Urban wind turbine wins UK James Dyson award
Publishedduration4 September 2018image copyrightDyson image captionThe inventors hope their urban turbine can generate sustainable energy for cities where traditionally it has been difficult to capture wind power
A turbine that can capture wind from any direction has won the UK's 2018 James Dyson Award.
The O-Wind Turbine aims to capture inner-city wind and turn it into electricity in cities struggling to produce enough renewable energy for increasing populations.
The portable, low-cost device can be attached to the sides of buildings.
The two inventors said they hoped the energy produced could be plugged into the home or the electricity grid.
Wind power currently produces 4% of the world's electricity. But wind farms can only capture "horizontal" wind and tend to be located in rural areas because of this.
In cities, where wind is more multi-directional because of large buildings and other obstructions, such systems are complex to use.
The inventors, Nicolas Orellana and Yaseen Noorani from Lancaster University, set out to solve the problem.
"If we could find a solution that caters for the half of the world's population who live in cities, we could give these people an opportunity to generate their own energy and contribute to the environment," explained Mr Noorani.
Mr Orellana took his inspiration from Nasa's Tumbleweed Mars rover, which was designed to roll across the planet's surface to measure atmospheric conditions but which ultimately failed because it could not cope with the challenging conditions.
He had his eureka moment when he realised that "wind energy technology currently can only capture horizontal wind".