I say the future is VERTICAL Axis Wind Turbines!

The Future of VAWTs boils down to innovative engineering.

Wanted !! Engineers with the necessary dreams and ideas!
Many VAWT projects are getting funded!

In this post:
HAWT things that are still problems,
Bigger is better? I say No.
Vortex Bladeless
Magnetic Air wind turbines
KOHILO “VORTEX” wind turbine
What is Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE)?
Do-It-Yourself VAWTs

Hawt and vawt

As we know Wind turbines have two main designs: horizontal and vertical axis.
HAWTs are all over the place, we know how they work. The VAWTs spin around a vertical axis, rather than a horizontal one. Each type has advantages and disadvantages and/or may be suited to different environments.

Through-out this post I will refer to horizontal-axis wind turbines as HAWT, and Vertical l-axis wind turbines as VAWT.

But the HAWTs that are the most popular right now, do have limitations. More engineering advancements may make VAWTs the final market preference.

Market Preference?? Why?

At this point, large-scale energy developers have chosen the HAWT layout, leaving VAWTs to small commercial operations. I believe this is only because the HAWTs are simpler to understand and quickly meet the main expectation of any wind turbine – collect wind power without having to “reinvent the wheel”.

HAWT things that are still problems

Power Generation
Only when the blades are at a direct right angle to wind direction can the HAWTs convert the wind’s energy into useful mechanical motion. The blades pick up the
energy throughout their range of movement to
contribute to energy production. Bottom line: The more wind, the more motion, the more energy, the more
electricity – the cheaper it is. They do not produce
power at low speeds.
Blade Rotation SpaceThey work only in wide-open spaces. They must be
spaced far apart to avoid hitting each other.
Strong Wind
weak – the high turbines can break, if wind is too strong
Wind Starting speedTo correct for changes in wind direction, the turbine has a yaw drive that rotates the whole unit’s direction.
However, the yaw drive adapts slowly to change the
wind direction because it must turn the entire turbine
and propeller assembly. This can delay wind start speed.
The HAWT is mechanically more complex than the
vertical design. The gyroscopic action of the spinning
blades produce stress when the yaw mechanism turns
to catch the wind. Over time, the stress can crack the
turbine blades and hub. There is an important need to
calculate Wear and Tear.
Maintenance Size and height are dangerous for workers that climb up to the turbine for maintenance. The turbine or blade can break and fall to the ground, which is also dangerous for any thing underneath them.
Effect on flying
They are a hazard to birds and other flying wild life, especially bird migration paths. Some consider them an eye sour.

Many people feel that the huge, noisy, HAWT disrupts the natural landscape and is a problem (not to mention dangerous) to both man (if not operating properly) and wildlife.

Bigger is better?

These turbines have become huge, because the industry works on the basis of “bigger means better” when it comes to efficiency.

This all in spite of the energy that’s wasted in their production/assembly, transport, and maintenance.

And then there is “Grid Power”. Using electricity from the existing Utilities power grid. Did you ever think that the HAWTs use Grid Power? I have never thought about it. Do you suppose these HAWTs add the cost of the Grid Power they use, to their LCOE** figures? I wonder. VAWTs rarely use any Grid Power for their operations.

I do not know how many HAWTs really have to use Grid Power, but a list from a 2006 review of Wind Turbines; A Problem With Wind Power, suggested the following areas where Grid Power might have to be used.

Wind turbine functions that need electricity:

  1. yaw mechanism (to keep the blades perpendicular to the wind and/or untwist the electrical cables in the tower when necessary)
  2. blade-pitch control (to keep the rotors spinning at a regular rate)
  3. lights, controllers, communication, sensors, metering, data collection, etc.
  4. heating of the blades
  5. heating and dehumidifying the “nacelle”
  6. oil heater, pump, cooler, and filtering system in gearbox
  7. hydraulic brake (to lock the blades in very high wind)
  8. thyristors (regulate the connections between generator and grid)
  9. magnetizing the stator – the stator may use power equal to 10% of the turbine’s rated capacity, in slower winds possibly much more
  10. using the generator as a motor (to help the blades start to turn when the wind speed is low)

Another case of humans not harmonizing with planet Earth.

They are using their old system of “get it out there”, “bigger has to be the way”, “the figures show that it works”, “it works so lets use it”- even if we did not check every angle……..

Right Now, the market believes……………

These huge new wind turbines are a marvel.
They’re also the future.

Updated May 20, 2019, >> The latest model has blades longer than football fields.
It is impressive as an engineering feat, but the significance of growing turbine size goes well beyond that. Bigger turbines harvest more energy, more steadily; the bigger they get, the less variable and more reliable they get, and the easier they are to integrate into the grid. Wind is already outcompeting other sources on wholesale energy markets. After a few more generations of growth, it won’t even be a contest anymore.

At 351 feet (107 m), the blades for GE’s Haliade-X 12MW wind turbine are the world’s longest. GE Renewable Energy
(Doesn’t this look like a dinosaur in a museum…. maybe that is where it will end up……)

I say No.

Onshore, Offshore,
I say it is only a matter of time and innovative engineering – the size of Wind Turbines will come back down to the ground!
Engineering Designers are fixing the so called disadvantages of VAWTs one at a time…..
It still might be worth “reinventing the wheel”.

Here is the comparison chart of a company that sells both HAWTs and VAWTs and even they seem to favor the VAWTs.

hawt versus vawt

vertical ??????????????

What has kept the VAWT from competing with HAWT? Such simple commercially oriented things……

  • a lack of longterm interest from government or private funders – not easy to imagine
  • the urgent need for clean power generation
  • An owner’s immediate and greatest concern is simply getting as much electric power as possible over 20 plus years on his/her investment. No VAWT was close to the long-term generating capacity of quick horizontal-axis designs.  
  • The HAWT is simpler to understand. It was a fast and easy way to go.

What are those VAWT Disadvantages? To me most of these things sound ridiculous. I keep thinking – with the engineering advancements already available, these things should all be solvable!


Power Generation
Less efficient due to back-side drag. Not all the blades
contribute to generating electricity all the time. As the
wind pushes one blade downwind, another is returning
against the wind, which causes a “torque ripple”.
Do not reach the strong winds up high.
Blade Rotation SpaceThey are very difficult to erect on towers. They have
remained small. Only narrow rotation space is needed.
Strong Wind
Only when they have two connections to each blade can they withstand highly turbulent wind that bounces near the ground across ridgelines, hills, etc.
Wind Starting speedOnly a fraction of the blades generate torque when wind blows, while the other parts only ‘go along for the ride’.
The result – reduced ability to generate power.
Maintenance The forces acting on the mechanical parts are more
turbulent. They can experience something called
“jostling forces”. These generate lateral stress that
require sturdier materials and regular maintenance.
Effect on flying
VAWT blades may be easier for birds to see.

And every day, the “virtues of vertical” are clearer!


Power Generation
greater range of catching wind energy. The new designs are capable of operating at minimal wind speed. Stand alone – no need for Grid Power.
Blade Rotation SpaceThey occupy less space. They are much more compact and can be placed closer to each other in a wind farm.
They can be used for urban applications = more
electricity can be generated in a given area and almost
any space. More turbines per square area plus less
wind needed to make them turn and what you get is
cheaper electricity.  If you pack VAWTs close together,
you could in theory produce 10 times as much power
from the same acreage.
Strong Wind
Ideal for gusty conditions. Simpler construction means
they can work better in gusty conditions.
NoiseVery Low / silent
Wind Starting speedThey can operate during minimal wind speed and
regardless of wind direction. Suited to urban areas
with tall buildings where wind turbulence is a given.
No need for yaw and pitch control. They rotate
regardless of wind direction resulting in a much simpler
mounting design. The advantage comes as reduction
in parts. They can be deployed closer to the person
using the electricity.
Maintenance All the machinery is simpler and closer to the ground, so maintaining it is both less expensive and safer for
workers. They do not require workers to climb tall
towers. Expenses are reduced; no climbing gear, lifts,
or danger-pay compensation.
Effect on flying
Easily visible to wildlife. While spinning or at rest, a
VAWT appears as a solid object. Failing turbines do not
fall from a great height. Visual disturbance is lower
(depending on the design). City ordinance regulations –
not effected. Far less dominant in the natural landscape.

Design will change the shape of the current wind turbine industry and simplify the manufacturing of wind turbines because it does not need to be large blades, large gear boxes, large generators, or huge towers.

Already in 2016 they were asking if VAWTs could replace HAWTs ……………….
It is no longer true that the only advantage of a VAWT is its 360° orientation to the wind. Now they capture more wind energy than HAWT blades. They should be able to produce electricity at a much lower cost. If they can, then VAWTs will replace HAWTs for most applications. So the next time you admire a huge and elegant HAWT, consider that you may be looking toward the past, not the future, of wind power.

Some more of the hundreds of different VAWT designs.


There are more than 2.5 billion cars, which generate wind turbulence. The same turbine responsible for huge windmill rotation can be replaced by small efficient traffic wind turbines, which rotate with the help of the moving air from passing cars on the highway.


There is one thing I feel that VAWT designs do not take into enough consideration – wildlife. Most of them may replace the HAWTs, but with something else that has blades out there and is problematic for flying wildlife. Unless wildlife sees them as a solid object.

But there are designs that do solve the wildlife problem. Here is one without blades:


Fundamentals of the idea
Vortex Bladeless is a vortex induced vibration resonant wind generator. It harnesses wind energy from a phenomenon of vorticity called Vortex Shedding. Basically, bladeless technology consists of a cylinder fixed vertically with an elastic rod. The cylinder oscillates on a wind range, which then generates electricity through an alternator system. In other words, it is a wind turbine which is not actually a turbine.
Vortex wind generators are more similar in features and cost-effectiveness over time to solar panels than to regular wind turbines.

I picked 2 other designs that in their way, also seem to solve the wild life problem…..
although I recently find that this one no longer exists, but maybe the copy here is usefull to someone………………

Efficient electron vawt

Magnetic Air wind turbines

No Gears
No Pollution
No Vibrations
No Fuel Costs
Automatic Start
Easy Installation
Compact Design
Magnetic Braking
Low Maintenance
Solar Hybrid Ready
Color Customization
All Weather Resistant
Quiet Operation < 10dB
25 Year Limited Warranty
Shipped Fully Assembled
Near Zero-Heat Coefficient
No Radio/Satellite Interference
Can Operate Around the Clock
High Efficiency Electronic Components
Perimeter Vortex Barrier (Bird Friendly)
On-Grid / Off-Grid with Battery Backup
100% Aluminum Frame and Wind Blades
Brush-less Alternator (No Electric Sparks)
Ground/Rooftop/Mono-Pole Applications
Full description in their pamphlet

What about the birds?
Birds frequently fly into the propellers of conventional wind turbines resulting in terrible injuries and animal cruelty. Because of its compact vertical-axis cylindrical design, the Magnetic Air turbine’s blades create a vortex pressure barrier around the turbine perimeter. This vortex is very easily detected by birds insuring their safety, which facilitates EPA approvals where applicable.

Static Blades is another good idea!

kohilo logo
Kohilo means “gentle breeze” in Hawaiian … our turbines begin to spin at .5 mph and start producing energy at 2 mph.  http://kohilowind.com/
34 seconds KOHILO Wind Turbine The Quantum
kohilo vortex
Full explanation of the Kohilo Vortex here

The KOHILO “VORTEX” wind turbine yields one of the lowest **(LCOE) Levelized Electricity costs in the wind energy market. This increase in power production is made possible by a diffuser system that stabilizes turbulent airflow. These precision diffusers channel wind into the core of the “VORTEX” thereby increasing the velocity of harvested wind. The concept of compressing a large volume of flow into a small channel. This vortex channel directs airflow perfectly into the blades of the turbine.

**What is Levelized Cost of Electricity (LCOE)?
The basic concept is quite clear and universal:  Add up all the costs of a power generation project over its lifetime (say 20 years.). Do the same for all the energy produced by that same project over its lifetime. Now divide the lifetime project costs by the lifetime energy generated. The result: a nice, average “cost($)-per-unit-of-energy(MWh or KWh)” ( $/MWh ) metric.

This can then be compared against the price you pay on your utility bill ($/kWh).

LCOE wind is best
Lazard’s latest annual Levelized Cost of Energy Analysis (LCOE 12.0) (Dec. 2018) shows a continued decline in the cost of generating electricity from alternative energy technologies, especially utility-scale solar and wind. In some scenarios, alternative energy costs have decreased to the point that they are now at or below the marginal cost of conventional generation.

Look where the LCOE for Wind is……

LCOE wind is best
February 2019  https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2019/02/3-clean-energy-myths-debunked/
( WIND here, no doubt, is NOT talking about VAWT)

Kohilo‘s system is silent, their turbines employ a magnetic bearing which floats the moving assembly, minimizing friction on the main bearings, and an iron free axial flux generator that eliminates cogging and noise. The magnetic bearing dramatically increases the life and performance of the main mechanical bearing system by reducing dynamic loads. The Kohilo Vortex eliminates the “problem of shearing off” during operation and poses no hazard to wildlife, because it is a stationary object.

Kohilio Efficiency & LCOE
The Kohilo Vortex has solved the problem of “blade Drag” listed in the Traditional Dis-Adavantages Table (above).
LCOE of the Koliho Cyclone is $19/MWH – $38/MWH. Compare this to the LCOE charts above.

Kohilio VAWT that creates plenty of efficient power
Yielding the most energy has always been paramount. KOHILO has shattered the notion that a VAWT can not compete by solving the problem of back-side blade drag, lowering the cut-in speed to 1.3m/s (2.9 mph) and increasing efficieny above 70% versus HAWTs.

Kohilio Reduced Cut-in speed – Installation anywhere
The “Kohilo Vortex” begins to spin at 0.9 MPH and commences electricity production at 2.9 MPH, considerably less than the cut-in speed of 7-9 MPH of traditional HAWTs. This diminishes the siting constraints and installation limitations plaguing HAWTs. The Kohilo Quantum can be installed in any location and does not need a 50-300 foot tower. KOHILO’s technology does not need to scale “bigness” for optimum performance.

Kohilio Operations & Maintenance of the Quantum

  • No external moving parts (large safety factor and bird friendly)
  • Protective exoskeleton-VAWT without drag!
  • All components are recyclable materials (steel, aluminum, copper, and recyclable plastics)
  • Stackable for easy system expansion 
  • Truly ”plug and play” operation
  • All electronics pre-installed at factory ensuring highest quality control standards
  • Simple and easy installation procedure
  • Fully deployable within 4-hours of system delivery
  • Uses absolutely no Grid Power, no need to hook up to a local “Grid”.
  • System incorporates Trojan batteries that charge with prevailing winds enabling the use of energy on demand during power outages
  • 7-9 feet off the ground
28 seconds the Kohilo VAWT poses no hazard to wildlife, because it is a mostly stationary object.

Wingardium-Energy is KOHILO’S authorized sales representative for Europe, working to develop multiple wind projects in their regions. Wingardium-Energy promotes and distributes a new range of green energy solutions consisting of wind, water, solar & energy-storage. They have representatives in the Netherlands, Germany, the Balkan region and Belgium: [email protected]

The Vortex Hive for apartment buildings
The Vortex Hive uses roof space for a number of turbines and solar panels. Fixed louvres are placed around the outside to direct wind to the turbines. To make optimum use of this energy capture, we suggest storing the green energy in a battery installation. Essentially, we are creating a micro-grid inside one collective housing unit.

17 seconds the blades are only clear, here, so the turbine, inside, is more visible

The Green Solutions Israel Mission
>>Provide effective solutions for any challenge
>>Be a proven marketing platform to develop new technology’s
>>Create a better world for the next generation

Green Solutions Israel is developing a number of Kohilo projects in Israel. 
We were impressed with the Kohilo aerodynamic structure that collects wind gusts from any direction. The turbine blades have no “torque ripple” as they are fed perfectly channeled wind by the outer static blades.  We installed the first Kohilo wind turbine in Israel in 2014. We are presently looking for a location to build a Cyclone.
Green Solutions Israel, established by Arian Meiri, is celebrating 10 dynamic years. contact us: [email protected]

Kohilo Wind Turbines is looking for dedicated and motivated Sales Representatives around the world, to spread the word and launch sales for our Turbines. If you love a challenge and have some kind of working knowledge and/or track record in the renewables energy industry, we look forward to hearing from you: [email protected]

Has the best wind power equipment been invented? Only the future will tell. But, I can see the day when a huge HAWT, falls and is not restored.

A VAWT like KOHILO Wind turbines decidedly elevates the potential for wind turbines, making it a clean energy source in any environment!

Wind energy is the cheapest so far and that is with the big HAWTs. The market for wind energy systems is growing. I think I am going to be mentioning this quote a lot in the near future:

“In economics, things take longer to happen than you think they will, and then they happen faster than you thought they could.” 
― Rudiger Dornbusch

wanted engineers

Wanted !!
Engineers with the necessary dreams and ideas!

In the meantime, if you want to build a VAWT for yourself, here are some Do-It-Yourselves:

Do-It-Yourself VAWTs

DIY vawt

DIY VAWT – Vertical Axis Wind Turbine
This DIY VAWT is based on the use of 4 inch PVC pipes, cut in half, for the blades. The blades are mounted on bicycle rims. This structure is then mounted using 2×4’s and a DC treadmill motor is connected at the bottom, via a belt. The belt connection allows for an increase in RPMs to the treadmill motor.
or twice as high: https://hackaday.com/2008/09/28/diy-vertical-axis-wind-turbine/

bottle size vawt

Build your own (Water Bottle Size) wind turbine

Build Your Own Savonius VAWT (Vertical Axis Wind Turbine)
Head down to the hardware store and find a cheap broomstick handle that just fits inside the bearings. Don’t worry if its a tight fit.  While you’re at the store buy some 50mm (inner diameter) PVC tube and 2 large buckets (I found about 20 litres ideal).Also uy some long screws – I used plaster screws at least 50mm long. 

55 Gallon Drum Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT)

You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

R. Buckminster Fuller

Posts that talk about doing the home-work planet Earth’s way:
Do You Know Your Business’s Carbon Footprint?
Path To C2CC – Cradle To Cradle Certified™
Part #2 – Financing A Small Business In A Sustainable/Circular Economy
I Say The Future Is VERTICAL Axis Wind Turbines!
Like Nature does it. Biomimic Strategy = Harmony with planet Earth
Slow Down ?? Yes – No, Urgent Changes , BUT…..
Too Much Methane !
Wave Power Is Very Very “Energy Dense”!

VAWT posts on Wasterush.info:
I Say The Future Is VERTICAL Axis Wind Turbines!
WIND POWER Back Down To Earth – VAWT

5 Replies to “I say the future is VERTICAL Axis Wind Turbines!”

  1. Hi Lesley would you be interested in doing a more in-depth article on the development of my Harmony VAWT? It’s moved along quite a bit from last year when you probably took a quick look at it. The data is starting to really turn some heads …coupled with the unique capabilities it has to furl up and protect itself in high winds; this could just be history in the making.

    1. Hi! Chris,
      I will certainly consider looking into your developments for another VAWT post.
      I have some things I am working on at present, so it might take a month or two to get to it.
      Would you please contact me at my email?
      [email protected]

  2. I agree that VAWT may be the future of wind energy, but for different reasons. I invent VAWT. If you would like to learn about the best VAWT, let me know and I will send you my papers.

    1. Hello, Mr. Sharp,
      Rather than send me your papers, as I am not an engineer myself, maybe you would be willing to share what those “different reasons” are. If you do not wish to list them here in comments, please feel free to send a message to my email. Lesley

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