Armschwinger – Wurmberg, Germany - Atlas Obscura


Wurmberg, Germany

This unusual small wind turbine in Germany has only a single rotor blade. 


Armschwinger is a wind turbine with a single rotor blade, located in the German town of Wurmberg on a farm just south of the town.

The turbine doesn’t have an official name; Armschwinger is just the machine’s nickname. It means “Arm swinger” in German and the name derives from the fact that the inspired invention has just a single rotor blade with a massive counterweight for keeping balance. This design gives the turbine the appearance of a rotating arm when in operation; it looks much different than many of the wind turbines you’re probably used to seeing in the American West.

Armschwinger is a very small wind turbine: its nacelle has a height of just 13.7 metres and its only rotor blade has a length of 4 metres. It has a power output of just 5 kW, which may be just enough for the farm where it stands.

But it’s not the first of its kind. Several much larger wind turbines of this style were built in Wilhelmshaven and Cuxhaven at the end of the 1980s, but they were dismantled after a short time as a result of technical problems. The wear and tear of the constant rotation caused too much stress on the turbine’s primary structure. Wind turbines of this style are also much noisier than conventional designs.

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