Is it possible to make wind energy without a wind turbine? Thousands of years of spinning blades have taught us to think only one way in terms of harvesting the power of the wind, but could there be another?
Basing their design on the physics of thunderstorms, Accio Energy, of Ann Arbor, Michigan, (named for a spell frequently cast by characters in the Harry Potter books) has a “flat panel” wind generator design, that, like a solar panel, could be produced as modules, and deployed in arrays that could be as big, or as small, as the task and the site demand. The so-called “Aerovoltaic” technology harvests energy by using the wind to move electrically charged particles against a voltage gradient. The panels would be designed to create double the amount of power a solar module of the same size would create.
Inventor David Carmein based the technology on a flash of insight, that he has since learned was not completely new. The idea was proven back in the 1960s, but never brought to market due to cost reasons, and the patent expired.
Accio Energy's website states
A wind technology that requires no moving parts, will easily scale from small communities up to the largest offshore wind farm, and will offer all of these benefits at utility competitive costs. Accio Energy's Aerovoltaic wind energy systems: A new direction in wind energy.
For over 700 years, people have captured the energy of wind in only one way: by going around in circles. So, popular opinion has concluded that there are no new wind technology options. Yet, frustration with legacy wind technology is high including maintenance concerns, siting concerns, the high cost of all but the largest turbines, wildlife endangerment, energy loss through remote grid transmission, and inherent manufacturing inefficiencies. The market opportunity for a truly new improved technology is huge. Accio Energy created Aerovoltaic wind technology to provide a better distributed wind energy solution.
Aerovoltaic technology is an approach to wind energy that does not rely on electromagnetic effects to produce electricity from the wind's kinetic energy, just as photovoltaic cells exploit photoelectric effects rather than electromagnetic principles. Aerovoltaic technology harvests energy by using the wind to move electrically charged particles against a voltage gradient. The electricity generated is fed directly to the grid or stored locally to provide energy on demand.
Our work is supported with funding from the US National Science Foundation, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and Michigan Public Service Commission.
Hopefully, this company comes through with some innovative and technological breakthroughs in its research. It seems to me that Wind and Solar power are the end game when it comes to renewable energy.