Dutch Windwheel draws energy innovations

Dutch Windwheel draws energy innovations

The backers of the Dutch Windwheel leave few superlatives behind. The most innovative 'windmill' in the world. A showcase for clean technology. Accelerator for renewable energy. A future icon for The Netherlands and future landmark in Europe's largest port city, Rotterdam. A presence in the architectural capital of the Netherlands making the skyline even more spectacular. Superlatives may be in order for the Dutch Windwheel, an ambitious idea under the umbrella of the Dutch Windwheel Corporation, a consortium of Rotterdam based companies. The wheel makes use of EWICON (Electrostatic WInd energy CONverter) technology. In this construct, a wind turbine converts wind energy with a framework of steel tubes into electricity without moving mechanical parts. No noise. No moving shadow.

Inhabitat, covering work on the wind turbine technology back in 2013, said this was a bird-friendly wind turbine. The bladeless turbine was described as using "the movement of electrically charged water droplets to generate power. It can be installed both onshore and offshore, or mounted on a roof." The design consists of a double-ring construction with a light, open steel and glass construction. The foundation is underwater, and it looks as if the wheel is floating. Inhabitat said the two rings built on an underground foundation are surrounded by wetlands. The outer ring houses 40 rotating cabins on a rail system, while the inner ring, a windmill, houses a panorama restaurant, apartments, hotel rooms, and commercial outlets. Rainwater is captured atop the structure. Tap water is fed into the wetlands that surround the Windwheel. Biogas is produced from the residents' waste.

Beyond this wind turbine's technology features, its innovative design is also being promoted as one that will attract many people, from tourists to local visitors to potential residents. Or, as Charley Cameron said in Inhabitat, "how cool would it be to tell people you live inside of a wind turbine?"

The technology was earlier explored at Delft University of Technology. Researchers at TU Delft reported on letting the wind move charged particles against the direction of an electric field. The researchers said that "Charged particles have been created using two spraying methods, electrohydrodynamic atomisation and high pressure monodisperse spraying. Using both methods, has been converted to electric energy and delivered to an electrical load with positive efficiency." Writing in Gizmag, Jonathan Fincher in 2013 explained: "The current design consists of a steel frame holding a series of insulated tubes arranged horizontally. Each tube contains several electrodes and nozzles, which continually release positively-charged water particles into the air. As the particles are blown away, the voltage of the device changes and creates an electric field, which can be transferred to the grid for everyday use." Fincher said at the time that energy output would depend on wind speed, number of droplets, amount of charge placed on the droplets, and strength of the .

Dutch Windwheel draws energy innovations

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Researchers team up with architects to create bladeless wind electricity generator

More information: thedutchwindwheel.com/en/index

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Feb 17, 2015
Considering the large scale; won't this create a massive waste of clean water?

Feb 17, 2015
My $ says no more than 1 or 2 are ever built. If that.

Feb 17, 2015
The windiest places are often the places of high rainfall and abundant water so I think this has potential.

Feb 17, 2015
when the temperature drops to 0 C (32 F) what then?

Feb 17, 2015
Hurricanes have two things that we badly need, renewable energy and fresh water. If this device helps us harvest electric energy from a hurricane, it could be very valuable.

Feb 17, 2015
Regarding what happens when the temperature drops below freezing, I expect that since the system relies on charge being carried away on particles, it should not matter if the particle are droplets or snowflakes. Might even work better, since the snowflakes have a larger surface area and a lower density (able to carry a larger charge and the wind can blow them away more easily).
Copyright 2015 - Gary Hanson

Feb 17, 2015
A 'Kelvin Dripper' run by wind-power rather than gravity ? Neat !!

Feb 17, 2015
How much power does it put out? voltage? current? What does it ground to? A lot of missing info in that article.


Feb 18, 2015
Electric field motors are not much good. I doubt electric field generators will be either. I hope I am wrong.

Feb 18, 2015
Once again, and again the Europeans are putting us to shame with viable and renewable sources of energy. This is becoming embarrassing!! Americans we used to be known for our innovation!! We need to lose big oil as quickly as we can!!

Feb 18, 2015
The net energy generation principle is sound enough: Look at thunderclouds..
But with air as their conducting medium (for their charged outgoing water droplets) this system is likely to generate extra high voltage DC at high impedance which is difficult to utilise.
I wonder if they could make wind blown streams of 50Hz alternately +/- charged droplets without losing efficiency.
400kV Alternating output is something we know how to use on the power grid!

Feb 18, 2015
Considering the large scale; won't this create a massive waste of clean water?


Well, I don't know if you are familiar with our geography, but I can assure you that either clean, salty or unclean water is absolutely no concern here in Holland... unless it comes uninveted, in great amounts and all at the same time, of course.

Feb 18, 2015
Certainly looks good. It'll be interesting to see how it turns out. Could go either way (if it's efficient and economical): As a regular addition to highrise buildings to supplement power, or as single purpose standalone/offshore installations.

No moving parts certainly is a big advantage when it comes to maintenance.

Feb 18, 2015
Well it's basically a green building. The rest is PR hoping to create another attraction center for the tourists. The process may be positively efficient, but if used as a restaurant, household, office space, commercial center etc then it will probably consume a lot more energy than it generates. But it may be as well one of the most efficient buildings to date / square meter.

Feb 18, 2015
It's kind of hard not to be at least somewhat skeptical about something like this, without denying the obviously high degree of creativity that went into its design (and will be needed for its future construction), because there are no details given about the energy budget, or the amount of water filtered/cleaned, or biogas generated. The *potential* to do such things is not in doubt, as the science behind them has already been demonstrated at laboratory scale, but this is an engineering project, so it seems appropriate to be a bit more critical about the real-world aspects like energy efficiency and cost of operation.

Feb 18, 2015
I do not think I have ever seen an uglier, more impractical and out of place object in my entire life.

Can you imagine this monstrosity of a tourist trap looming over the beautiful Dutch countryside, interrupting the view for miles and miles??

Trust me, I will never fly there again.

Feb 19, 2015
I think the magic behind this technology is how ubiquitous it can become. These things can potentially replace railings in everyday locations harvesting what energy they can. Granted, it would be a long while before we'd ever want to replace railings and safety devices with this tech, but that's one of the additional purposes it can serve besides just being a device to harvest wind energy.

Feb 19, 2015
Considering the large scale; won't this create a massive waste of clean water?

I'm confused, wasting clean water?
Clean water in, clean water out, end result is still clean water. It doesn't magically vanish, only the electrical potential is stripped away.

Feb 20, 2015
Hmm exciting. I might better move to Europe. Their joint European innovation projects are really taking off. Now even in advanced construction. First successes like CERN, AIRBUS, ESO and ESA are now resulting in dozens of massive world leading cooperations. This should become incredible over the long run. To name a few:

-80 Billion Euro: HORIZON 2020 (Stimulating science, and tech innovations)
-11 B: EU hosted ITER Fusion reactor (first ever large Fusion demo reactor on earth)
-5 B: EU Galileo Navigation System (first ever private global navigation system)
-1,5 B: EU Human Brain Project (Worlds largest Brain research project)
-8 B: EU Copernicus/Sentinel Project (first ever global and continues all field earth monitoring satellite system)
-4 B: EU SPARC (worlds largest Robotics development program)
-1,5 B E-ELT (Worlds largest Telescope)

Just a very tiny example of things they are now creating. This building alone makes me excited about the future.

Feb 20, 2015
Trust me, I will never fly there again

Rotterdam. It's a port (one of the largest in the world). As such the city isn't exactly known for its overall beauty. If you are regularly flying to Rotterdam then, well, life sucks, I guess.

Though there are a few nice, architectural things to see. Like the Cube houses:
http://en.wikiped...rdam.jpg
So 'weird' architecture isn't exactly unknown there.

Feb 21, 2015
"Using both methods, wind energy has been converted to electric energy and delivered to an electrical load with positive efficiency."

That phrase pretty much says it all. No actual numbers just verbiage. Green "science" at it's best.

Feb 21, 2015
I'm confused, wasting clean water?
Clean water in, clean water out, end result is still clean water. It doesn't magically vanish, only the electrical potential is stripped away.


Clean water is less useful when it is evaporated in the air, where it's less than accessible.

You need to pump water up to the device, and it needs to be clean purified drinking water devoid of contaminants because the device would otherwise be silted with mineral deposits, or it would spread diseases if you used effluent or some sort of pond or river water as the source. Breathing in air containing all sorts of mold and microbes isn't healthy for you.

The problem is that clean drinking water is pumped up from underground aquifiers, and when you pump too much the aquifiers drop because not enough water percolates fast enough from above the ground, which leads to clean water shortages, and also causes sinking of the ground which is not good in a place like Holland.


Feb 23, 2015
The field not only charges the water droplet generator negatively but also the positive charges can be used to collect the droplets later. So it seems to me that the loss of water can be considerably reduced. Clean water is not essential, and it may even be possible by alternating the two electronic sides to collect the air pollutions and salt for for "recycling" in other industrial areas.

Feb 23, 2015
There is something about the promise of "Green Power" that makes people lose all sense of cost and what is possible when the laws of physics are taken into account.

Feb 24, 2015
The windwheel will use the innovative Electrostatic Wind Energy Converter (EWICON) that was developed from research conducted at Delft University. EWICON was the subject of a 2008 doctoral dissertation that concluded that the system was capable of producing energy, but with very low efficiencies -- 1.7% at best, in the researcher's experiments -- far less than the efficiency of a large wind turbine.
Delft University, where the EWICON was developed, now says this on its web site:
"In March 2013 TU Delft and its partners unveiled the EWICON. Scientific data has shown that the principle works on a small scale. However there is no evidence that this principle is suitable for use on a commercial scale. At present TU Delft is not actively involved in the further development of the EWICON."
I'm not sure of the value in demonstrating a technology that's not very pragmatic.

Feb 24, 2015
"A showcase for clean technology. Accelerator for renewable energy. ......"

Exactly how does this article give credibility to the quest for renewable energy?

Mar 28, 2015
Nice lucid dream recently, maybe from supplements on trial since my post grad at Curtin University in 2010, nicely on-topic.

Still coming to terms with it but, should be possible to craft a wind generator with NO moving parts & diverse shapes, not rely on any extra liquids & be seamlessly integrated in any & all sorts of buildings, even vehicles !

Loosely relates to my work East Malaysia 1998, pics/notes here
http://members.ii...s/Power/

Ain't the mind an interesting place, give it means & incentive, it can create thoughtful prompts at the drop of a hat :-)

Completely unlike giving uneducated anti-science drones at phys.org enough rope & they hang themselves or shot themselves in the foot so very often.

Those interested in observing/addressing un-intelligent, uneducated & feeble critical thinkers can browse these
http://sciencex.c..._Prophet
http://sciencex.c...avontuba

Their sad posts speak for themselves :-(

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