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Bladeless Wind Turbines Could Be The Future Of Green Energy

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - A new type of wind turbine could revolutionize how we power our homes while solving a lot of the issues of traditional windmills.

Spanish engineer David Yáñez, co-founder of the startup Vortex Bladeless, has designed a new oscillating turbine to shake back and fourth instead of spinning.

At first glance, it might be hard to see how it works. There aren't any blades and nothing spins. But that's the point. The slender, rocket-shaped vertical device oscillates back and forth in the breeze, gathering up the kinetic energy of the wind and transforming it into electricity.

His prototype eliminates a lot of the complaints of traditional windmills. They're quiet, smaller and operates at about 30 percent the cost of bladed wind-energy production.

Because the bladeless turbines need little maintenance or oil, Yáñez tells Reuters, "the low cost could be the elements that make this idea a useful tool for distributing energy, producing energy close to the point of consumption." That could make them especially beneficial in remote areas that need power but are hard to reach.

Another big winner could be wildlife. It's estimated current wind turbines kill more than a million birds every year.

The inspiration for his design comes from an unlikely place. As an engineering student in 2012, Yáñez watched a 1940 film of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington. Nicknamed Galloping Gertie, the bridge oscillated back and forth in a storm prior to collapsing.

Yáñez says his turbines are built to last "because of the fact it does not have elements that can be rusted by humidity or salt." He estimates that with a suitable investor, the company could get the prototype on the market in 12 to 18 months.

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