Where most wind turbines generate electricity through mechanical energy, the EWICON (short for Electrostatic WInd energy CONvertor) creates potential energy with charged particles – in this case, water droplets. The current design consists of a steel frame holding a series of insulated tubes arranged horizontally. Each tube contains several electrodes and nozzles, which continually release positively-charged water particles into the air. As the particles are blown away, the voltage of the device changes and creates an electric field, which can be transferred to the grid for everyday use.
According to the developers, the system could easily be installed on land or sea, much like regular wind turbines, but the design is particularly suited to urban areas. Expansive wind farms usually aren't feasible in big cities due to a lack of space, but one or more EWICONs could be incorporated into existing architecture just by altering it's shape. Also, with a lack of moving parts, it would require less maintenance while producing less noise and no flickering shadows.
So far, only a few small-scale prototypes of the EWICON have been produced: two that are incorporated into a sign on top of the Stadstimmerhuis 010 building in Rotterdam and another standalone version that was erected on the Delft Technical University campus. The designers are currently testing the device's capabilities, but are trying to gather funding for a larger model that could produce more power.
Source: gizmag.comAdded: 8 April 2013