A Revolution in Wind Energy: The Carousel-Style Turbine
Bill Gates has invested in Airloom Energy, a company that has developed a novel carousel-style wind turbine. The investment was made through Breakthrough Energy Ventures, leading a round that provided $4 million in seed funding. The unique wind power device, called LK-99, is said to produce the same amount of power as a conventional horizontal-axis wind turbine (HAWT) but at a fraction of the mass and cost. This innovation could potentially halve the cost of wind energy production. The Wyoming-based manufacturer is currently operating a 50-kilowatt test device and future systems are expected to produce hundreds of megawatts for utility-scale wind farms.
Bill Gates, the Microsoft billionaire, has recently invested in a novel wind power system developed by Airloom Energy. This investment was part of a $4 million seed funding round led by Gates’ Breakthrough Energy Ventures to scale up this innovative technology.
Airloom Energy has developed a unique carousel-style wind turbine that is expected to cut the cost of wind energy production in half. Unlike conventional horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs) that can reach a height of 500 feet with 180-foot blades rotating on a 300-foot tower, the Airloom system operates differently. It runs 30-foot blades along a lightweight track only 80 feet high, producing the same amount of power as a HAWT at a fraction of the mass and cost.
The Wyoming-based manufacturer, founded in 2020, is currently operating a 50-kilowatt test device. Future systems are expected to be up to 1,300 feet long and produce hundreds of megawatts for utility-scale wind farms.
The Airloom system offers cost and environmental advantages throughout its lifecycle. It uses readily sourced materials for rapid manufacturing, and an entire 2.5 MW Airloom could be transported in one standard tractor trailer. It can be configured high or low, short or long, to optimize siting and viewplane, and does not require large concrete foundations in commissioning.
Carmichael Roberts, of Breakthrough Energy Ventures, believes that Airloom’s unique approach can solve both siting and cost of materials problems, opening new market opportunities for wind energy that will further drive down costs.
The decrease in overall weight and materials also means greatly reduced landfill impacts at the end of its use. If successful, this novel wind power system could revolutionize the wind energy industry.