Bentu is the first portable wind turbine: it is little more than 1 meter high but it can generate the energy needed to charge 40 smartphones at the same time
Wind turbines are bulky installations to say the least: the generators have an average height that fluctuates between 25 and 100 meters (like a building of 8 floors) and rays as long as 80 meters. These mammoth dimensions make the installation of the “blades” an extremely complex process in terms of technology, bureaucracy and public opinion: very often, in fact, the inhabitants of the territories concerned and environmental associations oppose the creation of wind farms because they believe that they disfigure the landscape. An alarming fact if we think that – according to recent data released by the National Wind Energy Association – the achievement of the national wind potential would ensure each Italian 661 kWh of renewable energy in a year and would lead to the creation of 67,200 jobs, mainly concentrated in the South. To make wind energy more accessible, Daniele Valentini has developed Bentu, the first portable micro-turbine. The project was presented during Maker Faire Rome 2019 inside the pavilion dedicated to environmental sustainability and renewable energy.
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Bentu: the first portable wind turbine “as light as the wind”
Bentu was born from a love of wind and nature. Taking inspiration from kites and sails used by surfers, Daniele Valentini – in collaboration with engineer Leonardo Mascarino and the Department of Industrial Engineering of Rome Tor Vergata directed by Prof. Vincenzo Mulone – has developed an innovative foldable micro turbine. “Bentu is how they call the wind in the Sardinian dialect. I chose this name because, to make the turbine, I used the same microfilm that in Sardinia is used to make windsurfing sails. This material allows for a very simple assembly and disassembly system that does not require special tools or utensils. In addition, thanks to the interchangeability of parts, we can mount on the same turbine sets of blades of different sizes, depending on wind conditions and the amount of energy we need.” Bentu works exactly like a wind turbine and uses the force of lift to transform electrical energy into wind. The only difference is the size. The microturbine has a detachable carbon fiber pole a few feet high and foldable blades just 160 centimeters long. In addition to minimizing the impact on the landscape, this small size allows the microturbine to be used even in low winds: a breeze of just 2 meters per second is enough to start Bentu.
The turbine is small and light but its performance is remarkable: with a wind of 12 meters per second – the classic sea breeze – Bentu can produce 400W of electricity, more or less the power needed to charge forty smartphones at once. The entire structure – including the transformer and generator – weighs just 12 kilograms and can be placed in a normal hiking backpack. All it takes is a stable support surface, a little wind and a few minutes of work to mount the microturbine and start producing energy in a totally sustainable way. Small size and ease of use allow to install the microturbine even in isolated areas or difficult to reach, for example in the mountains or on board of pleasure boats. In this way, Bentu also proves to be an effective tool to produce energy in emergency situations – after an earthquake or following the collapse of some electric poles – or in areas where traditional systems are not very effective. My goal – explains Valentini – “is to bring electricity everywhere, maximizing the yield of one of the most powerful and fascinating energy sources we have available on our planet: the wind”.
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