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Wind turbine

The intermittent nature of wind and solar power generation is one of the biggest challenges facing these renewable energy sources. But this isn’t likely to remain a problem for much longer with everything from flywheels to liquid air systems being developed to provide a cheaper form of energy storage than batteries for times when the wind is blowing or the sun isn’t shining. A new concept out of MIT can now be added to the the list of potential solutions. Aimed specifically at offshore wind turbines, the concept would see energy stored in huge concrete spheres that would sit on the seafloor and also function as anchors for the turbines. Read More
Wind farms may be hitting the big time, but that hasn't deterred inventors and technologists from tinkering, or even reinventing, the turbine itself. In the past few months we've seen wind energy systems that use discs attached to hydraulics and even charged water droplets, but how about skyscrapers outfitted with rotating window panels? This is the idea behind the University of Wollongong's PowerWINDows concept, a modular wind turbine designed to have less of an impact on the surrounding environment. Read More

Currently, wind turbines are inspected for damage in two main ways: someone stands on the ground below them and uses a telescope, or people use rigging systems to actually climb across them. Now, Oregon, Wisconsin-based Helical Robotics is offering an alternative – camera-equipped turbine-climbing robots. Read More

Wind energy may be one of the more sustainable sources of power available, but the spinning blades of conventional wind turbines require regular maintenance and have attracted criticism from bird lovers. That might explain why we've seen wind turbine prototypes that enclose the blades in a chamber or replace them entirely with a disc-like system. But researchers in the Netherlands set out to eliminate the need for a mechanical component entirely and created the EWICON, a bladeless wind turbine with no moving parts that produces electricity using charged water droplets. Read More
Drugstore chain giant Walgreens has announced its intention to build what the company believes will be the first net zero retail store in the United States. Once open for business, engineers anticipate that the combination of solar panels, wind turbines, geothermal technology, energy-efficient building materials, LED lighting and ultra-high-efficiency refrigeration will allow the new store to produce energy equal to or greater than it consumes. Read More
After looking into the pros and cons of nine methods of electricity production (including coal, geothermal, biomass, and solar), a group of 9 and 10 year-olds from Central Park School for Children in Durham, North Carolina decided that their classroom should be powered using only energy from the sun. They hit Kickstarter at the beginning of this month with a modest funding goal of just US$800 to help finance the installation of a small PV panel array – a target that was smashed in less than a day. Read More
The Energy Technologies Institute in the United Kingdom has announced that UK-based wind turbine blade manufacturer Blade Dynamics has been awarded a contract that will see the creation of the world's longest turbine blades, between 80 and 100 meters (262 and 328 feet) in length. Currently, the longest turbine blades are for offshore wind farms, maxing out at 75 meters (246 feet). Read More
Tornadoes generally evoke the destructive force of nature at its most awesome. However, what if all that power could be harnessed to produce cheaper and more efficient electricity? This is just what Canadian engineer Louis Michaud proposes to achieve, with an invention dubbed the “Atmospheric Vortex Engine” (or AVE). Read More
In a bid to help shape the inexorable march toward more efficient wind power, General Electric Power and Water is developing a new fabric-covered wind turbine blade which promises to cut the cost of wind turbine manufacture significantly, while also allowing a larger blade size, and facilitating easier transportation. Read More
Wind farms and airports don’t mix. Unfortunately, when the blades are turning on wind turbines, the motion can interpreted as aircraft on air traffic control radar screens. Needless to say, the results of such confusion could potentially be catastrophic – or at the very least, they could make things much more stressful for already-frazzled air traffic controllers. UK tech firm Aveillant, however, claims that its Holographic Radar system is the solution to the problem. Read More
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