes from two sources: water and wind.