Source: Fast Company
Wind turbines keep getting bigger: Each blade can be longer than a football field, and one offshore turbine recently installed in China is as tall as a 50-story building. Making the base to hold up a standard turbine can take 40 truckloads of concrete.
The scale makes the technology expensive to build and maintain. But a startup called Airloom is shrinking the size and cost of wind power by fundamentally rethinking the design.
In a field near the small town of Pine Bluffs, Wyoming, a prototype shows how the new tech works. Instead of three large blades on a single tower, 82-foot-high poles hold up a track with 33-foot-long “wings” that are attached vertically. As the wind blows, the wings travel around the track and generate power. “Instead of flying in a circle, that blade is flying across the track and generating a mechanical force just like the blade of wind turbine turns a gearbox in the center,” says Neal Rickner, who recently joined the company as CEO.