The Inflatable Wind Turbine

An Israeli company called Winflex is developing inflatable wind turbines using a design they say is feasible from one hundred kilowatt units to multi-megawatt capacity models.
     
More accurately, the rotor is the inflated component. The Winflex turbine rotor consists of an inflated wheel, from which blades connect to a central hub. The blades form a sail-type configuration for catching the wind. Both the wheel and the blades are constructed from a composite material.
    
The company says the rotor is lighter and safer than any other product currently on the market. As its construction doesn’t require expensive molds or specialised tooling, Winflex says customising a turbine to a particular capacity or site location is rapid, as is assembly.
   
A traditional wind turbine in itself can be a sizeable investment, but installation costs are also considerable due to the need for heavy-duty towers and associated peripherals. Winflex says its product can reduce turbine installation costs by at least 50%. 
   
While return on investment for currently available wind turbines can be seven to ten years, the company states Winflex can reduce that to only three to five years – or as little as two years if government subsidies are available.
   
The Winflex team has already designed, built, tested and successfully connected a 10kW and 200kW turbine to the mains grid for over two years. The company now aims to construct a 1 MW version of their inflatable wind turbine and with some support from the Israeli Ministry of Infrastructure, is already at an advanced stage of designing a 130kW unit for the commercial market. Winflex also intends on licensing the technology to other companies for mass production
   
Winflex is the brainchild of Dr. Vladimir Kliatzkin, who has more than 40 years of experience in energy production systems in aviation, internal combustion engines and hybrid systems.