Collecting It First
Omni-directional has been done, with adjustable turbine blades mounted in traditional, vertical orientation that can move to accommodate directional change. The IMPLUX goes another way with the method, funneling air from multiple directions into a vertical-axis set-up.
The inventors at Katru have, in their working model of a rooftop wind turbine for small-scale energy production, created a device that captures more wind by collecting it before it hits the turbine blades [source: Yirka]. A round, slatted chamber acts as a 360-degree intake structure that takes wind traveling from all directions and re-directs it in just one: upward, to horizontally spinning blades (a helicopterlike orientation).
Because the turbine is enclosed, and the enclosure's slats are spaced close together, it poses no danger to birds and produces very little noise compared to current turbine forms [source: Katru Eco-Inventions].
IMPLUX would be mounted atop buildings to capture the relatively untapped energy flowing over urban centers. The latest model is just 9 feet (2.7 meters) tall and rated at 1.2 kilowatts; Katru's plan is to up that to a 6 kilowatt maximum by the end of 2013, when the IMPLUX is slated for commercial availability [source: Katru Eco-Inventions].
Next, on a whole different level ...