Eureka! A Whisper-Quiet Wind Turbine Based On Archimedes' Screw

When they're standing out in a field, miles away from crowded urban centers, the sounds made by a wind turbine's blades aren't a big issue. But when they're perched atop a downtown building, they create noise pollution that's hard to ignore. A Rotterdam-based company might have found a solution, though, with a unique turbine design partially based on Archimedes' famous screw pump.

Instead of moving water, the Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine, which actually looks like a cross between a screw pump and a nautilus shell, efficiently and quietly turns breezes into electricity. How efficiently? Traditional windmills boast an efficiency maxing out around 50 percent, but the creators of the Liam F1 believe theirs can reach upwards of 80 percent of the maximum possible energy yield.

The Liam F1's lack of long blades slicing through the air allow it to operate at much quieter levels, and it works not unlike a weather vane so that it's always automatically facing into the wind no matter which direction it blows. And with a moderate breeze a single unit is supposedly able to produce half the energy used in the average home.

So while each Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine will cost just over $5,400 when they're officially available starting in January, it's a long-term investment that should result in considerable savings on your monthly power bill if they perform as well as The Archimedes claims they do. [The Archimedes via Gizmag]