Most wind turbines have a recognizable shape, but a new design from Segway inventor Dean Kamenn is less obvious in its functionality: This turbine has a vertical axis and rotors made of plastic fabric meant to be easily moved by the wind.
Archetypal wind turbines require a good amount of steel and concrete to be built, and once installed, it is difficult to move them. Kamen’s design uses air to inflate the rotors, which act as giant sails. The rotors can be easily deflated, making the turbine not only lightweight, but mobile.
Kamen believes turbine mobility would help owners generate more energy with the ability to toss turbines on trucks when high winds are predicted nearby. This could give rise to a new breed of storm chasers, although questions remain as to how much wind these turbines can handle, and how they would be installed in a temporary location to prevent them from flying away.