An enclosed wind turbine design that may be safer for wildlife and the public is almost ready for prime time, according to its manufacturers. FloDesign's enclosed wind turbines could also offer more efficient conversion of wind energy with turbines that are suitable for use in urban areas.
With technology borrowed from the jet engine industry, FloDesign's turbines consist of an aerodynamic sheath that channels wind energy into the turbine blades. As the blades are enclosed in the sheath, the risk of collision injuries with flying wildlife would likely be substantially reduced.
The blades' much shorter length means that blade throw incidents, like the one at the Ocotillo Wind Project that shuttered hundreds of turbines nationwide earlier this year, would be significantly reduced. And the turbines' small size relative to current huge models might mean that they'd be suitable for urban neighborhoods. That's assuming FloDesign can find some buyers.