Spherical wind turbine wins UK Dyson innovation award

September 06, 2018 // By Nick Flaherty
A spherical wind turbine for urban environments has won the 2018 James Dyson award for innovation for the UK.

Nicolas Orellana and Yaseen Noorani from Lancaster University won the award for the O-Wind Turbine that can work with the unpredictable and multi-directional airflows in towns and cities.

A design for a new type of power plug using an inductive connection was the runner up.

Nicolas Orellana first became interested in the challenge of multidirectional wind after studying NASA’s Mars Tumbleweed rover. Six feet in diameter, this inflatable ball was designed to autonomously bounce and roll like tumbleweed, across Mars’ surface to measure atmospheric conditions and geographical location. Like conventional wind turbines, it was powered by unidirectional wind blows which severely impaired the rover’s mobility when faced with obstructions, often throwing it off course and resulting, ultimately, in the failure of the project.

O-Wind Turbine is a 25cm sphere with geometric vents; it sits on a fixed axis and spins when wind hits it from any direction. When wind energy turns the device, gears drive a generator which converts the power of the wind into electricity. This can either be used as a direct source of power, or it can be fed into the electricity grid. The aim is for O-Wind Turbine to be installed to large structures such as the side of a building, or balcony, where wind speeds are at their highest. 

“We hope that O-Wind Turbine will improve the usability and affordability of turbines for people across the world," said Nicolas Orellana. "Cities are windy places but we are currently not harnessing this resource. Our belief is that making it easier to generate green energy, people will be encouraged to play a bigger role in conserving our planet. Winning the James Dyson Award has validated our concept, and given us the confidence to approach investors to secure the capital we need to continue turn our idea into a reality.” 

"I was captivated by the simplicity of the design, relative to the enormous ambition of competing in the renewable energy sector," said the


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