A World War II veteran built a prototype for a quiet, bladeless wind turbine shaped like a drum designed to protect birds and bats from getting killed in it. This patented technology is called the Catching Wind Power Compressed Air Enclosed Wind Turbine, or just "awesome" for short.
Raymond Green is an 89-year-old retired engineer and welder living in Jackson, Calif., who served in World War II. Green knew that traditional wind turbines have killed birds and bats (although a number of factors that include speed can play a factor). And he was aware of opposition to wind turbines because of the noise they make. Hoping to make a safer and more viable turbine, Green began prototyping.
His Catching Wind Power turbine resembles a large drum. Weighing 45 pounds, the $550 prototype mounts the 12-inch-diameter turbine behind a 31-inch windsock and inner compression cone, internalizing a ring of blades so that they're inaccessible to birds, according to Green's site. While technically there are blades, none of them are exposed. In addition, the lighter weight could lower transport and installation costs.
The idea is that the turbine could be produced in different sizes, according to Treehugger's Derek Markham. They could range from ones for simple portable electronics recharging to massive units for wind farms. Green already patented the inner compression cone technology, and has tested it successfully on the road by attaching it to his truck.
Green actively sought a veteran-run company to help him optimize and refine the turbine. Recently he hired the New Jersey-based manufacturer Sigma Design Company, whose owner Jerry Lynch is a U.S. Navy veteran. Together they plan to bring the wind turbine to the market.
"Every bungalow on the Jersey Shore could have a personal one on their roof, if we could make it attractive enough," Lynch told the Daily Record's Mark Spivey. Admittedly, I think mounting them as-is on towers would look ugly, but paint them bright colors and even the Jersey Shore crowd might snap them up.
Photo: Raymond Green with the wind turbine he invented. Credit: Catching Wind Power