The Wind Lens is a source of renewable energy that Japan has been working on for a few years now. Japan had planned to invest a great deal of money into adding to their nuclear power grid in the upcoming years. That was before the earthquake and tsunami of 2011. Those events cast a dark shadow over the country’s nuclear plans, after the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl.
|Japan does not have much natural fossil fuels as most are imported, so nuclear power was a natural choice for their people.||
A lot of money has been invested in the production and distribution of nuclear power, and right now it doesn’t look like those plans will be carried out.
The Japanese have always been resourceful and inventive, and they have developed the “Wind Lens”. It was the brainstorm of researchers at Kyushu University, who thought they could generate more than traditional wind power using a unique design.
The Wind Lens focuses airflow just like a lens focusing light. The circle made up of the turbine blades has a ring that curves inward, and this directs the flow of air, and accelerates the speed. The team leader states that by using an inlet shroud, diffuser and brim in the inward ring, these cause the air to be drawn in more quickly.
This means that it generates more power. The researchers have claimed that using this new wind turbine technology will allow turbines to triple their output, while even reducing the noise that the turbines cause.
The United States has been working with wind turbine technology for years, but we are plagued by the “not in my back yard” syndrome, where everyone wants cheaper power but no one will allow the turbines to be built on their land. So, wind power only accounted for a little over three percent of the US electric demand in 2010. If we could triple that amount, we would have almost ten percent of our electricity coming from wind turbines.
Since there is potential for many more wind farms and smaller wind turbine areas, the US would be on pace for wind power to boost the electrical grid by using only twenty percent of the potential we have for wind energy. You would need a much larger area than we have right now, but it’s merely an idea of how much less the United States could be dependent on foreign oil and other less efficient energy production methods.
Wind Lens Concept
Fortunately for any country that is using – or plans to use – wind turbine power, the cost is getting lower, and the new technology for wind power would allow its cost to fall below that of nuclear energy and coal production in the US, even if there are no subsidies for the companies setting up the turbines.
Wind technology will help increase the available power for the emergence of total electric cars, as well, since more of them are on the road every day. Most vehicles will be charged during overnight hours, which are off peak-hours for traditional electricity companies, and also when the winds are often strongest.
Since Japan is an island, it will be able to make full use of offshore wind farms, since that is where researchers feel the new technology will perform the best. The Wind Lens can float on platforms shaped like hexagons, and at sea will not be subject to large waves or tsunamis, since these achieve their destructive power only upon nearing a shoreline.
So, the Wind Lens holds great promise for Japan as a source of green renewable energy. The first step many times is at the university level. Next is commercialization.