An Interview with Vortex Bladeless

Interviews

Plastic Expert are pleased to introduce Raúl Martín, one of the founders of renewable energy innovators 'Vortex Bladeless'

Would you like to introduce yourself and Vortex Bladeless? Hello, my name is Raúl Martín. I am one of the three co-Founders of Vortex Bladeless. I usually do the organization tasks, and I love my job. VORTEX BLADELESS, R&D, a company founded in 2013, creates devices that capture kinetic energy from the wind by 'vortex shedding', transforming it into other useful forms of energy. Vortex generators are characterized by a higher reliability with respect to the conventional wind turbines due to the absence of mobile pieces susceptible of wear, lacking of many elements present in conventional turbines such as blades, nacelle, hub, transmission, brakes, steering system, or lubrication system…   What is the history of your business? The founder partners began their activity with the development of electronic devices and the manufacture of small series according to specifications set out by the customers. David J. Yáñez, one of the three co-founders, wrote his first draft about the wind turbine by vorticity in 2002. The idea was maturing during the following years until the application for the first patent in the summer of 2010. This initial patent is currently in its international stage. In September, 2011, VORTEX BLADELESS team achieved its first demonstration of the concept in a wind tunnel. Following that, since September 2012, the team is fully dedicated to the development of the project with a sponsorship of the Repsol Foundation. This incubation stage lasted until December 2014. Currently, Vortex team (apart from the 3 co-Founders*) is also formed by four engineers as well as reputed external advisors giving their technical support to the project, as well as a first line Advisory Board and shareholders adding great value to the Company. All of them invest their own money, most of them being linked to powerful capital funds and energy sector companies. So they can be good investors in future capital rounds. Since 2010, Vortex Bladeless have won numerous awards. Some of them are listed below: the Entrepreneurs Foundation Award (EVERIS) in 2010, the Latin American Entrepreneurship Award 2011 or the 1st Prize for Entrepreneurs (REPSOL Foundation) in 2012, the South Summit Startup Spain Competition in 2014 and ‘Caja de Ingenieros’ Entrepreneurs Award in 2014. At this moment, we are looking for a new private investment. Fortunately, the project is having a great reception by international investors. *- David J. Yáñez Villarreal. Vortex Bladeless Co-CEO/Technology (Inventor). - David Suriol Puigvert: Vortex Bladeless Co-CEO/Business. - Raúl Martín Yunta: Vortex Bladeless Co-CEO/Organization. Can you tell us about the science behind Vortex Bladeless? One of the biggest challenges for Vortex is to resolve fluid, structure, and power generation issues with a high-tech solutions, keeping a simple shape all the way through. No bearings, moving parts, lubrication… simplicity, however it seems easier than it is. It is based on a known physical effect called Vortex Shedding (von Karman vortices appearing). At the end, we try to extract as much energy as possible from the wind, helped by a pole that oscillates.   Did you invent this technology or are you advancing it? It is all new and disruptive technology. Actually we are developing it. The vortex shedding has been studied before. It has a specific weight on buildings and bridges designing. Normally, engineers and designers try to avoid that it, but we deliberately look for it.   Tell us about the Indiegogo campaign and what you will do with the money raised? The most important thing that the crowdfunding campaign can give to us is a big global promotion. From then, every single dollar people want to participate with will be more than welcome, and will be positive for the first product launch and to set up a pilot study in India. We are responding to the hundreds of emails from all over the world we receive every day. We think, the crowdfunding campaign is going to do what these people are asking for: to be a part of this project, cooperating as far as possible for them. How important is universal clean energy to you? Taking into account the climate and global warming circumstances, and knowing that energy is one of the most important factors, an energy as clean as possible is one of the goals of any generation's technology for today. We are concerned about it. In vortex we have the possibility to generate a cleaner and cheaper energy.   Do you think ‘ethical’ businesses should be more open to supporting this kind of green-tech? Everyone understands that projects like ours are risk to invest in. The uncertainty is always on the way. However, great ideas and projects that could change the world would be lost forever. It is always difficult to demonstrate that your idea is good to be trusted. We feel proud of our job and our team because we are about to close the second investment round with an American Venture Capital. What sort of responses have you had to Vortex Bladeless and how can you see it growing over time? Our technology is being well received but we understand the skeptical ideas. We work to resolve the doubts everyone and us have, transforming constructive criticism into our best weapon.   Can you give any statistical comparisons between your product and a ‘typical’ wind turbine? As far as our calculations tell us, we generate less energy per device, for the similar heights. On the other hand, we are a 40% cheaper for the same installed capacity. The LCoE (Levelized Cost of Energy) is telling us we are cheaper installing, maintaining and manufacturing than the conventional wind turbine standards.   What is your best case scenario for the future? Our dream is to demonstrate, introducing a selling product in the market as soon as possible (3m height and 100W power rated), that our technology works. Our final goal is to create a 1MW Vortex that could be an alternative in mass power generation industry which could compete face to face with conventional wind turbines. We feel close to making it happen. Thanks Raúl!