Wind is air, is atmosphere, is force that one only needs to capture to turn it into clean electrical energy. But machines have been burning fossil fuels for more than 100 years, enriching the atmosphere with more and more CO2. CO2, which accumulates consistently if you do not retrieve it from the atmosphere.
The challenge: Retrieving CO2 out of the atmosphere and harnessing it
A wind turbine is in direct contact with the wind and thus with our atmosphere. It generates electrical energy without consuming finite resources. Consequently, it makes sense to combine the production of energy from wind power with the reduction of the increasing CO2 content in the atmosphere.
That is exactly what BLANCAIR aims for. The Hamburg engineering office Spitzner Engineers has dedicated itself to this task and developed a technology that can be integrated into wind turbines (WKAs) to extract CO2 from the ambient air.
The solution: Wind turbines that generate electricity and collect CO2
Spitzner has more than 20 years of experience in aviation and wind energy and holds numerous patents. The company’s spectrum ranges from solutions for improving the aircraft structure through new production techniques and aerodynamic optimization to complete system solutions.
In 2013, Spitzner Engineers received the German Renewables Award.
For the BLANCAIR project, Spitzner Engineers is not only working intensively with the Technical University of Hamburg. The company also received funding from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy within the framework of the Central Investment Program for SMEs (ZIM).
If he rotor blades of a wind turbine are opened at the tip, the rotation forces will result in an outward flowing air suction. BLANCAIR uses exactly this principle and uses the resulting negative pressure to suck ambient air into the interior of the machine housing via the open rotor blades and without additional energy input. The air passes through a filter that absorbs the CO2 in the air with the help of amino salts. The bound gas is then desorbed by heat and collected in tanks via piping.
To provide the heat required for desorption, the already generated waste heat from the generator is used. At the same time, the generated air flow results in highly effective cooling of the generator.
The technology not only effects the intended extraction of CO2 from the atmosphere. Incidentally, it also has a positive effect on the lifetime of the wind turbines. Due to the constant ventilation of the rotor blades, aging due to moisture is sustainably delayed. The highly efficient generator cooling ensures higher efficiency and longer life. Maintenance costs are reduced and the profitability of the wind turbines is increased.
Potential: Wind turbines with negative emissions fully integrated in an energy network
The development of BLANCAIR has been completed. The patent was granted in September 2018 and the technologies were incorporated into an independent company under the name of clean energy one. Since then, clean energy one has been involved in intensive negotiations with wind turbine manufacturers and has met very positive response.
In phases of excessive energy production due to high winds, the electrical energy of a wind farm can be used excellently to generate hydrogen. Adding CO2 to this hydrogen produces methane, which is the main constituent of natural gas (75 to 99%). Methane has a high energy density and can be fed directly into the existing nationwide natural gas grid. It is therefore easily possible to transform the environmental pollutant CO2 into an energy source for machines, ships and vehicles without the need to set up an additional infrastructure.