Story of a tech startup – Vortex Bladeless Aerogenerator

vortex technology wind tunnel

Story of a tech startup – Vortex Bladeless Aerogenerator

The idea behind the technology //

Vortex Bladeless is a tech startup. We are developing an environmentaly friendly wind generator which needs no blades. It is a new technology designed for small wind on-site energy generation and distributed energy on residential areas, specially thought to work on grid, or off grid along other Vortex units or regular solar panels.

Our vortex wind turbine is not actually a turbine, since it does not rotate. It is based on the phenomenon of aeroelastic resonance, harnessing energy from the wind on the emission of Von Karman’s vortexes, a process called vortex shedding or vortex street. This way the device oscillates with a little movement which makes it perfect to be placed anywhere without lubricants nor disturbing wildlife.

All physical principles of current wind machines are applied to Vortex as well, it is just a different way and, as we think, a better way of harness energy from wind.

 

Current status

At current year, and after facing all the milestones of trying to bring a new kind of wind generator to the market, Vortex decided to focus in the end-consumer market. We are developing our first commercial product, Vortex Tacoma of 2,75 m high, for on-site generation / distributed energy. Vortex Tacoma is in certification stage and being tested in Spain with our program H2020 by European Commision which is about to finish.

We expect to reach the market in 2019, however before this we need a way to manufacture Vortex devices efficiently, surely a small factory which may be crowdfunded if needed. Of course that manufacture stage cannot be reached until the certification is done and we are sure that materials and geometry are the best ones to introduce to the market a finished and polished product.

Vortex Tacoma is designed as a “small wind” generator, entering in the market from below, best and only option for us as a startup company. At current status, Vortex Tacoma units are estimated to have nominal power of 100w and they are working on a nice lock-in range. It is possible to reach more power on this device but reducing the lock-in range, which is, roughly speaking, the range of wind speeds in which an aerogenerator is able to work. Our goal with bladeless aerogenerators is to make them a true equivalent in wind power of solar panels.

We want to generate as much energy as possible but for a longer period of time as well, since wind can blow 24/7 but not always at the same velocity. The goal here is to combine these two tasks and optimize both at its maximum. Vortex’s team is formed by 10 people at the moment, working restlessly to bring the best product to the market for, as we expect, next year. Find a FAQs here.

 

The Bladeless turbines

Story of a tech startup - Vortex Bladeless Aerogenerator

Vortex is a vertical, slender and cylinder-shaped wind generator. It is composed of a fixed part where the device is attached to a basement, and a flexible part which, acting as a cantilever, interacts freely with the fluid in an oscillation movement.

It could be divided in two parts; mast and base. Curiously, one of the hardest parts is to industrialize the manufacturing of the mast while keeping its characteristics. At the moment some methods are feasible but we are still testing alternatives to optimise it.

Due to its brilliant design, it has no gears or moving parts in contact, so it needs no oils nor lubricants. The device’s operation couldn’t be easier, almost plug-and-go, it barely requires maintenance and operative costs. All these features makes it perfect for private energy generation and distributed energy; put it in your yard or over your roof!

The alternator transforms mechanical energy into electricity. It counts with neodymium magnets and its stator is located inside of the mobile part of the device.

While converting mechanical energy into electricity, the alternator cushions the induced oscillation movement and simultaneously it is able to modify the natural oscillation frequency of the bladeless turbine’s structure, therefore the lock-in range is increased while maintaining the resonance frequency in higher wind speeds, we call this tuning system. Unlike regular wind turbines, this phenomenon is able to modify the apparent elasticity constant of the structure which depends on the oscillation amplitude, allowing it to grow as long as the wind speed grows.

In spite of its simplicity, 6 families of registered patents protects the design and technology worldwide. Find more in our technology page.

 

Our story, becoming a tech startup //

As every project of this kind, first steps are hard for entrepreneurs. A tech startup is even more complicated since you need to develop before manufacture, and efficiently manufacture before selling. Of course with certification, no errors from industrialisation processes, proper quality control and post-buy services. There are still many things to do and many goals to achieve before Vortex Bladeless become a full member of the Wind Industry.

Early steps

With their own resources, the project started in Deutecno in 2010, our first tech startup where we were developing electronic noses. When the Vortex’s idea was born, we built a humble wind tunnel and started testing. Our concept proof was a simple water bottle fixed to a stick, oscillating by the force of the wind. We found proof that there was an energy conversion there to take advantage of.

vortex tech startupWe realized soon all the funding we would need to launch this idea. A few months later we built a more elaborated technological demonstration which impressed the Entrepreneurs Fund’s judges of the Repsol Foundation. In the early 2014, thanks to the Neotec funds of CDTI and a group of Business Angels which are still with us, Vortex Bladeless SL tech startup is founded and the technology principles were validated in lab and real environment tests.

Reaching milestones

To catch the imagination of the scientific community and new strategic partners, in 2015 Vortex goes to Boston, USA, to introduce our idea to MIT and let the project be known worldwide, becoming trending topic in renewable energies for months.

On the other hand, NGOs and other environmental entities like Birdlife have shown great interest in this solution and they have offered their collaboration too, since Vortex may have a lower impact on nature and fauna in the case of bigger devices are built in the future.

In June 2016, the European Union’s Commission (EASME) included the Vortex project inside its Horizon 2020 programme. Since then, we have worked restlessly to optimize the technology and get it ready for the first commercial product of 2,75m high, the Vortex Tacoma, specially designed for residential usage.

Along 2017 our special collaboration with the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC), the company Altair, the Microgravity Institute of the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid, and many other tech centers, has been key to success in the different milestones we were facing; having the opportunity to contrast high level computational and experimental results before reaching a functional product.

At the moment, in 2018, we started the certification and homologation processes for manufacturing. An objetive will be to find supply agreements and a small factory so Vortex aerogenerators can be mass produced, we want to change the landscape!

 

Future of wind power tech

If solar energy is the king of renewable energies, no doubt wind energy is the queen. Vortex wind generators are more similar in features and cost-effectiveness over time to solar panels than to regular wind turbines. We have been working very hard for years. It was not easy to find out the best ingredients and the best way to cook this special recipe, although we are very close to reach our goal and dream.

Vortex’s team is working restlessly to optimise last steps and get the homologation for selling. For the milestone of efficiently mass manufacture bladeless turbines here in Spain we are planning to build a small factory, maybe crowdfunded if needed.

Meanwhile we will launch a Beta Testing where participants will be able to ex-factory purchase one of the first Vortex wind generators of the world, the Vortex Nano (1m high), a small but completely functional tech demonstration, able to feed an USB device or a Powerbank. Of course feedbacks will be collected in order to improve our final product, Vortex Tacoma, which will be sold worldwide as soon as possible.

You can keep updated about Vortex’s development in our newsletter and social channels! Thank you very much.

 

28 Comments
  • Mayur Patil
    Posted at 17:20h, 26 August Reply

    Its really awesome concept.
    I would like to implement it for my house in India.
    We have good wind throughout the year and this concept can save lot of our money.
    Let me know when its ready.
    This is hope for green and pollution free world.
    All the best and nice work.

    • Vortex Bladeless
      Posted at 13:30h, 07 September Reply

      Thank you for your kind words! We will keep people up about Vortex’s current stage on our newsletter and social channels.

  • Marcos Molineri
    Posted at 05:41h, 24 August Reply

    Hola! los felicito por el proyecto!
    Quería hacerles unas preguntas acerca del mismo, ya que estoy haciendo una investigación para la facultad sobre aerogeneradores y uno los seleccionados es este caso.
    Quería saber especificamente cuales son los factores que posibilitan llevar a cabo el proyecto?
    Cual es el contexto socio-cultural?
    Si hubo algún acontecimiento social-historico-cultural, que haya impulsado a la generación de este tipo de aerogenerador?
    Cual es la intención de diseño? si esta atravesado por alguna tendencia/estilo/movimiento de diseño?
    Ademas del puente Tacoma, si hay otros referentes con los que entable relación? (ya sea provenientes del cine, arquitectura, laboratorios, industria aeroespacial, automovilistica, etc.)

    Desde ya, Muchas gracias!!
    Espero que puedan realizar el proyecto con todo éxito

    Saludos desde Argentina.

    • Vortex Bladeless
      Posted at 13:14h, 07 September Reply

      Gracias por tus palabras Marcos, intento contestarte lo mejor posible:
      La idea le surgió al inventor, David Yáñez, al ver el puente de Tacoma Narrows oscilar. Sin embargo estos fenómenos son bien conocidos en arquitectura y aeronáutica y no somos los primeros en investigar al respecto, es el concepto de generar energía a partir de ello lo que es novedoso. En esencia el diseño ha venido condicionado tanto por la geometría necesaria para que el principio físico que los hace oscilar ocurra, como por el deseo de equipararnos a la energía solar en prestaciones y características. La intención es principalmente la de no tener partes móviles o rotatorias en contacto y reducir el mantenimiento, la dimensión y la “agresividad” del movimiento que requieren las turbinas eólicas actuales. También usar la menor cantidad de material posible reduciendo sus costes e impacto medioambiental. En cuanto al contexto, los fundadores son ingenieros que de siempre han sido emprendedores; antes de Vortex existía Deutecno, donde desarrollaban sistemas olfativos artificiales. Los factores que posibilitan llevar a cabo este proyecto son fundamentalmente económicos y de recursos; un desarrollo de investigación no produce beneficios pero sí gastos, ha sido gracias a las ayudas económicas y colaboración en investigación por parte de organizaciones, otras empresas y universidades lo que ha posibilitado que nos metiéramos en un proyecto de desarrollo tecnológico a tan gran escala.

  • paula greenough
    Posted at 07:22h, 10 August Reply

    Fantastique 🙂 is there a line for your 1metre size pre-order to australia? I truly think you will skyrocket with more people wishing to free themselves from the confines of capitolised energy generation.
    Sooo impressed.

    • Vortex Bladeless
      Posted at 13:10h, 21 August Reply

      Thank you very much! ⚡ We wanna launch those 1m high units as beta testing in the incoming months to get feedback from different environments. We will announce it soon!

  • H+ Industry
    Posted at 17:14h, 13 July Reply

    I am interested in the 1MW system i was on the site awhile back you had. That would be perfect for our project.

    • Vortex Bladeless
      Posted at 22:21h, 13 July Reply

      Although we have decided that best option for us is to start with small wind generators, we are not going to stop there at all! Bigger devices will be developed and we will try to find our spot in the wind industry ????

  • Samir Qadir
    Posted at 16:50h, 13 July Reply

    Great news! I had contributed a very small amount early on to your guys, and I hope this cool project is really successful. Just curious, will the Vortex be “tunable” for local conditions – basically to adjust the lock-in range so that it is centered around the “average” wind speed at any given location, if that makes sense? Just a thought. All the best!!

    • Vortex Bladeless
      Posted at 22:16h, 13 July Reply

      Thank you very much! We owe you and all the supporters this dream to be true soon ????️ About your question it makes lot of sense! Vortex devices are calibrated by our engineers to get best results. Happens that you can reach a wider lock-in range but reducing power, and you can reach more power but reducing lock-in range. The hard part is to find best balance in the same integrated system. When commercialisation stage we will study the possibility of different calibrations for each wind conditions 🙂

  • Cloudwalker
    Posted at 15:23h, 13 July Reply

    Anxiously awaiting for the availability of Vortex Bladeless! Would love to incorporate one into my system if it is affordable enough! Keep up the good work!

    • Vortex Bladeless
      Posted at 21:27h, 13 July Reply

      Thank you very much! ⚡ Our objetive is for Vortex turbines to be a wind power’s equivalent of solar panels, simple and affordable! We hope we can find an industrialisation process that allows an efficient production since many parts of bladeless wind generators are completely new and patented, so there aren’t many ways to mass produce them nowadays.

  • Frank J. Fedel
    Posted at 15:02h, 13 July Reply

    It’s great to see that you’re following through on this. The more opportunities we have for sensible energy management that we have, the better! Kudos to you all for seeing this through. I can’t wait until they’re available.

    • Vortex Bladeless
      Posted at 21:20h, 13 July Reply

      Thank you very much for your kind words! ???? We are excited too, to develop a completely new technology is always an uncertain journey. We have encountered and faced many problems, not just technical. Nevertheless now reaching the end and still believing this deserves a top effort!

  • Bharat Patel
    Posted at 13:52h, 13 July Reply

    Excellent
    Please let me know when you’re ready for crowd funding.
    Thanks

    • Vortex Bladeless
      Posted at 21:13h, 13 July Reply

      Thanks to you! We don’t know if crowdfunding will be needed, really depends on the way we manage the upcoming industrialisation process.

  • Xahid
    Posted at 17:23h, 11 July Reply

    What a beautiful concept. Do it guys. Bring revolution!

  • Emanuel Bertalot
    Posted at 23:07h, 10 July Reply

    Sigan adelante!!!, los apoyo desde junio del año 2015 cuando lanzaron su campaña de crowfunding en Indiegogo. Siempre creí en lo que hacen y seré uno de los primeros en comprar el modelo de Vortex que salga a la venta!!!, todo mi apoyo desde Argentina.

    • Vortex Bladeless
      Posted at 12:17h, 13 July Reply

      Muchísimas gracias! Este proyecto no habría sido posible sin el apoyo de toda la comunidad que nos ha seguido desde el principio. Nos llena de alegría saber que la gente comparte nuestra visión de una energía más verde y de hacer de este mundo un lugar un poco mejor para todos. Una vez más, gracias!

  • faisal patel
    Posted at 19:06h, 09 July Reply

    hi i m a electrical engineering student .i want do project on it.. plz help me for making vortex bledless turbine

    • Vortex Bladeless
      Posted at 12:15h, 13 July Reply

      Hello Faisal! At the moment we are not hiring nor looking for internships. But please write us on our contact form so Vortex’s human resources assistant can take your application into account for the near future. Thank you.

  • Marcelo Cachorro
    Posted at 16:56h, 09 July Reply

    Desde Argentina sigo con entusiasmo éste proyecto y espero con ansiedad poder tener unos de los primeros prototipos.
    Saludos cordiales.
    Marcelo Cachorro
    Argentina

    • Vortex Bladeless
      Posted at 12:01h, 13 July Reply

      Gracias! En los meses venideros queremos lanzar un beta testing del Vortex Nano, una demostración tecnológica completamente funcional de 1m de alto capaz de cargar un dispositivo USB o una batería tipo powerbank.

  • MerryJuicy
    Posted at 13:42h, 24 June Reply

    like it very much! keep working!

  • FGM
    Posted at 22:51h, 08 June Reply

    A cool idea which I wanna be true. Make it true guys, going on the good path

    • Vortex Bladeless
      Posted at 23:27h, 19 June Reply

      Thank you for your kind words! We are working restlessly to make this dream come true. We are planning a Beta Testing for the incoming months, keep up on our social channels! ⚡

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