Combined Vertical Axis Wind-Water Floating Turbines for River and Ocean Operations

Technology #ua10-068

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Israel Wygnanski
Professor, Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering
Managed By
Robert Sleeper
Licensing Manager (520) 626-4604


Vertical Axis Wind Turbine combined turbines for capturing energy from both the wind and the water current.  Each turbine is connected axially to the energy capture device through a common floating platform.  This invention has unique design aspects for the connection to each other and to the platform to maximize energy capture.

Background: Electricity generation from wind turbines is an established energy sector undergoing rapid growth in the US and worldwide.  The US installed wind power capacity at the end of 2007 was 16,596 MW.  This represents more than a three-fold increase in wind power capacity over a five year period, and the aggressive capacity growth is predicted to continue.  The majority of the installed wind turbines are a horizontal axis design, resembling an adaption of the propeller.  Although horizontal axis wind turbines are well-established, they are complex and costly to transport and install.  The alternate vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) designs have had limited commercial success to date, despite the advantage that they can collect wind from all directions.  The classic, lift-based VAWT design originates from the 1920’s and the creator George Darrieus.  The Darrieus-type VAWT uses guy cables to keep the turbine erect, which can cause wear of the bottom bearing.

Applications:  Electricity generation.

Stage of Development: Prof. Wygnanski at The University of Arizona Department of Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering is developing an improved design for a lift-type VAWT.  This improved VAWT design incorporates features that should translate into a wider operational envelope for the turbine while also minimizing wear of the bottom bearing.  The anticipated improved operational envelope is a combination of the new VAWT design, and the use of active flow control to delay the occurrence of dynamic-stall experienced with the Darrieus VAWT.  A proof-of-concept demonstration is planned.

Lead Inventor: Prof. Israel J. Wygnanski

Status: Provisional Patent Application filed; seeking commercial partner to license.

Refer to Case No. UA10-068


Robert Sleeper, J.D.

Licensing Manager, College of Engineering

University of Arizona, Tech Launch Arizona

220 W. 6th Street

University Services Annex, 4th floor

PO Box 210300

Tucson, AZ  85721