900 Foot Offshore Wind Turbine Mimics Spinning Sycamore Seeds (Video)


Photo via mrpbps via Flickr CC

The mantra of offshore wind turbine design seems to be "Bigger! Bigger!" in order to get more power out of single turbines. But going hand in hand with making turbines bigger is that they become heavier. British engineers are hoping that a new design that mimics the way sycamore seeds spin through the air will help lighten up the weight of offshore turbines. While the challenge remains to boost efficiency and durability while making it ever lighter, the new design looks promising -- and big. Check out a video of the next wave of wind power. Daily Mail reports, "British engineers are working on a design for the Aerogenerator which would rotate on its axis and would measure nearly 900 feet from tip to tip, generating up to 10MW."

The new Aerogenerator X was revealed by London architects Grimshaw and engineers Arup, which back the design by British company Wind Power.

The turbine has two blades that form a V-shape, with sails along their length -- much the way a sycamore seed has a "sail" attached that makes it spin in the breeze to travel farther before landing. Wind passes over the sails, generating lift which can turn the structure at around three revolutions per minute.

The engineers behind the design say that the turbine could be scaled up to produce as much as 20MW or more, but that's after perfecting the design to balance weight and efficiency -- this newest design, the Aerogenerator X, is twice the power and half the weight of Wind Power's original design. The first iterations of the new turbine design could be up and running as quickly as 2013.

10MW Aerogenerator X © Wind Power Limited & Grimshaw from Wind Power Limited on Vimeo.


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Tags: Alternative Energy | Biomimicry | Concepts & Prototypes | Wind Power

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