SCIENCE IN THE NEWS DAILY
Wind Turbines Take a Lesson From Lance Armstrong
from ScienceNOW Daily News
Arranging wind turbines like a school of fish could reduce the amount of land they take up by 100-fold while maintaining their electrical output, say researchers. Wind farms based on the approach might also be considerably safer for migrating birds.
Whether it's Lance Armstrong bicycling behind his teammates in the Tour de France or a storm of fish slicing their way through the ocean, animals benefit from drafting. The leader breaks through the calm air or water, while the followers enjoy the reduced resistance in the leader's wake.
The same doesn't hold true for horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWTs), the most common kind of windmill. Placing one HAWT in another's draft drastically reduces the efficiency of the trailing windmill. That's because the turbulent breeze created by the leading turbine's blades can't propel the trailing blades as well as an unobstructed airflow. So engineers spread the giant fans across hundreds of hectares of land--a practice that has created a backlash from people who find the turbines unsightly.
Read more ...
Connect With Us:
PODCAST & VIDEO: Engineering Around Extreme Events
Extreme events, such as super floods and hurricanes, are becoming more common, so civil engineers are trying to adapt civil infrastructure such as bridges to these unpredictable and sometimes devastating meteorological events. Engineer Ana Barros discusses how engineering can prepare us for extreme weather events, but also how changing climate and population conditions can affect the ability of infrastructure to hold up over time.
To view all multimedia content, click "Latest Multimedia."
Receive notification when new content is posted from the entire website, or choose from the customized feeds available.