It looks like the lovechild of an airplane window and a box fan, minus, well...the fan part. Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has developed a bladeless wind turbine.
A working prototype was built on a small scale and according to its makers, it's well suited to urban milieus because there are no intermittent shadows and it causes far less noise than standard wind turbines.
It's called the EWICON (Electrostatic Wind Energy Converter), and it could be a game changer.
The project is a joint venture between Dutch architecture firm Mecanoo and Delft University, who wondered whether it would be possible to convert kinetic energy from wind into electricity without turning blades.
So how does it work? Well, the explanation gets a little technical, but basically the turbine uses electrically charged water droplets to generate power. Check out this video for a full explanation:
The EWICON can be installed in various locations - on land or sea - and can also be integrated on to the roof of a tall building.
As for why a bladeless turbine is a big deal, it could help solve two of the biggest problems with standard wind power: intermittent shadows and loud noise.
Some people living near large-scale wind turbine projects have reported seeing flashes and strobe lights because of the intermittent shadows that standard turbines produce.
And British and American researchers studied noise levels at a green energy project in Maine and found that proximity to wind farms is correlated with sleep disturbances.
Conventional wind turbine installations have also created blowback in provinces like Ontario, with various community groups rising up to fight new projects due to these and other associated health concerns as well as concerns about the dangers caused to migrating birds.