Call the Savannius wind turbine a precursor of the future of energy, because that is certainly how its designers see it—as a device that people can experience up close and first-hand, in the process gaining an awareness of small-scale wind turbines, a technology that could help solve energy and ecological challenges.
A prize winner in the product category in the Green Dot Awards, from the United States, the Savannius wind turbine by Emre Girgin and Hirotaka Matsui is a combination park bench/wind turbine. The designers believe their concept will create the sort of social awareness and acceptance that will lead to an almost ubiquitous uptake of small wind turbines within urban areas. Simultaneously, the devices could provide a public service as charging stations—via a bank of batteries housed inside the bench portion of the turbine—for the many small electronic devices people now carry with them.
The Savannius wins because of its overwhelming portability—nothing more than a bench with a short (about 15 feet) central pedestal around which revolves a vertical-axis wind turbine protected by a shroud composed of 12 blades. Because of its short stature and relatively low noise quotient, the Savannius could easily be deployed in significant numbers at park or at outdoor fairs, exhibits, concerts or sports events, to name a few. And when the event is over, simply unscrew the single hand-operated fastener and disassemble the wind turbines for use elsewhere.
The inside of the bench portion also contains a recycled polyethylene tank, which can be filled with water to provide stability to the Savannius wind turbine in areas where winds might become turbulent or forceful. The turbine blades are formed of recycled polyester sheet. The shroud does triple duty, blocking the distracting whirl of the blades, aiming wind directly onto the blades for increased energy production, and providing a baffle which prevents injury to birds and other small flying creatures. In fact, in a global economic climate that seems to lack many small, affordable and efficient wind turbine options that can be sited in or near residential neighborhoods, the Savannius is a welcome addition.