A clever new spin on windmills
Cars waste energy. But what if elegant new street-side turbines could take it back?
What's the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word, "windmill"?
Do you think of some Hansel and Gretel-type structure on a farm in the Netherlands? Or do you think of a stark-white colossus sitting on the coast of Scotland? Both thoughts are correct — but neither even slightly resembles the next generation of wind-power technology.
Capture Mobility is a new kind of wind turbine that looks like a piece of street-side modern art. And better yet, it has the ability to completely transform the way we think about energy waste.
Sanwal Muneer, the turbine's inventor, describes it this way: "Imagine you are standing by the side of a big, busy highway and you feel a lot of air thrust with the passing by of traffic. Imagine if we could capture this turbulence to generate green energy. That’s exactly what Capture Mobility is doing."
Simply put, cars waste energy — Capture Mobility takes it back.
Sounds great, right? But how does the technology actually work?
Muneer's creation is a vertical axis wind turbine, a helical structure that rotates on a horizontal plane — picture a clock lying on its side — which allows it to harness airflow from any direction. This is a major departure from traditional wind turbine designs and is the reason Capture Mobility can create energy from some of the world's biggest energy hogs.
The turbine is lightweight and 1.2 meters tall. It not only harvests the wind but the solar energy with the integrated solar petals at the top.
Each unit is capable of generating up to seven kilowatts per day, enough to supply an average sized home for 24 hours.
Plus, the units are unobtrusive and can work in any condition.
"If you look at the green energy resources in the world, we only have few effective resources — solar, geothermal and wind. However they don’t exist everywhere because they depend on the environment," Muneer says. "I wanted to create something [that] could be easily utilized all over the world. Roads exist everywhere. Millions of vehicles travel everyday and all of this fast turbulence is being wasted."
Simply Energy - Capture Mobility
Green tech that directly impacts the environment
What makes Capture Mobility truly unique, however, is the fact that it actively improves the environment. Unlike other green innovative energy solutions that have an indirect impact — like less consumption — Capture Mobility purifies the air as it works.
"After the trial project we realized that traffic is the one of the major contributor of pollution," Muneer says, "so why not filter out the smog on the roads? We researched developing a filtering material that would not affect the efficiency of the turbine, [then] modified our turbines a bit and integrated filtering sheets to filter the hazardous particles that produce Cancer and Asthma."
Needless to say, Muneer's innovation has turned some heads. Capture Mobility was just named as a finalist for Falling Walls Science Start-up of the Year 2015, and the turbine is already being used by Scottish Transport Department and might soon make its debut in China.
Shell has also been among Muneer's admirers. In 2013, Shell awarded Capture Mobility the Live Wire award, and more recently, the Shell Let's Go Trade award. And Muneer couldn't be happier, "it has been a great journey with Shell and I really appreciate their support and backing for the innovation."
"Our vision is to reduce clean energy crisis and air pollution because everyone has the right to breathe in the fresh air and have access to clean energy."
This article was originally published by Mashable