When people think of wind power, most imagine rows of giant turbines stretching across wide expanses of land. David Yáñez envisions something else entirely.

Yáñez is co-founder of Vortex Bladeless, a Spanish startup. As the name of his company implies, he’s invented a bladeless wind turbine.

“It’s a vertical structure like a … mast,” he says.

Instead of relying on rotating blades, the cylindrical device vibrates back and forth as air moves around it.

The technology is still in its infancy.

“We are working right now with a very small device. We named this device the ‘Vortex Nano,’” Yáñez says.

So far, it only produces enough electricity to charge a cell phone or a small sensor. But Yáñez says bigger devices could generate much more power.

“The energy that the machine is able to produce grows very, very fast with the height,” he says.

So larger devices could be used to help power homes. Yáñez says the bladeless design is quieter, less noticeable, and lower-maintenance than conventional turbines, so it could more easily be installed in urban and residential areas.

And because the wind often continues to blow at night when the sun is down, home wind and solar systems could together provide power night and day.

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media