Acoustics Experts are Working on Making Wind Turbines Quieter
Photo: Flickr, CC
Wind Power is Still a Maturing Technology
University of Adelaide acoustics researchers are investigating the causes of wind turbine noise with the aim of making them quieter. "Wind turbine noise is controversial but there's no doubt that there is noise. Finding ways of controlling and reducing this noise will help us make the most of this very effective means of generating large amounts of electricity with next to zero carbon emissions."
Photo: Flickr, CC
One problem with wind turbine noise is that it is pretty directional. You might not hear anything at the base, but you might hear something farther away if you are in the right (wrong) spot.
"We know generally what causes that noise - as the turbulent air flows over the sharp edge of the blade it radiates sound much more efficiently, so the noise can be heard at some distance," said Dr Doolan.
"What we don't yet understand, however, is exactly how that turbulence and blade edge, or boundary layer, interact and how that makes the noise louder.
"If we can understand this fundamental science, we can then look at ways of controlling the noise, through changing the shape of the rotor blades or using active control devices at the blade edges to disrupt the pattern of turbulence and so reduce the noise."
Having a better understanding of what causes the noise will not only help reduce it, but it could also help with wind farm siting to minimize any inconveniences to people living in the area. It's still better than living next to a coal plant, but that doesn't mean that we shouldn't strive to make a good clean technology even better.
See also: Google Invests $55 Million in California's Massive 1,550MW Alta Wind Farm
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