Standard wind turbines convert only 1 percent of wind energy into usable power, and most of that inefficiency
stems from the loss of energy due to friction as the turbine spins. Researchers at the Guangzhou Energy Research
Institute have estimated that magnetically levitated turbines could boost wind energy generation by as much as 20
percent over traditional turbines.
The researchers proposed using a colossal turbine with vertical blades that are suspended above the base of the
turbine using neodymium magnets. Because the moving parts wouldn‘t touch, the turbines would be virtually
frictionless and could capture energy from winds as slow as 1.5 meters (5 feet) per second. Maglev turbines
could lower the price of wind energy to less than 5 cents per kilowatt-hour, which is on par with coal-generated
electricity and only about half the typical cost of wind power.
The generator can dramatically lowers operational expenses of wind farms — by as much as 50 per cent. The
researchers say that a 1-gigawatt maglev turbine would cost $53 million to build and may require 100 acres of land,
but it could supply electricity to 750,00 homes. In comparison, it would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to
build a wind farm of similar capacity using traditional turbines, and it would require 64,000 acres of land to house
the 1000 turbines.