Brit Liggett

UpWind Has the Secrets to Building Wind Turbines That Will Power 20,000 Homes

by , 04/19/11

energy production, renewable energy production, worlds biggest renewable energy producer, energy producer, green energy growth, renewable energy growth, wind energy growth

A joint European project called UpWind has announced that new technologies will allow engineers and scientists need to start producing wind turbines with 20 megawatt (MW) capacities — that’s enough to power 16,000 to 20,000 homes with a single turbine. Currently the largest wind turbines that have been built have a 5 or 6 MW capacity, and engineers involved in the UpWind project are working on solutions to make larger turbines more cost competitive with those on the market now. They believe the answer lies in laser technology and turbines that move like the flaps of an airplane.

energy production, renewable energy production, worlds biggest renewable energy producer, energy producer, green energy growth, renewable energy growth, wind energy growth

Up until recently it was thought that 20 MW wind turbines were physically and economically impossible to build. The European Union wanted to know if that was truly the case, so they gave $33 million to a team led by the Risø National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy at the Technical University of Denmark (Risø DTU). The scientific collaboration has now revealed their results, and though they believe that building a 20 MW turbine today would be cost prohibitive — it would cost 15 to 20 percent more than today’s turbines — they have found technology that will bring that cost down to a feasible level.

One of the new technologies involves making the blades of the turbines “smart” — essentially, this means that the trailing edge of the turbine would move like the wings of an airplane to catch more wind. The engineers involved in UpWind also recommend the installation and use of LIDAR technology, which measures wind velocity and intensity with lasers. This technology is more efficient at measuring wind than our current option, an anemometer, and it could be integrated into the nose of a turbine to help correctly control the trailing edge movement. Previously these technologies were thought to be too expensive to install in small wind turbines, but when you up the size, the cost benefits level out and larger turbines become a more viable option.

Via Science Daily

Related Posts

LEAVE A COMMENT

or your inhabitat account below

Let's make sure you're a real person:


4 Comments

  1. mercurydan April 20, 2011 at 7:53 pm

    ok
    1) the wind turbine can be raised from the ground, problem solved.
    2)the efficiency is diminished because when wind pushes the paddles to make it turn they push both sides meaning its pushing one side to go and one side to stop. so either place a wind barrier in front of one side to stop the wind pushing the other side of the turbine and you can funnel the wind towards the place u want it. http://magturbine.com/ (problem solved)
    3) number 2 solves this because it funnels wind towards where u want it to blow and stops it from slowing the machine down.
    4)the machine needs guy wires because its based on the Darrieus Machine which is an egg beater type turbine. It needs the guy wires because as the propeller rotates it feels different different forces that are unequal. this means as its going around its weak at one part and strong at another causing it to wobble as the force isn’t constant. wasn’t really a problem with the wind turbine i was talking about
    5) i dont know if u looked at the website i sent about maglev wind but they don’t have this problem. its floating on air and the whole point behind it is to reduce friction thus reduce maintenance.

    All im trying to say is that all these minor problems are fixable. isn’t there any problem solvers left on this planet.
    Advantages can also be added to this to make the vertical axis wind turbine the best thing to use. Now all we need is someone with money and the understanding of efficiency. I know THE GERMANS.

  2. chris offspring April 20, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    taken from http://guidedtour.windpower.org/en/tour/design/horver.htm :

    ————————-

    [...]
    The basic disadvantages are:
    1) Wind speeds are very low close to ground level, so although you may save a tower, your wind speeds will be very low on the lower part of your rotor.
    2) The overall efficiency of the vertical axis machines is not impressive.
    3) The machine is not self-starting (e.g. a Darrieus machine will need a “push” before it starts. This is only a minor inconvenience for a grid connected turbine, however, since you may use the generator as a motor drawing current from the grid to to start the machine).
    4) The machine may need guy wires to hold it up, but guy wires are impractical in heavily farmed areas.
    5) Replacing the main bearing for the rotor necessitates removing the rotor on both a horizontal and a vertical axis machine. In the case of the latter, it means tearing the whole machine down. [...]

    ————————-

    Simply put that means that you don’t save any space at all. If you want a vertical turbine to operate in the strong winds that the newest (and biggest) horizontal turbines operate in, then you need additional towers for said guy wires.
    I recently read an article about offshore wind parks (don’t remember where…maybe even on inhabitat): On the ocean the strong winds are much lower. So vertical turbines could be used instead of horizontal ones whos foundation dives much deeper into the ocean because they are heavier (but on land that’s just not the case ;)

  3. mercurydan April 20, 2011 at 3:52 am
  4. mercurydan April 20, 2011 at 3:51 am

    i still don’t understand why they don’t use MagWind technology with vertical wind turbines instead

  • Read Inhabitat

  • Search Categories

  • Recent Posts

  • Recent Comments

  • Browse by Keyword

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home