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With No Moving Parts, EWICON Bladeless Wind Turbine Harnesses Wind And Water To Generate Electricity [VIDEO]

Apr 03, 2013 02:36 PM EDT

Windmills and water don't seemingly have much to do with one another, but researchers in the Netherlands may have changed that with a revolutionary new design.

The Electrostatic Wind Energy Converter, nicknamed EWICON, is a bladeless, wind energy generator that produces electricity using charged water droplets.

The design has the potential to be a game-changer for wind-powered energy, which has a fair share of critics who say traditional wind turbines are too unsightly, too noisy, too breakable or too dangerous to birds.

EWICON's design addresses most of those issues, namely the complaint that traditional wind turbine design requires too much maintenance on movable, breakable parts. The EWICON has no moving parts at all. It utilizes a steel frame which holds a series of horizontal, insulated tubes.

The system works by releasing positively charged drops of water into the air. The water droplets get picked up by the wind and carried through the EWICONs electric field, harvesting the potential energy of the charged water droplets.

The EWICON can be designed in a variety of sizes and shapes, and since the system does not emit noise, it has potential to be adapted for widespread urban use in places that traditional wind turbines would never work. The designers claim the shape of the system could even altered so that it integrates into existing architecture.

The EWICON was designed by architecture firm Mecanoo using technology developed by Delft Technical University researchers Johan Smit and Dhiradj Djairam.

Only three prototype EWICON units have been produced, two which are integrated into a sign on top of a building in Rotterdan, The Netherlands and another standalone unit on the campus of Delft Technical University.

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