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November 26, 2007

THE MAGLEV: The Super-powered Magnetic Wind Turbine

by Mahesh Basantani

Maglev, wind turbine, chinese wind power, wind power, wind turbine china, big wind turbine, magnetic levitation wind turbine, magnetic wind power, levitation wind power

Renewable energy produced from the wind has garnered much attention and support in recent years but is often criticized for its low output and lack of reliability. But now a super power wind turbine has come along that may be just what the renewable energy industry needs. The MagLev wind turbine, which was first unveiled at the Wind Power Asia exhibition in Beijing, is expected take wind power technology to the next level with magnetic levitation.


Maglev, wind turbine, chinese wind power, wind power, wind turbine china, big wind turbine, magnetic levitation wind turbine, magnetic wind power, levitation wind power

Magnetic levitation is an extremely efficient system for wind energy. Here’s how it works: the vertically oriented blades of the wind turbine are suspended in the air above the base of the machine, replacing the need for ball bearings. The turbine uses “full-permanent” magnets, not electromagnets — therefore, it does not require electricty to run. The full-permanent magnet system employs neodymium (”rare earth”) magnets and there is no energy loss through friction. This also helps reduce maintenance costs and increases the lifespan of the generator.

Maglev wind turbines have several advantages over conventional wind turbines. For instance, they’re able to use winds with starting speeds as low as 1.5 meters per second (m/s). Also, they could operate in winds exceeding 40 m/s. Currently, the largest conventional wind turbines in the world produce only five megawatts of power. However, one large maglev wind turbine could generate one gigawatt of clean power, enough to supply energy to 750,000 homes. It would also increase generation capacity by 20% over conventional wind turbines and decrease operational costs by 50%. If that isn’t enough, the maglev wind turbines will be operational for about 500 years!

Construction began on the world’s largest production site for maglev wind turbines in central China on November 5, 2007. Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Technology has invested 400 million yuan in building this facility, which will produce maglev wind turbines with capacities ranging from 400 to 5,000 Watts. In the US, Arizona-based MagLev Wind Turbine Technologies will be manufacturing these turbines. Headed by long-time renewable energy researcher Ed Mazur, the company claims that it will be able to deliver clean power for less than one cent per kilowatt hour with this new technology. It also points out that building a single giant maglev wind turbine would reduce construction and maintenance costs and require much less land than hundreds of conventional turbines. The estimated cost of building this colossal structure is $53 million.

+ Maglev Wind Turbine

Treehugger MagLev WindTurbine Image

GE - Imagination at work

118 Responses to “THE MAGLEV: The Super-powered Magnetic Wind Turbine”

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Andrew M Says:

This is a great post. I love reading about technologies that we actually have, rather than things some company plans to invent some day. $53 million seams a little low however… oh well. Its a steal at quadrupole the price!

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Jason Says:

I love the information being shared on your web site. Please continue to inform the world about new energy.

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[...] is expected take wind power technology to the next level with magnetic levitation." More: Inhabitat THE MAGLEV: The Super-powered Magnetic Wind Turbine _________ Go slow, let it grow. Promote! Create reef videos and add them to 3reef! Join the [...]

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Vandelay Says:

Really blends into that landscape nicely ; )

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I’m really no expert, but this looks pretty deliverable (well it must be if they’re about to build one!)… If all goes well with the first one there’ll hopefully be a few of these built, not least here in the UK - we’ve got the majority of Europe’s potential for wind generation so this could be a real possibility. Great to see!

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holdfast Says:

I am a huge envirotech-skeptic, and frankly have been pretty dismissive of current-gen wind turbines - they are loud, bird-pureeing eyesores - and worst of all, they are uneconomic. All that said, if this article is only 20% correct, then this is a huge advance. Good to see that China and the US are getting in on the ground floor. Both countries really need the clean energy. Frankly US and China are the most important energy consumers - both use a hell of a lot of coal (’cause they have it and it is cheap - unfortuntely is is dirty, especially in China), both import a lot of oil, and these imports increase every year, both have dynamic growing economies (China a lot more so, but they have a lot further to go), and, perhaps uniquely in the world today, both have the means AND the will to fight for energy sources, if necessary. The last is perhaps the key point - and it is entirely rational - but much better that they don’t have to.

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Kevin Says:

Oh great, so now we’re going to get our cheap energy from China, too. Hello, why doesn’t the US just spent a measly $1B for like 20 of these??

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Jan Says:

Sounds great. What are the disadvantages and how will the NIMBYs attack it?

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[...] 26th, 2007 Misschien best nog even wachten vooraleer je een windmolentje of 10 in je tuin zet. De Maglev-turbine kan volgens de ontwerpers aanzienlijk meer energie opwekken. Zowel China als de VS werken in [...]

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Jacob Says:

Interesting product, but you should probably fix the typo stating the turbine currently in development in China will product “400 to 5,000 watts”, think you mean MW.

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[...] Mais informações em: inhabitat [...]

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[...] Forrás: inhabitat - THE MAGLEV: The Super-powered Magnetic Wind Turbine [...]

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[...] you see in the distance is a mockup of the Maglev Wind Turbine that is reportedly 1000x more efficient than a standard [...]

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Dave Says:

This design doesn’t look very efficient, as only half the blades will be driven at any given time.

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Hyponx Says:

The idea behind efficiency on a wind turbine is based largely on surface area.

this design allows the system to employ large amounts of surface area from several massive fins simultaneously while conserving a lot of space since the system is circular. the above comment isnt exactly true because the traditional vertical turbine causes friction on the actual mounting when its weight is increased limiting its maximum size while this system must be horizontal (inherently for the magnetic system to be effective) but can be scaled very easily to increased sizes (virtually limitless)

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Hyponx Says:

It could also perhaps be noted that even if only half of the blades are driven at time the combined surface area of half of these blades is still much greater then the surface area of all of the fins on a traditional turbine occupying the same amount of space

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what if Says:

What if the blades were then covered with solar panels

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[...] to massive sizes, and the ability to generate power with winds as slow as three miles per hour.read more | digg [...]

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[...] The folks at inhabitat.com get excited about almost anything that is Green Tech and this is no different. They have an article on a wind turbine that uses rare earth magnets instead of electromagnets to float a large upright turbine in the air. The claims are breathtaking. Check it out. [...]

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David Says:

This concept is nothing new and has been hashed and rehashed numerous times. They are more appropriately called vertical axis wind turbine or (VAWT). Almost all have failed because the amount of energy from the wind at ground level is almost negligible! Why do you think they have 200ft+ towers for the “regular” wind turbines? Furthermore I highly doubt they are able to overcome the forces that will be at play by using magnets to keep the blade mounting system from touching the base. How will it be able to apply the proper force to keep it “level” when the wind blows 30mph from the east so it will want to tilt to the west then all of a sudden stops? It will require a pretty complicated system to combat that along with an awful lot of electricity to counter-act those forces. Until you can actually purchase one this is still a “vaporware” product.. The RE field is full of pre-announced products that never make it to the end-consumer.

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Norton Says:

….”tis an ill wind that blows no mind”

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[...] The MagLev Wind Turbine relies on magnets to suspend the turbine reducing friction.  Its design and technology allow the wind turbine to produce more power and take up less space.  Estimated cost for the strucure is $53 Million. [...]

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amanda Says:

wow!!! i have been kicking this idea around forever… well, actually two different ideas, magnetic driven engines, and wind sources. think about making this thing on a smaller scale and putting it somewhere that has lots of constant winds, like perhaps a highway

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amanda Says:

or perhaps an airport

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russ Says:

It does look like a bit of a blot on the landscape but if it’s as cheap as it says then tit could be just what we need.

I wonder how noisy it would be.

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TimTemple Says:

Neodymium magnets are a natural resource. They are most commonly found in China but is far from an inexhaustible source. That is why this design of windmill is most likely to be built in China and not the USA, not forgetting the Bush administration of course…

While mentioning USA and China as high energy users don’t forget far and away the second highest populated nation India that is also big on manufacture dwarfing the USA.

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BENJAMIN Says:

When will you geniuses that repeat the tired mantra of ‘loud, bird-killing’ turbines just go see for yourselves that you have NO idea what you’re talking about? Why don’t you form your own legitimate opinion rather than be spoon-fed tired vomit from others? Do you have the capacity to think for yourself at all?

Have you ever stood underneath a turbine? NO…b/c they are quieter than the wind it takes to power them….
How many dead birds have you actually seen? I’ve been in wind for 3+ years and have seen ZERO dead birds…

GET A LIFE

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Why not make them smaller and lie them on their sides in tunnels (Like the London Underground) Plenty of wind down there! Maybe it could make enough power to run the whole Underground system? Just a thought!

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Anonymous Says:

“400 to 5,000 watts”
that’s rather low… :)

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Peter Says:

There is a problem for this concept

If you would single rotor blades from the bottem to the top then the windspeeds are not the same at the bottom and at the top. For a windmill it wouldn’t be a problem their rotor is only a few metres.
But if you have rotors higher then a mountain. One should realy investigate different rotors

Or perhaps multiple rotors at diferent altitudes

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[...] one of these long-lasting giants can power 750,000 homes!  Check out Inhabitat for the full story here. Digg this article    Post to reddit    Hugg this article Add to [...]

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Vinay Says:

A very good concept at construction Stages.

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Reid Says:

Um, how well does it deal with snow and ice?

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[...] to massive sizes, and the ability to generate power with winds as slow as three miles per hour.read more | digg [...]

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[...] at Inhabitat has put together a very interesting article on a Gigawatt Magnetic Levitation Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (try saying that five times fast). Renewable energy produced from the wind has garnered much [...]

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Deployment will be difficult. Proposed sites must ensure that the turbine does not spoil the view from the mansion of any prominent environmentalist.

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If there is no speed differential of the wind from one side of the turbine to the other, this huge monster won’t rotate a bit. It will just oscillate. Is that how it generates energy? Regular wind turbines seem to have a more efficient shape…

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chas Says:

I have used a good many wind turbines and they ARE very noisy.

The article mentions generators up to 5000 watts. You have to believe them. They have a small model that can only do a minor amount of power.

They are doing this pie in the sky scale-up the technology hype.

Anybody that says any technology will still be operational in 500 years is just about to put their hand in your pocket. Surprised they are not coupling this with come kind of over unity hydrogen via water scam too.

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monkey Says:

Vertical turbines are not effective. You have to consider the gradient of energy density as a funciton of altitude. This is someone trying to attract investors.

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Angus Says:

Sorry but this sort of thing just makes me laugh. Where should I start…
Normal wind turbines are 20-40% efficient in normal use, a so much more efficient wind generator would be pretty much impossible. Note they say that the max they will actually be building is 5kw … now where is that mile wide gigawatt generator they talk about? :)
To be honest bearing losses are generally negligible in wind turbines, they only take up a very small fraction of power, while adding a small amount of efficiency ‘maglev’ bearings will not be worth the effort.
It’s a VAWT. They are inherently unstable going through torque pulsations on every cycle of it, they are really only to be seen as experimental. And look at the bloody airfoils on that and think how much power they’re gonna lose…!
So, until I see any hint of anything real, a glint of glass in a haystack of BS - I will cry out loud
VAPOURWARE

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ryan Says:

I made a vawt similar to this for testing purposes (minus the levitation, much smaller and lacking the inner cylinder). A regular cylinder shape worked much better than the conical version.

“It’s a VAWT. They are inherently unstable going through torque pulsations on every cycle of it, they are really only to be seen as experimental. And look at the bloody airfoils on that and think how much power they’re gonna lose…!” - Angus

This style vawt doesn’t suffer as much from torque pulses. The higher blade count gives you more, smaller, pulses. The blades are not airfoils like you’re used to thinking of them. This is not a lift machine - at least not as depicted - it works similar to a Savonius, not like a Darrieus.

The claims are pretty out there though, I’ll give you that. That said, if they achieve 1/10th of the claim, this could replace 100 conventional turbines. The last time I checked prices on the big commercial turbines they cost $1.2-2m installed. That would make this design (if they stay on-budget) twice as efficient where it really counts…dollars spent for watts produced.

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Angus Says:

‘This style vawt doesn’t suffer as much from torque pulses. The higher blade count gives you more, smaller, pulses.’
Yes but the large number of blades also creates a lot of drag-non-efficient. What really gets me is the claim of a 1GW turbine - even a 2000ft wide generator would ‘only’ make 68 MW …
Just another ‘investor scheme’ throwing out buzz-words…
JMHO - YMMV

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shaun Says:

sounds too good to be true. you all must know what they say about things that sound too good to be true.

the reason that all commercially successful wind turbines to date look basically the same is because this is the most efficient design. you can only slow the wind down so much for optimal extraction of energy. if you take out too much energy, the wind becomes too slow and prevents other wind from reaching your turbine at full speed.

so, the question becomes “what device can take the right amount of energy out of the most wind for the least cost”

which becomes “what device can intercept the most wind for the least cost”

and, in 1975, an international conference found that the type of turbine in use today is the best answer:

http://www.ifb.uni-stuttgart.de/~doerner/HAWT-VAWT.html

there may be niche markets for other designs, but this design appears to be a hoax, magnetic bearings and all.

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Benjamin Says:

BENJAMIN,

Thank God for your common sense. It’s difficult to read the looters with the “can’t do” attitudes droning on and on.

-Benjamin

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Pieter Says:

I a agree with Ryan that the picture suggests that the turbine seems to be a very large Darrieus design. This design works on the drag principal and will have at most half of the aero dynamical efficiency of a conventional wind turbine which works on the lift principle. Using maglev technology reduces the energy loss due to friction of the axis. However, this is a relatively insignificant loss. I am surprised that no experts are consulted before publishing such extreme claims by unknown companies.

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Wont Work Says:

Incredibly stupid idea. 100 acres ???? for one turbine???

What happens when it needs maintenance? Just tell everyone to turn off their lights?

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mel Says:

the should pictures on the blades, so that it looks like there is always a drive in movie playing.

I am going to try to make a small one for my land, been wanting to build a wind powered
generator.

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tony Says:

Ryan is missing some points. The conical shape is required because of the great height. The wind speed averages higher near the top than the bottom - ever gone up to the top of a skyscraper? Torque pulses smooth out as the mass of the rotor increases - the flywheel effect - as long as you can avoid resonent frequencies at the wind speeds it will encounter.

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Nice article.
I find it rather difficult to beleave that this maglev turbine is posssible, before I see some real working concepts.

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DanB Says:

To the people who’ve replied (some of them)…
wind turbines are pretty quiet.
Place properly they don’t kill birds. (all tall man made things - towers - buildings - ect) kill a few…
Cats kill gobs of birds.
This is a pipe dream/scam - an inefficient design and all the mag lev stuff is designed to get people who don’t know much better excited. It’s all about marketing a product that will neither work very well - or likely even exist.

We need renewable energy - lets educate ourselves and spend our resources on stuff that works. I think these people are con artists.

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Rhys Says:

Now how to store the energy for later? The first thing I thought when I looked at this was oh, what a great place to put a water tower. You could have a large water tower beside it or above it and pump water up during low demand and us hydro power during low demand.

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Crafty Says:

These figures look impressive. But what we need to look at is reserve energy. a reserve needs to be in place. it’s easy to claim 750 thousand homes, What if the wind is not active for 4 or 5 hours? You need to use less than what it can generate in order to build up a reserve of energy.

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Kelly Says:

BENJAMIN seems very angry with comments reflecting concern with bird kills generated by wind farms, asserting that his personal experience of 3+ years with wind farms establishes that there are no bird kills at wind farms. He shouts that people who believe to the contrary are dupes, repeating falsehoods promulgated by unnamed ‘others’ and that, incongruously, these dupes should “get a life”. ???

Benjamin, with his “3+ years experience” with wind farms, is right that the problem can be exaggerated but he is quite wrong in asserting that wind turbine bird kills is zero.

According to the California Energy Commission, the Altamont Pass wind farm w/5,000 turbines (providing clean electrical power to 1,200 homes) kills approximately 1,700-4,700 birds annually, including ~880 to 1,300 Federally protected raptors each year, among them: burrowing owls, red-tailed hawks, falcons, and golden eagles. That birds collide with invisible turbine blades spinning 200′ in the air, should surprise no one. Current annual estimates for turbine related bird kills in the US are in the range of 30,000-60,000, this with wind power accounting for less than 1% of US energy needs. Bird kill numbers can be expected to accelerate rapidly as wind farm deployment dramatically increases over the next 20 years.

Advocates of wind energy and the wind energy industry itself acknowledge the problem and have put forward various plans to mitigate bird deaths, including idling turbines during the winter months; relocating or dismantling the turbines responsible for the greatest number of kills; and greatly reducing the number of turbines, while maintaining capacity, with the introduction of new, high-efficiency units, a process known as “repowering”. In the specific case of Altamont Pass where cattle roam freely among many of the the towers, cow turds at the base of the towers attract critters that in turn attract raptors which in turn fly into the turbine blades. Part of the solution is to keep cattle well away from the base of the towers so that this “attractive nuisance” critter population attracts the raptors far from the towers.

I have worked with utility companies constructing wind farms and I’m an advocate of wind power as part of the mix of newer, cleaner, sustainable energy sources. I am also an advocate of finding solutions to the shortcomings of these energy sources and that includes taking aggressive action to mitigate the unnecessary deaths of these birds. We cannot eliminate all bird kills by wind turbines but cooperative engagement with aviary experts, US Fish and Game, environmental groups, and careful planning can reduce the needless killing of birds by over 50% and that is well worth doing.

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WOW - That’s all I can say. It looks like something out of a sci-fi movie, but 100 Acres vs 64,000, surely, that’s a no brainer then? Clean renewable energy, good output, the right price and we’d only need to stick a couple hundred of these up to power the entire UK!!

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Sorry DanB but Maglev does work!! You say “lets educate ourselves and spend our resources on stuff that works”
Well if everyone thought like that, our motorways would be full of people pushing wheelbarrows! They worked!

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Jim M Says:

One thing this article dose not mention is the fact that conventional power plants have multiple turbines with out put of around 500 MEGA watts. Each having a generator attached to the Turbine (driver). Also these units are scheduled for shut down about once a year for maintenance; some one posed the question of what happens when this one needs maintenance? Well I guess your 75,000 homes go black, or you rely on the grid system that is being supplied by other conventional plants. The only use that this type of generation is good for is what is called a “peaker” to use in tandem with power plants for times where energy demand is excessive. Mag lev wind generation could only be used to curb use of conventional methods. Not replace them. Instead of dreams of massive inefficient eye sores. Spend the money to improve or build atomic plants, they are much safer, cleaner and cheaper than the public thinks.

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[...] Here is what appears to be a very promising variant in efforts to harness the wind for electricity. [...]

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wallace Says:

A point that everyone misses is that, unlike conventional power systems, these giants need to be necessarily exposed to the open air. Anyone who has had to clean house can imagine the quantities of muck that will be picked up in a normal working day at a wind farm. The self-cleaning / self-healing technology is not yet economic enough to make the maintenance costs manageable.

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[...] than participate in its governance.Futuristic green technology that will save us all of the day: A maglev turbine - The answer to my first objection: “The turbine uses ‘full-permanent’ magnets, not electromagnets [...]

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Uh, pardon me for asking what will appear to be a stupid question, but…if the entire rotor is maglevitated…how does it transfer motion to the generator shaft? If I’m reading this correctly, not only do the magnets have to support the entire rotor structure, they also have to support the generator shaft, and on top of that, there has to be some sort of mechanism for ensuring that the brushes on the shaft stay in pretty much the right location relative to the magnets in the generator housing itself.

Or are they drawing power off of the levitation magnets themselve by making the turbine the brushes? Or something else that I haven’t thought of?

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Actually, I have other questions. Even if we imagine some kind of fantastical mechanical linkage for the generator shaft, has anyone sat down to determine exactly what kind of magnetic field it takes to levitate what is obviously a multi-megaton structure? What kind of engineering will it take to make a permanent magnet set at that scale, and how will you keep them from sticking together during construction? Will they have to be delivered on ceramic trucks? Can human beings even survive exposure to magnetic fields that powerful?

I’m with Angus. There are serious questions that aren’t being answered by the glossy brochures and glib PR-speak that goes with this.

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This sounds way too good. If this is true, then we can take emissions to 0 by 2015 globally. However, I too am a bit curious. Do they have a website with details? What company is doing this? When we get better information disclosed, we can make better arguments. For now, we can’t base this on any reference.

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jack Says:

Whether this does what it says will be decided by the marketplace. It can’t be foisted on an unsuspecting public financially. The stated cost is equivalent to about 26 MW of wind turbines. So if it does what is claimed, it will indeed by very cheap energy. Reduction of maintenance cost and infrastructure costs helps the cash flow model a lot, too. This will go to project financing with large parties including utilities involved, who will have a lot of due diligence requirements due to their involvement in the evolution of the wind industry. Lots of pioneers got lots of arrows back then, including banks and insurers currently participating in a more mature industry. But it did jump start the industry, need it or not.

I don’t understand how it is going to get that much energy out of that much airspace. Turbines take energy out of the wind that passes by, so increasing the offtake from the wind in a relatively small area by such a huge factor makes me wonder. That will certainly be a key factor in all this.

Because the wind blows when it wants to, these will not be dispatchable devices and will require a large capacity electric grid to sell into. China is a good place, no doubt. That is a lot of power to dispatch from the rest of the generation. And it may ramp up and down in large doses and make grid control interesting. On second thought, only large utilities will be able to play with this thing at first, if ever. It’s too big to go merchant.

Turbines are indeed loud. Enough to be a bother if you don’t like that sort of thing. But unless they are in the Altamont flyway, they don’t kill a lot of air traffic.

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AJ Says:

Lots of tall claims, and very little technical details….call me skeptical on this.

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[...] Atomics, ca prototip. Într-o notiţă alăturată, un cititor anonim recomandă o propunere de turbină maglev propulsată de vânt, afirmând că promite înlocuirea a 1000 de turbine convenţionale. [...]

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Wolf Says:

I didn’t realise it was April 1st …

This is complete and utter nonsense. So what if the bearing losses are a bit lower and the turbine turns in lighter winds, but the real gains will be pretty insignificant.

Betz’ law states that the maximum theoretical efficiency of a wind turbine is 59%. Modern turbines are already pretty damn efficient so the best one could hope for is a few percentage point improvement.

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Jake Says:

Could someone provide any verification that a technology like this is actually being installed? I can’t find any proof. Any pictures? Articles that state that a turbine has actually been built and hooked up to the grid?

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Wolf Says:

Has anybody thought about the sheer size of 1 GW turbine ?

Based on the claimed 20% efficacy improvement over conventional technologies I have estimated a height of about 1.6km or 1 mile might be required. It would easily be the largest moving object ever created !!!

Now that sounds interesting … no wonder the Chinese are keen to buy into mining companies !

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Project like this will change the way of producing energy. I am delighted that such a brilliant invention can be manufactured. Well done.
Nick

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Tom Says:

I do not see where magnetic levitation has any significant advantage. It just seems like a gimmick to me. Rolling contact bearings also have negligible friction, as do hydrostatic and hydrodynamic bearings. Passive magnetic levitation results in a “springy” bearing. Active magnetic levitation can be nearly as rigid as mechanical bearings but uses some energy to do so.

If there is any advantage to this device it must be in its size. Smaller vertical turbines have been around for 40 years or more.

As with all wind turbines and solar panels and the like, what do you do when there is no wind or sun? There must be an energy reservoir somewhere in the system. This could be a pair of lakes where the water is pumped back and forth, a peaking power plant, or some other energy reservoir. The free lunch is hard to find here.

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Dana Says:

As far as a reservoir for energy while a turbine is idle from no wind,there has been some studies and speculation that hydrogen can be produced during energy production and used to power the generator during no wind.

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Zed Says:

Kelly writes:

“I have worked with utility companies constructing wind farms and I’m an advocate of wind power as part of the mix of newer, cleaner, sustainable energy sources. I am also an advocate of finding solutions to the shortcomings of these energy sources and that includes taking aggressive action to mitigate the unnecessary deaths of these birds. We cannot eliminate all bird kills by wind turbines but cooperative engagement with aviary experts, US Fish and Game, environmental groups, and careful planning can reduce the needless killing of birds by over 50% and that is well worth doing.”

I’m not sure where you are coming from, but you are citing old statistics on an ancient wind farm. Data on more modern wind turbines show dramatically fewer bird fatalities.

Of a percent of all human caused bird deaths, from Ericson, et al, 2002, Summary of Anthropogenic Causes of Bird Mortality., the results are:

55% buildings/windows
10% cats
10% other
8% power lines
7% cars and trucks
7% pesticides
2.5% towers
0.01% wind turbines

We could increase the number of wind turbines by fifty times, and still it account for under 1% of anthropogenic bird fatalities.

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Fantastic to know research is actually being developed. The Epcot Center in Disney world has a smaller design in the square at the entrance with a similar type of wind catching design. It seems there is so much research, research, research but production never gets to become a reality. There are many ways already known that we can use to save our world and break our addiction to any fossil fuels (oil, coal, or natural gas). They are becoming all too expensive to afford anyway not to even consider the damage caused in supporting their production. Great article for a step in the right direction.

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Mike Says:

And when the wind isn’t blowing you will back it up with what power source…

I’m guessing it would be coal. Ridiculous.

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Zed Says:

Mike writes:

“And when the wind isn’t blowing you will back it up with what power source… I’m guessing it would be coal. Ridiculous.”

So what do you propose that isn’t “ridiculous”?

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This is truley amazing!

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Dirk Says:

And when the wind isnt blowing………..

Why not use wind power to create hydrogen, store and burn it as and when required in a gas powered electricity generating station?

Storing it might be fun though…

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Mike Says:

Not building it at all is not “ridiculous”…

An ‘always on’ non-poluting, renewable energy source is what is needed. The US has invested heavily in space technologies and it is time to collect on those investments: Space Based Solar Power Satelites.

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Hmmm,

there seem to be a lot of people here with false ideas about a lot of things, engineering wise and electrical systems wise.

First assumption, that they will only build one of these things. As with coal and other base load generators, there would be lots of these all over Australia. In Oz we use around 35GW continuously on average, so there would have to be a lot of these machines, even at 1GW output per unit. Of course, these machine would be distributed widely across the country so that there was always a certain percentage of them running at rated output. In short, have enough turbines, distributed widely enough, and they are certainly baseload capable.

Secondly, it doesn’t matter if these are maglev or more conventional bearings, there is nothing there that hasn’t already been done in industry, so it’s a moot point. The wind rotor is connected to a alternator rotor directly, and the alternator rotor rotates inside a stator of windings, so there is no connection other than the bearings, so it doesn’t matter what type of bearings you use. This is basic elec eng people, if you don’t understand these principles, then you probably shouldn’t be asking such silly questions on such a forum, go to wikipedia and do a bit of research!

All in all, any wind turbine design will produce energy, and vertical axis machines are generally simpler and more robust than horizontal axis machines, so we should indeed be looking at building large vertical axis machines. However, I personally wouldn’t make them this large, 100Mw is a more realistic figure, and means fewer grid fluctuations when machines are shut down for maintenance.

What we need is to stop talking about this stuff, and just start building it. Wind turbines won’t solve the problem, nor will any one solution, but a mix of renewables would provide all the baseload we need, and we could do it in 10 years if we pulled our collective fingers out. The technologies already exist, and many of them have been tested and evolved for over 30 years, we just need to use them (and start cutting our energy use of course!)

Thirdly, bird kills. The probs they had in the US was because the turbines were built on lattice towers, where raptors and other birds would build their nests and so would get killed by the blades that they simply couldn’t see as they took off from their nests. Pole towers eliminate this problem, and even with fast moving horizontal axis turbine blades, the number of bird kills is very low. Indeed, vehicles, cats, dogs and power lines kill tens of thousands of birds each year. A turbine designed like the one shown here would appear solid to most birds, who would of course not fly into it, unless they were really stupid, and then natural selection is just taking its course…

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Don Blair Says:

My question. If Maglev is so wonderful and I sincerely hope that it is, I would not expect Florida Power and Light nor many other utility companies to rush to build even at the bargain price noted in the article. If 52 million invested could provide power to some three quarters of a million homes, I can’t think of anything that would put the power companies out of business faster. Build about a dozen of them across Florida’s flat, flat acreage….far from our roadways….and you could power this entire state. So why isn’t it already happening? As for all the learned skeptics weighing in with their reasons for that skepticism…..I bow to them having no expertise in this area at all. Just watching and wishing the dream makers all the luck…and acceptance…in the world. Meanwhile….let’s ratchet up the construction of a whole new armada of nuclear power plants. I will try to stay tuned in on this whole Maglev concept/controversy and sincerely hope it is not the pipe dream that many of your respondents say it is.

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asdf Says:

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I have land in West Texas and have been thinking about this technology. Are you looking for locations to test? Thanks, Di Ann 847 903 6942

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Max Reid Says:

Interesting to see such new concepts. Hope it comes online
soon.

When the Danish Carpenter created the World’s 1st Windmill,
it had 22 KW capacity. Current Windmills have a max of
5 MW ( which is 227 times more than that 1st Windmill)

Also with the current design, further growth is coming up.

5 MW (With Tripod Base, which means taller towers could be built)
http://www.multibrid.com/m5000/data.html

6 MW (Installed)
http://www.enercon.de/en/_home.htm

7.5 MW (Under Development)
http://www.clipperwind.com/pr_100807.html

Soon Wind could achieve cost parity with Coal, especially with Diesel prices going up raising the cost of transporting Coal.

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Its great release of wind turbine, may Its will become the best way to extract wind power to generate electricity.

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This looks interesting - but their bothering friction losses due to bearings indicate very low expected torque and
efficiency. Why do they focuse at that? To avoid the higher “rest friction” initially, they could have a small start helping “machinery”/mechanism. Especially for such a huge heavy expensive tower anything else than experienced bearing solution should be avoided. A single man is able moving a 50 tons train by bare hand…

The bird aspect is appealing in this solution - that was my first thought about this solution and I wondered why
this wasn´t mentioned from the beginning. Even if it may be true rather few birds are killed by wind turbines
compared to other threats.

But the final energy solution I am 100% convinced will be some kind of “Perpetuum Mobile 2:nd kind” -
and that will end the energy (and CO2) issue era in mankind.

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grace Says:

its very happy to know about this new development….but can the wind alone will rotate such a huge thing? or any other external source is required for starting of it?
when the maglev is working will there be any heavy noice?

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Kindly i want more information about maglev wind power and how it works and cost for Africa. Thanks
yours faithfuly

David Mwangi Kuria

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[...] alternando posibilidades Ayer estube leyendo un libreto de hidroaysen, que explicaba todas las ventajas de instalar las represas en la región (por supuesto no habían desventajas, ni una balanza honesta de la situación). Entre estas “ventajas” estaba el hecho de que solo ocuparian cerca de 6000 hectareas, que era la nada misma comparado con la instalación de energía eolica o geotermica. Entre tanta basura (como decir que es tecnología actual siendo que en los paises desarrollados, la hidroelectrica va quedando obsoleta por el alto impacto socio-ambiental que tiene) uno se da cuenta  que  ni siquiera es una visión distinta  de la vida la que  tienen, digna de respetar , sino que algo verdaderamente sucio, lleno de mentiras y desdén hacia como pueda afectar el mundo su proyecto. Y volviendo a lo central, una amiga me mostró la otra vez una nueva forma de energia eolica, que consiste en una megaturbina. Esta no usa electricidad ya que funciona magneticamente, requeriendo apenas velocidades de apenas 1,5 metros por segundo. Este aparato ocupa apenas 40 hectareas y tiene la capacidad de producir más energía que 1000 molinos. La instalación cuesta cerca de 53 millones de dolares, que me parece razonable para tanto beneficio a largo plazo. Deben haber trancas, no las conozco sino las pondria tambien, pero me parece bastante interesante como para profundizar. La información original esta aqui MAGLEV [...]

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Arrick Says:

so, what is the stock symbol for the company that owns the rights to this thing???

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Joe Says:

i believe that this is a great invention but it wont be enough to put fossil fuel companies out of buisness. if this really does take to the liking of many people then we would need over 300 in the US alone to cover all the people. and think about china like 1.5billion people about 700million homes thats over 1000 of these turbines just for china. does china have enough space for this? maybe it would have enough space if we added solar pannels in with the turbines so it would cut the number of turbines down to around 900.

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birdie Says:

A study done in australia in 70s found that most extreme loss of native birdlife after predation by introduced animals was glass windows. Often the injured/dazed birds are snapped-up by cats and assumed as kills or removed. This is why we aren’t so aware of the damage glass cladding in particular does.

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PhiRo Says:

Has any (prototype) been build?

James PG
James PG Says:

What a scam! The official site is also nothing else than a phishing site directed to deceive those with the IQ of a dodo. If it’s for real, someone should contact me asap coz im seriously interested in buying one myself…and would still be interested in buying one if it generates only a ‘meagre’ 500MW of clean energy…

If I’m contacted via this site, i’ll travel to wherever anyone can prove that i can see one of these turbines being built to secure a puchase immediately. If I buy one, rest assured my partners will buy too…Until then i suggest no-one wastes more time fantasizing about the wonders of science fiction

I’m eagerly awaiting a reply from these con artists!

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Andrew Says:

I read some of the posts and I didn’t see this point made. Sorry if someone said it and I didn’t see it.

I saw a lot of people pointing out the torque issue with the VAWTs. I didn’t see anyone point out the fact that this turbine is capable at operating at extremely low wind speeds. Even if these couldn’t withstand the high windspeeds that HAWTs do, they could (possibly) still be installed in areas with lower windspeeds and achieve higher efficiency than both hawts and vawts.

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Hans Says:

Don’t believe anything you read. Some indicators that this is a hoax:
1) the company working on it was never heard before
2) the website of the company is not accessible to the public
3) no specs are available
4) there are only artist impressions available
5) anybody with some knowledge of windenergy can see that the maglev is a turbine of the drag or savonius type. This type of wind turbine has only half the aerodynamic efficiency compared to a modern propeller type wind turbine.
6) Friction of the bearings cause only a very small energy loss. It is a bit weird to put a lot of engineering effort in solving a problem that is not really a problem.
7) If something sounds too good to be true, it is generally not true.

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somnath Says:

Maglev is an excelent piece of research to harness wind energy.through our project we would be happy to promote this technology and help a trillonath part by saving a lot of non-renewable source of energy.Congrats to all who are behind this!

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Nirendra Says:

I am fond of technology. It will be future wind turbine with green power for the society. It will be the symbol of the green & safe environment. I will wait for the day of tremendous power received from this Maglev turbine to hte society.
Green is the best.

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nilesh Says:

I am third year electric engg. student. iwant the detailed information about the internal structure of the magleve wind turbine. i hope that you will send me that.
ok
have a nice day

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egorordo Says:

very interesting its the solution to save No renovable energy¡¡¡¡

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keipo Says:

Me paerece un concepto muy bueno para producir energia y con la eficiencia que lo muestran, hoy en dia producir energia con los recursos del viento si estar dañando nuestra naturaleza es lo que necesitamos,. quisiera que dieran mas información para las personas que no tenemos los recursos economicos, y asi tambien ayudar con la investigacion. En nuestro pais tenemos el privilegio de tener todos los climas, mas de 12 horas de sol al dia, lugares donde hay viento las 24 horas, entonces me parece importante aprovechar todos estos recursos naturales para producir energia. gracias .

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[...] MagLev Wind Turbine is a big step forward in the world of wind power. By using magnetism to levitate the blades [...]

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bflmpsvz Says:

I am sorry, but this is complete bullshit. Why the hell should MagLev bearings rise an efficiency of wind turbine more than a few fractions of per cent? Some marketing swindler used magic word “MagLev”, and everybody feels happy that some breakthrough was achieved and clean energy is near hand. Wind turbine is not perpetuum mobile, even with MagLev support. After years, you believers will say “Energy Lobby” killed it! No. This is nonsense from the beginning. (Not wind turbines, but miracle improvement by fabulous MagLev). I am sorry. See what “Hans” and “James PG” and others say below.

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thkilliam Says:

This is a proposed new product not a current one. The manufacturer involved is a Chinese producer of regular horizontal-axis turbines, and lists this new item under its “research” window. Below is the website of the company. Let’s keep an open mind and see if it pans out. “Settle down, Beavis!”

http://www.zkenergy.com/en/yfzx.asp

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Perhaps the real potential of the meglev wind project is not contained within the bearings, the fin structure, or any other physical attribute, but instead with these simple ideas: A) that to solve problems of a global scale, we need to start thinking “outside the box”. B) we need to start thinking together and then working together. C:) we must realize that we cannot, must not be afraid of making a mistake…indeed mistakes are the precipatator of many advancements, for in their solving often comes new ideas.
If meglev is credible or a hoax to garner investment money matters not…for if even one person reading this blog comes up with a new twist on this idea and then through trial and error builds a different prototype….then it is all worthwhile. Never be afraid of the naysayers. Pragmaticus.

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