We love wind turbines, and we get pretty excited when we hear about installations of the new generation of turbines already going up with generating capacities as high as 2MW. Imagine our thrill, then, when we see designs such as the Aerogenerator above, which is being developed by a Scottish firm called, imaginatively enough, Windpower (we can’t find a link to their site). We previously covered the design of this baby in its early stages, but according to a report in The Guardian, plans for its deployment have been developing rapidly since then. The Aerogenerator’s creators claim that it can not only generate as much as 9MW of power, it is also capable of harnessing wind from all directions without the need for the usual gearing mechanisms needed in regular horizontal axis turbines. They also claim the design overcomes many of the inherent problems associated with large horizontal axis turbines:
One reason [for problems] is that the weight of the turbine blades becomes prohibitive. As they turn, this places the blades under enormous stress because gravity compresses them as they rise and stretches them as they fall. The larger you make these structures, the more robust they must be in order to withstand these forces.
Add to that the cost and difficulty of building the increasingly large towers needed to keep this top-heavy structure stable and you have a major engineering challenge on your hands. The Aerogenerator team claims its invention gets round these problems. "The centre of gravity is at the bottom," says Sidor, making the structure much more stable.
Unfortunately we’re not likely to see Aerogenerators of this size until 2013 at the earliest, but tests have already been carried out on a miniature version, with positive results. ::The Guardian::via site visit::