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The IMPLUX turbine's design captures at least 85% of the air funneled into it, accelerating and forcing it through a horizontal turbine blade. The design is also safe for wildlife, especially birds.  (Source: Katru Eco-Energy)

The ACE blood turbine could be used for pacemakers, drug delivery systems, electronic monitoring devices and any number of other small medical gadgets.  (Source: Alois Pfenniger, ARTORG Cardiovascular Engineering, University of Bern)
The harnessing of fluid dynamics can provide (nearly) free energy, but not always without consequences.

Turbine 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 fun nonetheless.

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.



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12 feet feet x ?? feet
By FITCamaro on 5/24/2011 10:02:01 AM , Rating: 2
To power 4 computers. So how many/much to power the AC system? This stuff hardly pays off quickly considering 4 PCs only use about couple dollars worth of electricity a month from traditional coal or nuclear plants. At least where I live. At most you're talking $10-15. Gonna take a long time to pay for that wind turbine.




RE: 12 feet feet x ?? feet
By rikulus on 5/24/2011 11:16:51 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I won't touch on how much of the time the turbine is actually generating the 2 kW, but if the 4 computers plus monitors are really using 2 kW of power (which strikes me as quite a lot for a modern computer), then we can figure out how much that will cost.

2 kW x 24 hours x 30 days = 1440 kWh
If electricity is 12 cents per kWh, that's $172.80 per month.

Not that I think 1 computer is really costing $43.20 per month to run, but the article is what started with a 2 kW number and called it 4 computers, not me. :)

I wouldn't expect the turbine to really earn $172 per month, but I would expect more than $15. Seems like a smart design in terms of animal safety. I'd be interested to know how well it performs in a range of windspeeds.


RE: 12 feet feet x ?? feet
By mcnabney on 5/24/2011 11:31:25 AM , Rating: 2
It doesn't make any sense really.

Large wind turbines now achieve 2-4MW, over a thousand times the wind generation ability. In addition, large dedicated generating structures are easy to service and manage. Having hundreds of these covering a building's exterior would be a management and maintenance nightmare.

These 'might' find applications in off-grid environments.


RE: 12 feet feet x ?? feet
By LeviBeckerson (blog) on 5/24/2011 11:56:14 AM , Rating: 2
I chose four because I figured it was in the right area. I guesstimate that a modern computer gobbles between 100-150 watts continuously to power the CPU, fans, drivers, etc. The monitors are what really eat the power I suspect, though they've covered considerable ground in efficiency in the last few years.

Too, not everyone has a 2'+ monitor like we do, so the estimate could be a little high.

Too, too, with less wind, the turbine likely creates less (much) power. I definitely understand where you're coming from on the affordability of the thing.

But let's say you've got security lights or another system of lights that needs to be on 24/7. Modern compact flourescents eat, what, 7 watts or something? Maybe less? That's a whole lot of those you can keep lit full time with that one turbine on the roof and a bank of batteries. I think it would pay for itself in that manner quite quickly.


RE: 12 feet feet x ?? feet
By FITCamaro on 5/24/2011 1:07:42 PM , Rating: 3
100-150W? Have you even looked at Anandtech's power consumption charts? Maybe if they're at nearly full load all the time.


RE: 12 feet feet x ?? feet
By YashBudini on 5/24/2011 5:27:57 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The monitors are what really eat the power I suspect,

My 19 inch CRT uses 80 watts, LCDs use far less.


RE: 12 feet feet x ?? feet
By Solandri on 5/24/2011 5:34:19 PM , Rating: 2
My desktop computer is hooked up to a UPS which displays Watts. Core 2 Duo 8400 (3.0 GHz), 3 hard drives, Radeon HD 4830 video card. (My laptop actually has a faster CPU, though not as good video.)

At idle with the monitor in powersave, it's at 125 Watts. Probably more than half of that is from the relatively high-end video card.

At load, the system's draw goes to a bit over 200 Watts.

Turning the monitor on (a 24" LCD) adds another 50 Watts.


RE: 12 feet feet x ?? feet
By ddownes on 5/24/2011 4:39:46 PM , Rating: 2
If you're using your computer daily, especially gaming, it impacts your power bill considerably. I've already seen on several occasions where my power bill stays around $175, but when I leave for a couple months it's down to $70, and that's with someone still living there who only watches TV (and I don't).

Granted some of that is the water heater, and my old desktop had a mild overclock (stock voltages).


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