How does INVELOX work?
It is very simple, a large intake captures wind, funnels it down using tapered pipes leading to a concentrator that ends in Venturi section and finally wind exits from a diffuser. Turbine(s) are placed inside the Venturi section of the INVELOX. Inside the Venturi the dynamic pressure is very high while the static pressure is low. The Turbine converts dynamic pressure or kinetic energy to mechanical rotation and thereby to electrical power using a generator. Watch here.
How do you make more energy?
INVELOX does not create or add energy to the natural wind; it is a passive mechanism that converts part of existing static pressure energy into dynamic pressure or kinetic energy. INVELOX captures, accelerates, and concentrates wind to turbo-charges wind and harvest more efficiently. For example: the power density of wind at 7 m/s mph is less than 200 W/m2 while a power density of about 12,000 W/ m2 can be realized at 27 m/s.
What size is the intake?
A size comparison and land use of INVELOX to traditional wind power systems of the same
power is shown in the below table.
(1) depends on customer requirements and wind data
(2) Requires no active or passive yaw control or pitch control
System Type Blade Diameter(1) [m] Tower Height(1) [m] Intake Diameter(1) [m] Directional Land Use [Acres] Cut-in Speed [m/s] 1.8 MW INVELOX System 5 to 10 20 to 40 10 to 40 Passive Omnidirectional(2) Less than 10 0.9 1.8 MW Traditional Windmill 70 to 85 80 to 95 70 to 85 (Sweep Diameter) Requires Active Yaw Control 60 to 80 3.8
How does your “power curve” compare to common horizontal access turbines power curves?
It is important to understand SheerWind is not creating a new turbine or generator. Rather, it has developed a “fuel injection” system for wind. The wind “fuel” is concentrated and accelerated, and then injected over multiple WTGs (wind turbine-generators) in a row or series. The key is INVELOX increases wind speed. So the power curves that exist for the “off-the-shelf generators” that we place in the INVELOX system hold true, however, with the INVELOX system we begin to produce power much earlier and can operate much longer with much smaller blades.
Will there be any noise from the towers?
Moving parts (turbines or generator) are enclosed at or below ground level; reducing excess noise generated by the traditional turbine-generator systems. Tower noise is not anticipated to be a problem. With the INVELOX system rotating blades are inside an enclosure at the ground level, the low frequency blade noise/vibration is eliminated by over 60% reduction in blade size.
Will INVELOX system harm birds?
The INVELOX system should not kill any birds or flying creatures since it has no moving components at the intake, on the top of the tower. If need be, a net can protect birds or flying friends from entering the turbine generator area. One of the reasons an INVELOX system is installed on The Nature Conservancy’s and US Fish and Wildlife’s Palmyra Atoll, a remote research station with over a million nesting birds and is 90% fossil fuel free.
What about Betz limit? Does SheerWind claim INVELOX wind power generation system breaks the Betz limit?
Betz only worked on power coefficient, in other words, he worked on efficiency of blades and his theory was that the blades cannot capture more than 59% of the wind power. Betz limit has nothing to do with energy production.Energy production has to do with how low the cut in speed is and how fast the turbine reaches its power rating. Betz did not cover these subjects in his work. Betz work was on traditional turbines in open flow, free stream wind. He did not do formulations for ducted turbines.
SheerWind does not claim to break the Betz limit. However, based work done by others in open literature, there is a reasonable argument that the Betz law, developed in early 1900’s, is limited to open flow systems and does not apply to shrouded wind turbines.
How do you explain 600% more energy from your pilot project in Chaska, MN?
We found INVELOX system was able to produce 600% more energy with these benefits:
• Low cut in speeds as low as 2mph (much lower than traditional turbines which are 8mph or more).
• Comparing the output energy with the same turbine-generator-load system mounted on the top of tower at the same height as our intake.
• Turbines in the INVELOX system reach high power output at much lower wind speeds. When comparing free stream wind speed at about 15 mph, the turbine on the top of a tower generated less than its maximum power. But the same turbine inside INVELOX will increase the wind speed from 15 mph to 30 mph at the Venturi, allowing the same turbine-generator to reach its maximum power.
• The combination of the above factors results in an energy production improvement between 85 to 620%, with an average of about 314% more energy.
What about the fact that the industry successfully has grown using the larger blades on the top of tall towers? Are you claiming they are wrong?
SheerWind has never made the claim that the traditional wind turbine systems with huge blades and very tall towers were wrong— rather we claim it is time to change and make industry changing improvements. Like any other dated technology that has been replaced with a more cost effective or efficient system, INVELOX is the next generation and is a more effective way of generating wind power. Cars replaced horses, and touch phones replaced rotary phones, and PCs replaced huge mainframe computers not because the old industry was wrong, in fact they were very good for their time, but their useful time came to an end and they were replaced. If one argues that the industry is always right, no new invention should take place and no evolutionary, revolutionary, or disruptive technological advances will ever be made.
Current wind technology is the only industry that relies on concentration of equipment instead of concentration of the source of energy. Depending on the power rating of each generator, 200 to 500 turbine-generators are used for a 500MW wind power plant. In contrast only 4 generators (each 880 MW) are used in a 3,500 MW coal power plant (7 times larger than wind power plant.) This is based on concentration of the source of energy (i.e. coal) and the wind power plant is based on concentration of equipment. INVELOX concentrates wind to deliver to turbines.
Will the technology scale to utility-size turbines, say 2 – 15 MW?
Yes, the technology is scalable from community size to utility size units—where the cost of generating power will be greatly reduced. INVELOX can be used for both on and off-shore power generation.
How much room or acreage is required per kW?
For utility scale units (over 1MW) about 1.5 to 2 acres are needed per 1 MW. For small wind (below 200 KW) approximately .5 acre per 100 KW in needed.
What materials are used to construct the INVELOX systems?
INVELOX systems can be made out of a variety of materials depending on the customer requirements and environmental conditions. Our first demos were built of metal (first one) and fabric (same fabric used in large tents) and aluminum. The main supporting of our test structure is steel but it can be anything. More recent structures have been manufactured from fiberglass and steel.
How do you protect the intake structure and turbine from adverse weather conditions (rain, sleet, snow, ice, hurricanes, etc.)?
The intake is of a material that can withstand all these effects and will vary based on climate. The structure is constructed from materials that are compatible with the location/conditions. There is a drain or door to let collected water or snow release. The turbine is within the duct and it is protected. In high winds or hurricane winds the turbine/generator can be moved or by-passed.
Is the geometry of the intake structure critical to performance?
Of course the geometry and configuration of the INVELOX system is critical, this is the whole idea.
What about flow-dynamics of the system, will air/wind move around it instead of going in?
Like traditional common wind turbines the wind cannot avoid the tower. Some wind hits the tower and moves in and down the funnel. Unlike traditional turbines, the wind that is captured by INVELOX results in a much higher power coefficient.
Can INVELOX be in regions where the available wind is insufficient for traditional turbines?
Traditional windmills are not effective in slow wind speed areas (class 1 or 2). Traditional wind works best in class 3, 4, 5, or 6. INVELOX is a wind delivery system that captures, concentrates and accelerates wind. Because SheerWind’s INVELOX speeds up wind, it can work in all classes of winds and be effective.
What about other ducted or shrouded turbines, how does INVELOX compare?
Many other ducted concepts have been explored dating back to the 1930’s.
Benefits discovered from past ducted turbine concepts:
• Speed increase was proven
• Power increase was demonstrated
• At small scale, outperformed traditional windmills
• Lower cut-in speed
• Speed increase may result in 8X more power for the same rotor size
Challenges discovered from past ducted turbine concepts:
• Duct & WTG were installed at the same location, high on top of a tower
• The mechanics of rotating a large duct in the air becomes too expensive to be cost effective
• When scaling to utility scale, duct becomes too large to build, install, and operate
• There was very little benefit in terms of environment and wildlife, and influence on people
• O&M cost went up not down
• Land use & cost was not reduced
• CAPEX was increased for the gain in performance
• The systems were limited to small wind applications
• All in all, a solid business case could not be made
INVELOX has resolved challenges of previously attempted ducted concepts. Benefits of INVELOX:
• Intake & wind turbine/generator (WTG) were decoupled
• An intake tower replaces wind turbine generator high on a pole and the wind turbine/generator are located at ground level
• Intake can be increased at a different rate than the turbine diameter
• Speed increase of 10X or more is possible, this means significant increase in output power for the same size rotor
• Speed control is possible
• High speed increase (i.e., 10X) results in ultra low cut-in speed (i.e. 0.4 m/s = 0.90 mph if the traditional cut-in speed is 4 m/s)
• No large rotating blades on the top of the tower eliminates all environmental impacts, such as wildlife, bird migration, people, radar, etc.
• Multi-stage wind energy conversation systems become possible
• Heavy equipment (more than 200 tons) removed from the top of a tower
• Having WTG at the ground level reduces O&M cost by 50%
• 10X speed increase will result in significantly increase in mass flow.
• Increased in mass flow will result in increased in output power
• Ultra low cut-in speed allows capacity factor of 70% up to 95%
• Speed Control results in operation even during high wind speed periods, thereby increasing AEP
• There are many options for material selection/construction
• INVELOX can be combined with other sources of energy
• Given the same capacity, INVELOX rotors can be 75 to 85% smaller than the traditional rotors
• Increased performance while reducing CAPEX & OPEX
• Offering near–zero downtime
Download additional information: SheerWind Ducted Turbine History
Has SheerWind received any grants?
No, SheerWind has not received any grants. A city that is working with SheerWind has received a grant to continue the cities mission to be a leader for small communities to become greener and sustainable.
How many projects does SheerWind have? Are they all pilot projects?
The company has built and tested three demo units and two commercial units and continues testing and evaluation of OEM turbine and generators in the larger unit.
Some of the initial customer installations are considered partnership projects as it relates to eventual full deployment. These customers will move into large-scale or multiple deployments after pilot projects have shown satisfactory performance. Staged implementation and project expansion is a typical approach in the industry when exploring new technologies. These customers will begin with 200kW or 500kW and then purchase larger systems ranging from 2MW to 5MW per INVELOX system, with total power plants reaching 500MW.
Does SheerWind have skeptics?
SheerWind’s INVELOX technology has skeptics as any new industry changing technology does. We believe that is how good technology gets even better. We invite critics or skeptics to do research and study our technology to better understand our published data (view here). The SheerWind policy is to engage in discussion with educated skeptics whose intentions truly are to understand the technology. In some cases, it has been difficult to know if the intentions of skeptics are to ride the wake of a new technology or if it genuine misunderstanding and belief in their own theories. We have found that while we have skeptics, we have 1000s of followers that have studied and believe SheerWind’s INVELOX will be the future of clean energy. We encourage our followers, customers, investors, and partners to review what the skeptics write and draw conclusions for themselves. Everyone should determine for themselves what ideas are meaningful or irrelevant, factual, or based on opinion with no science expressed or referenced.
Most inventors of life changing technology are ridiculed when they bring a new vision to our world. Henry Ford, the Wright Brothers, Steve Jobs, to name a few. While physics-based and engineering-based skeptics are healthy and must exist, if inventors where discouraged by unfounded skeptics no new technology would ever be developed.
We do not expect everyone to understand our technology; we only hope that the potential of INVELOX and what it can do for our planet is appreciated.
Has SheerWind’s technology been reviewed by third parties?
Scientific papers written about SheerWind’s technology are peer-reviewed, meaning the data has been evaluated by scientific and academic professionals working in the same field. These reviewers constitute third party review of our concept, computational models, and collected field data. SheerWind’s website has been viewed by over 850,000 visitors from over 200 countries around the globe. We have received over 3,000 written inquires from prospective customers, partners, and investors. The majority—after reviewing our site, published data, and technical information—with enthusiasm and encouragement. Students (at undergraduate, master-level, and Ph.D. levels) from universities in USA and Europe have sent letters of interest to join the SheerWind team because they believe this is the future of wind power generation. Universities around the country and in Europe have contacted SheerWind to establish working relationships. Our Chief Technical Officer has been invited to speak on renewable energy and technology in the Middle East, China, New Zealand, Spain, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Czech Republic, Great Britain, Canada, and USA. He has presented to 1000s of experts around the globe and has answered all of their questions.
The US Army National Guard has ordered three units to be installed at three sites in two bases. All these groups have reviewed our data and technology and have made the decision to work with SheerWind.
Has the idea of INVELOX been tried before?
The general approach taken by INVELOX can be categorized under shrouded or ducted wind turbines that have origins as far back as the 7th to 9th century. The first official patent was granted in Finland in the 1930s. Various forms of the technology have surfaced around the globe in every decade without a notable impact on the market and scalability. For additional information, please see the history of ducted wind turbines.
In general, the following has been agreed on by researchers and engineers in the field: 1) Ducted turbines do perform much better than traditional windmills (referred to as open flow systems). 2) The primary reason that ducted turbines perform better is the increase in wind speed or increased in dynamic pressure. Since the duct or shroud is a passive structure, the increased in speed comes from conversion of static air pressure to dynamic pressure, the latter increases harvestable energy available to the turbine. 3) Scaling the technology to power capacities larger than 100kW has been proven not economically feasible due to minor performance increases. 4) The key challenge is increasing turbine size in order to maintain a significant increase in performance; the speed increase should be more than two times. However, for speed ratio of 2 or larger, the size of the duct or shroud becomes economically unaffordable. Such a large system with large turbine and shroud does not offer any cost reduction to offset the cost of additional structure (i.e. shroud) on the top of the tower. The O&M cost increases because there are more parts to maintain while the added structure (shroud) becomes problematic on the top of very tall towers.
As it is shown in the history of ducted wind of turbines, INVELOX solves the challenges of the traditional ducted turbines. In brief: 1) The intake and turbine are placed at two different locations allowing INVELOX systems to be designed for speed ratios as high as 12 by optimizing the intake and diffuser sizes without increasing the turbine size inside the Venturi section of INVELOX. Alternatively, optimizing the turbine size without increasing the intake or diffuser sizes. 2) The turbine-generator system is located on the ground level causing a significant reduction in O&M costs (estimated at 50% reduction when compared to tower-mounted turbines). 3) The INVELOX system does not need yaw system, a gear box, or pitch control. Removal of these components allows for additional savings. 4) The turbine size is significantly reduced depending on the wind speed magnification (from 1.5 to 12 times). Since the harvestable power in wind is governed by the universal equation for power (Power = (Cp)(0.5)(air density)(3.14)(R2)(V3)), the reduction in turbine size can be determined when speed magnification is known. For example, if free stream (or undisturbed) wind speed is 12 m/s, the radius of the turbine is 42 m (rotor diameter of about 84 m), the air density is assumed to be 1.23 kg/m3, and Cp (Power Coefficient) = 31%. The power available to an open flow turbine (traditional windmill) is estimated to be 1.8MW. If INVELOX offers a speed magnification of about four; this means the turbine catches wind speeds of about 48 m/s. Using the same values for air density, free stream wind speed, and a power coefficient of Cp = 31%, the turbine diameter (or blade radius) can be calculated to generate the same power. The estimated size of the rotor diameter for generating 1.8MW is about 10.5 m (or radius of about 5.25 m). In other words, the rotor diameter is reduced by about 88%. The rotor is one of the major cost elements in terms of material, design, manufacturing, transportation, installation, and repair expenses). Reducing the size of the rotor results in overall cost reductions.