Wind power plays an essential role in the energy transition. The taller wind turbines are, the more efficiently they work, since the wind is much steadier and blows more strongly at higher heights. So why not just build them higher? Well, such height wind turbines are not so easy to construct. At least if they are built the way they have been so far, with a generator located at the hub height of the rotor blades.
Wind power plant of the future
Horst Bendix, a 93-year-old engineer from Leipzig, shows that wind turbines can be created differently and therefore much higher. The mechanical engineer and inventor has designed a wind turbine whose generator is located at the base of the structure and is driven by a flywheel. This would allow a hub height of 250 meters for the same weight. Thus, wind turbines could be built up to 380 meters high. What is special about the technology is that it can generate about three times as much energy as comparable plants. The larger the wind turbine, the higher the yield. While there is usually only a slight breeze at ground level, high-altitude winds are much stronger.
By moving the generator, Bendix reduced the weight by about 50 percent - despite the taller design. His wind turbine is also built from different materials, making it 40 percent cheaper than conventional turbines, further cutting the cost per kilowatt-hour generated, which is already quite low for wind power in general.
Construction of prototypes to begin soon
Horst took his concept to Bundesagentur für Sprunginnovationen (Sprind) in Leipzig and was successful: two prototypes of the 380-meter-high wind turbines are to be built. To turn the high-wind turbine into reality, beventum GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of Sprind, was founded. Both are financed by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. By now, 80 million euros in loans are available.