Nicolas Orellana and Yaseen Noorani have won the 2018 international Dyson Award for their O-Wind Turbine that captures multidirectional wind.
Having already taken the UK prize in September, the Lancaster University pair beat off competition from around the world to claim the overall top spot. Their spherical turbine measures just 25cm in diameter and uses geometric ports that capture wind from any direction. The O-Wind device is designed to harness the unpredictable urban wind in cities, attached to rooftops and balconies.
“We hope that O-Wind Turbine will improve the usability and affordability of turbines for people across the world,” said 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 own role in conserving our planet.
“Winning the international James Dyson Award has validated our concept. The attention we’ve received so far has been humbling and given us the confidence to see the development of this concept as a future career. Already we are in discussions with investors and we hope to secure a deal in the coming months.”
The turbine makes use of Bernoulli’s principle for its mechanical motion, relying on differences in air pressure to generate momentum. The structure is lined with vents that have large entrances and smaller exits for air. In the presence of wind, the difference between the two terminals causes the turbine to move, with vents placed all across the sphere making it receptive to wind from any angle. Although the turbine is less than a foot across, it was inspired by a much bigger device that operated under the same principle. Originally developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Mars Tumbleweed Rover was an inflatable ball with a six-foot diameter designed to track atmospheric conditions on the Red Planet.
“‘Design something that solves a problem’ is an intentionally broad brief,” said Sir James Dyson. “It invites talented, young inventors to do more than just identify real problems. It empowers them to use their ingenuity to develop inventive solutions. O-Wind Turbine does exactly that. It takes the enormous challenge of producing renewable energy and using geometry it can harness energy in places where we’ve scarcely been looking – cities. It’s an ingenious concept.”