Perhaps the most interesting thing about technology of any kind is its ability to be adapted and improved. For wind turbines, GE’s New ecoROTR offers such an advancement. The addition looks like something out of a superhero movie—specifically, a certain shield-wielding Avenger comes to mind—and what it does for the wind turbine is equally super. The dome-shaped attachment allows this turbine to capture wind energy that is lost by standard turbines.

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The new wind turbine design promises a 3 percent increase in performance which, when multiplied over the entire turbine array, totals a substantial amount of additional energy generation. Standing 450 feet tall, the new turbine is still a peculiar-looking experiment. “It almost looks as if an UFO got stuck on the face,” says Mike Bowman, the leader of sustainable energy projects at GE Global Research. “But the dome could be the future of wind.”

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Related: Wind could supply one-third of USA’s electricity by 2050

The dome-shaped addition, affixed to the center of the turbine, deflects wind that would have otherwise passed right through the blades. The dome channels that air outward to the blades, allowing additional energy to be captured. As a hilarious footnote, the scientists behind this design stumbled upon the concept while playing with models constructed from styrofoam balls and toothpicks, proving that sometimes the simplest solution is the best. The shield-like wind deflector is a relatively simple tweak in wind turbine technology, but could make some pretty big waves, given its potential for increased clean energy generation.

+ GE

Images via Chris New/GE Reports