Imagine a wind turbine. What if we remove the blades?
-It will need less material, allowing us to provide electricity to more people at a lower cost while leaving a smaller environmental footprint. It won’t kill birds and it won’t make noise. Stop imagining – here comes Vortex!
Why are we crowdfunding?
With this campaign, we want to raise awareness of the technology, gain your support and show that the world is ready to go “green” fast. What we need is a critical mass of people to get past the tipping point.
Access to clean energy is a basic need, yet it seems to be a luxury that only few can afford. The technology that can change the game is already here – cheap, clean and economically viable. We have developed that technology at Vortex.
We want to get 15,000 crowdfunding backers to change the world, so we need you to join us! With your support we will reach our fundraising goal ($50,000) and will be able to create the commercial pilot for our first product, Vortex Atlantis (100 W).
Please, check out the great perks* we have prepared to express our gratitude, and join Vortex revolution by supporting us. The future of Vortex depends on you and your support.
Here are some of the great perks, to see the full range, please scroll to the bottom.
The first 100 hundred backers that donate $40 or more (i.e, get any perk starting from a t-shirt) are invited to an online debate between the founders of Vortex and third party wind energy experts. Topic of the discussion: the Vortex technology!
*We’ve received a lot of questions about why we are not pre-selling our product. The short answer is, we are not ready to deliver the product at the high quality that we know we can produce it. We will get there by going diligently through design iteration and delivering the value that our supporters deserve.
As we have been preparing for the crowdfunding campaign, something amazing happened. Our technology caught the attention of the media, and went viral. Over a course of a couple of weeks we were published in, probably, most of the major media world-wide and started receiving hundreds of emails every day. Thank you for your interest!
Vortex is a wind generator without blades. Instead of capturing energy via the rotational motion of a turbine, the Vortex takes advantage of what’s known as vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that occurs when wind breaks against a solid structure (Kármán vortex street). The Vortex structure starts to oscillate, and captures the energy that is produced.
Vortex doesn’t just eliminate the blades. We have deliberately designed it to have no parts in contact at all (no gears, linkages, etc). This way we can make Vortex cheap and easy to maintain.
Basically, we reduce the amount of raw materials used for manufacturing, which cuts the production costs and time to produce the equipment. Further, having no moving parts in contact means that there are really very few things that can break, which extends time between maintenance intervals and allows to have less down time. As a result, maintaining costs are low.
Finally, Vortex is silent, since itoscillates at a frequency that doesn’t produce audible noise (it is below 20 Hz) . It is also safer for birds that often suffer from collision with blades.
What are the benefits?
One of the main advantages of VORTEX is its dramatic low cost – it will produce energy at a 40% lower cost than a comparable wind installation. The normalized cost of energy generation ( LCOE ) for a typical onshore facility will be $ 0.035 / kWh (about 35 Euros / MWh ), including capital costs, operation and maintenance, performance, land leases, insurance and other administrative expenses.
This will put the technology at the very low range of capital intensity for such projects, it also will make it highly competitive not only against generations of alternative or renewable energy, but even compared to conventional technologies, as shown in the graph.
Breakdown of the cost savings
Cost reduction stems from reduced manufacturing costs: Vortex integrates the tower and generator into one structure, requiring less moving parts and less material to produce the same amount of electricity. Is also eliminates the nacelle, the support mechanisms and the blades that are the priciest components in a conventional wind generator. Manufacturing savings are roughly estimated at around 53 % of the usual wind turbine production cost. The manufacturing, transportation, construction and assembly will be also simplified and are typical for the wind industry.
The design completely eliminates mechanical elements that can suffer wear and tear from friction, leading to an estimated 80 % reduction in maintenance costs. We achieve this because there’s no need to change any mechanical parts or add oil to the structure during it’s life cycle.
Of course, it won’t be immune to fatigue. The wind can cause twisting and displacement of the structure, primarily in the elastic rod, especially in the lower section that has to withstand greater forces. However, studies carried out by the company confirm that, the stress on the rod is far from the working limit of the materials, i.e. carbon fiber. Computational modeling estimates operational lifetime of the installation to be between 32 and 96 years .
The radius of oscillation is equal to the diameter of the installation at its top end (also its widest part). Vortex needs to be higher to sweep the same area. It can capture about 40% of the wind power contained in the air, the theoretical maximum you can achieve is 59% (the Betz’s law).
We can put more Vortex in the same area at a lower cost and produce more electricity. The cost and density of installation compensates for a lower efficiency of energy conversion (30% less).
Within the next 12 months we will have the first products for small-scale and residential use. The 100 W and 4 kW Vortex’ work for private homes in developing countries, or small constructions like radio antennas. It can also work both connected to the grid or off-grid. Moreover, this Vortex would work perfectly in combination with solar panels. The final step is to build our dream 1 MW Vortex by 2018.
How does Vortex work?
Vortex is a fairly simple structure with 5 main parts: foundation, rod, generation system, tuning system, mast.
The Origin of Vortex Bladeless
One day, David Yáñez questioned the way the wind energy is generated. He found another promising way to generate energy from wind. The idea was born.
Months later, David shared his idea with his business partner Raúl Martín, and he became the first person to believe in the idea. The dream was born.
But the dream team wasn’t complete. This happened when David Suriol joined the team. There was, probably, a 3% chance of success, but we believed in it and went to work! The project was born.
It all started back in 2002, when David first saw a video of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge swaying and oscillating in wind. The structure got caught up in aeroelastic coupling and collapsed under influence of the wind. This disaster is still a topic among engineers and scientists discussing the aeroelastic flutter and continues to motivate their research.
In 2011, we started working on the idea more seriously, and went for a very memorable meeting with an engineering firm in Spain to discuss the idea. Result? They told us – it would never oscillate! Luckily, instead of giving up, we built a wind tunnel and determined to demonstrate that it worked.
In 2012, Vortex got a substantial grant to develop the technology, and we never looked back. Today we have finalized wind tunnel tests, the deep R&D is done, and we have a working prototype!
In 2014, we started the first field test in Gotarrendura (Avila, Spain). We are continuously improving our prototype based on the data we collected from the field test. We are very close to finalizing a commercial pilot and we need your help to get us there.
Today, we have a multiple patents of our technology. In April 2015 Vortex has relocated to Boston to take advantage of the nourishing cleantech innovation ecosystem. We have formed an American Advisory Board with representatives from Harvard University (Chan School of Public Health), IDEO, TerraForm Power (SunEdison Group) and Dat Venture.
How do we know it is our time?
How many times we have asked ourselves this question… We know that with Vortex we felt our time has come to change the world. Today, many people are working on this ambitious project, and bringing us closer to our goal every day. Investors, institutions, ecologist groups, engineers, student, homeowners… With Vortex, we all feel that the right time has come.
Join us in this adventure, we need you!
Thank you very much,
David, Raul and David