Updated: Omnidirectional wind turbine up for international award

UK: A new small-scale wind turbine, designed for urban areas, has won a national prize for innovation, awarded by inventor-entrepreneur James Dyson. It has since been shortlisted for the international award.

The O-Wind turbine was designed by Yaseen Noorani (left) and Nicolas Gonzalo Orellana Olguin from Lancaster University

The O-Wind turbine was designed by Nicolas Gonzalo Orellana Olguin and Yaseen Noorani from Lancaster University. The ball-design allows the turbine to capture winds from all directions, without the need to pitch, but continue spinning on a single axis, making it ideal for the swirling winds of cities and urban areas.

The turbine makes use of Bernoulli’s principle for its mechanical motion, according to the James Dyson Award website.

It was inspired by research undertaken by US space agency Nasa, which was looking at ways to explore Mars by using wind-driven balls.

Nasa designed a concept that would travel in a set direction, regardless of which direction the wind was coming from.

The designers believe the O-Wind machine would be suited to apartment buildings, attached to balconies.

Prototypes are being 3D printed for performance tests at Lancaster University wind tunnels.

The James Dyson Awards recognise new technological designs and entrepreneurs around the world, that offer "products that work better", encouraging designers to "think differently".

Previous winners include designs for safety gadgets, to promote environmental and ecological sustainability, and to provide support for people with health problems. 

The O-Wind turbine is one of 20 national winners to make the shortlist for the international James Dyson Award. Also making the cut are pipe-fixing robots, a potato-based plastic substitute and prefabricated ant nests.