Why are there so many wind turbines becoming available lately? Wind energy is irresistible because it's so clean and cheap. But if the wind's barely blowing, we're just tilting at windmills. Even in a light 3.3-MPH breeze, this new design by Arizona-based MagLev Wind Turbine Technologies can crank out electricity. The company claims its design is so efficient, it can produce power for around a penny per kilowatt hour.
This design concept uses magnetic levitation (maglev) to keep the fiction between the moving parts of the turbine at near zero. Using this technology, the moving parts hover near each other, repelled by magnetic force. It's big, and when the tech is scaled up, its makers claim it will generate 1 gigawatt of electricity, enough power for a community of 750,000 houses.
If this actually works as advertised, this will be a breakthrough. The company says the turbine's operational costs are 50% less than comparable large-scale wind turbines, can create 20% more electricity, and doesn't kill birds. Sounds too good to be true.