In 1979, Risto Joutsiniemi developed Windside wind turbines. Based in Finland, Windside manufactures and distributes Joutsiniemi’s revolutionary design today. The Windside wind turbine doesn’t look like the kind of wind turbine that you’re familiar with. The wind turbine that you probably imagine has a tall, narrow base and three blades that rotate like a fan. The Windside wind turbine has a completely different design.
Windside turbines resemble a DNA helix more than they resemble traditional wind turbines. They look like they could easily be a part of a modern art installation or new architectural design. Basically, the general design of the Windside turbines include two large, flat panels that wind their way up the center in a curvy manner.
A more technical description is offered by Windside, explaining that their turbines are “a vertical wind turbine based on sailing engineering principles. The turbine rotor is rotated by two spiral-formed vanes”. The Windside turbines are actually 50% more efficient than traditional wind turbines and because they don’t have giant rotating blades, they can be placed more closely together and do not pose any threats to wildlife! Now that’s revolutionary!
One of the most unique things about Windside turbines is their wide range of capacity. They can generate electricity with wind speeds as low as 1-3 m/s (about 2.25mph) and can continue to produce electricity with wind speeds as high as 60 m/s (135mph). This is substantial because the average world wind speed is only 3 m/s (6.75mph). So, while most wind turbines can’t pick up the lower wind speeds, the Windside turbine can. The spiral vane shape of the Windside turbine also means that the rotation doesn’t ever exceed wind speed, so they’re completely silent! As previously mentioned, their design makes them appear to be solid objects, so birds do not fly into them.
The Windside turbine is the perfect example of the amazing things that humans can accomplish when given the opportunity to create and innovate something outside the box. Windside turbines are currently in operation throughout Europe and Asia. An interesting possibility created by Windside is their Wind Art Work. Basically, the company envisioned the turbine incorporated into a piece of art where it could provide its own lighting. As they put it, “In this joint creation of an art and engineering, beauty, function and ecology are combined. All the advantages of the turbine together with the beautiful design and use of color create a highly individual artwork that can be appreciated day or night.”
EnviroCitizen.org things this is a pretty amazing feature, especially when you consider the fact that Windside turbines are being placed in densely populated areas such as parks or incorporated into buildings. This unique feature—a piece of functional art—enhances the environment both in the sense that it is aesthetically pleasing and that it’s creating clean, green, renewable energy. What a beautiful, effective way to create awareness!