by Chloe Soltis
In September 2011, Dr. Daryoush Allaei founded Sheerwind, an energy start-up focused on using wind power to generate electricity. Dr. Allaei realized that current wind turbines are obsolete in the sense that they must passively wait for wind to operate (Breunig). Dr. Allaei believes that wind’s velocity should be accelerated so that electricity can be generated from wind energy in areas that are not suitable for turbines. Therefore, he created the Invelox, a system that can both capture and accelerate wind power.
The Invelox is a large, closed system that is built in a L-shape and contains three main parts: a funnel, a tower, and a Venturi tube (Breunig). The funnel is built on the top of the tower and is used to collect the wind. The funnel can capture wind from any direction. After being captured in the funnel, the wind becomes more concentrated as it passes through the tower’s pipes and travels down to the Venturi tube, which contains multiple turbines and rests on the ground. The Venturi tube is smaller than the tower’s pipes, therefore the wind’s velocity increases when it is squeezed at the tube’s entrance. Then, the turbines in the tube can harvest energy as the wind passes through and can ultimately generate electricity.
The Invelox has many advantages over regular wind turbines. The Invelox can produce energy from wind speeds that are as low as 2 meters per second, which means that the Invelox could be used on rooftops in cities in place of power grids. Most importantly, the Invelox is bird-safe because it is a closed system and therefore can be built anywhere. Normal wind turbines kill approximately 573,000 birds every year due to their exposed blades and cannot be used in bird-rich locations as beaches and shorelines (Breunig). Sheerwind currently has five Invelox systems installed all over the world including in Iran, China, and the United States. As of January 2017, the system still needs to be tested by third parties, but Involex has great potential to increase the use of wind power as a clean energy source.
Breunig, Tom. 2016. Wind Harvesting Funnel Takes On Turbines. Cleantech Concepts. Jan 24, 2017: http://www.cleantechconcepts.com/2016/09/wind-harvesting-funnel-takes-on-turbines/.