In their promotional video, Saphon Energy makes the point that the current wind turbines are based upon technology that is 400 years old. Never mind the fact that the technology that they have based their wind harnessing technology is only about 5200 years old, but the age of the idea isn’t something that we should worry about as much as its effectiveness.
The Tunisian startup Saphon Energy was founded in 2009 by Tunisian banker Hassine Labaied and his inventor friend Anis Aouin. The two wanted to create a new way of harvesting wind energy that had no blades or moving parts.
According to Talking Points Memo:
Instead, Saphon’s “Zero Blade” technology uses a stationary circular sail, approximately 4 feet in diameter, attached to the top of a pole. As the wind moves the sail back and forth, a hydraulic system captures the kinetic energy and converts it into mechanical energy. The system can also store the mechanical energy as hydraulic pressure, to be deployed later, when there is no wind.
Labaied told TPM that “The sail boat is still the best system for capturing and creating energy from the wind, and it does so without blades.”
The system has been designed to exceed the current maximum wind turbine efficiency, which is about 59.3% theoretically. The Saphonian is also being touted as being cheaper to make, less noisy, and less dangerous to birds. So far, they have made two prototypes which have attained two to three times the efficiency of the current wind turbines. Labaied stated that “People around the globe got so obsessed with improving the three blade technology, but that was like a box to us. why don’t we try to think outside the box, and for us that meant non-rotational and no blades.”
The company is working on a second generation product to smooth out the problems from the first generation.