Cleveland Professor’s Groovy Wind Towers Could Bring Wind Power to Cities

January 17th, 2009 by Eric Lane Leave a reply »

Deployment of wind power is hampered by the difficulties of transfering energy from the rural areas where wind farms typically operate to the densely populated areas that need the energy. 

Dr. Majid Rashidi, a mechanical engineering professor at Cleveland State University, has designed wind towers that can be mounted on top of city buildings to allow electricity to be generated in large population centers.

Dr. Rashidi has at least two pending patent applications covering his technology.  One of his designs is a helical tower with spiraling grooves, described in U.S. Patent Application Pub. No. 2008/0279690 (‘690 application).

The wind tower of the ‘690 application has a helical structure (110) and a spiraling groove (120) defined by adjacent spiraling threads (119, 121).  The groove and threads extend around the longitudinal axis (140) of the helical structure’s central core (320).

  rashidi_fig1.JPG

In one embodiment of the invention, the helical structure is about 130 feet tall and about 30 feet in diameter.  Turbines (130) having blades with 6-10 foot propeller diameter are positioned at least partially within the spiraling groove (120) of the helical structure (110).

U.S. Patent Application Pub. No. 2009/0015017 (‘017 application) just published last week (U.S. patent applications typically are published 18 months after their filing date).  The ‘017 application is directed to a wind power system that deflects wind into two separate flow paths.

The wind deflector (20) has a cylindrical shape to optimize its acceleration effects on air flow.  It includes an interior deflector frame (25) surrounded by a cylindrical shell (24).  The wind deflector (20) has a top spindle (28) fixed to the frame (25) and bottom spindle (27).

rashidi_fig2.JPG

Top and bottom cross members (41 and 45) can be rotated with respect to spindles (27 and 28) to position the turbines (30) into the wind.  A drive shaft (35) and a mounting frame (40) also rotate to optimize the turbines’ positions to face the prevailing wind.

Each drive shaft is coupled to a generator (38), and wires (56) carry the electrical power from the generators through an exit connection (59) and on to the city building that needs power.

According to this Ecogeek article, Dr. Rashidi’s towers won’t replace wind turbines, but can complement them to provide onsite power to buildings in large population centers.

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