Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Wind turbine

Chinese researchers have developed a biologically inspired control system for wind turbine...

Wind turbines are exposed to a wide variety of wind conditions, from zephyrs to gales, and ensuring the maximum amount of power is extracted from the turbine across a range of wind speeds is a difficult task. Chinese researchers have now developed a biologically inspired control system that uses “memory” of past experience to learn how to best adapt to changing conditions.  Read More

Heath Evdemon has designed a new kind of wind turbine based on reciprocating motion that's...

From huge kites to sea-bound flywheels and roof-top installations to tree-like art creations, we've seen many different approaches to capturing energy from the wind. One design, though, reigns supreme - the tri-blade turbine tower. It's not exactly a trouble-free life at the top and there are those who do not look upon these monsters favorably, most often complaining about the noise and the not so picturesque view. With support from Nottingham Trent University's Future Factory project, Heath Evdemon is currently building a new type of wind turbine called the Wind Harvester that's claimed to be virtually silent, doesn't need to loom high over the landscape and can operate in a variety of wind conditions.  Read More

With 102 turbines, the Walney offshore wind farm, which opened yesterday, has become with ...

Walney wind farm off the coast of Cumbria in the UK yesterday became the world's largest offshore wind facility. One hundred and two turbines over 73 sq km (28 sq miles) provide a maximum output of 367.2 MW. It's claimed the facility will provide enough power for about 320,000 homes - half as many again as the total number in Cumbria.  Read More

The proposed WindFlip system would use barges that sink stern-first into the ocean, for tr...

While large offshore turbines can be very effective at harnessing the power of the wind, they do pose at least one challenge – how do you get them out into the ocean? One option is to bring them to their deployment site on board a ship, partially assembled, then put them together on location. Doing that kind of work on the pitching deck of a ship can be challenging, however, and requires crews to stay out at sea longer. Another option involves towing them from shore in their final, vertical orientation, but this requires an uninterrupted channel of deep water, and limits the speed at which they can be transported. Now, Norwegian company WindFlip is developing an alternative method that can accommodate shallow water, while allowing for relatively high transport speeds and a minimum amount of time spent putting the turbines in place.  Read More

The large kites in the KiteGen system are able to take advantage of high-altitude winds (I...

Wind-power has rapidly evolved over the last decade to become a key part of the alternative energy mix with towering rows of turbines now dotting horizons all over the globe. One of the drawbacks to the conventional windmill approach is that they are still low to the ground, so why not go to where the winds are stronger and more consistent - up. Like the Magenn Air Rotor System, KiteGen technology is aiming to do just that. The system generates energy by guiding tethered kites over a predefined flight path in order to rotate a ground based turbine and, while only in the testing and planning phases, it looks to be a promising solution.  Read More

eSolar's 5 MW Sierra SunTower installation covers 20 acres and will provide power 'up to 4...

Recently the Cleantech Group, with the assistance of an advisory panel of corporate executives, sat down to decide upon the third annual Global Cleantech 100: the hundred "most promising and innovative" clean technology companies of 2011. The listed companies span a range of industries, and though solar energy firms, chemical recyclers, LED manufacturers and energy-monitoring software programmers certainly aren't under-represented, many companies in the hundred are defined by a single product or idea. Gizmag scoured the Cleantech 100 to find what we thought were the ten most innovative companies.  Read More

Renewable Energy Solutions Australia recently unveiled the first working installation of w...

Brisbane's Renewable Energy Solutions Australia (RESA) recently unveiled the first working installation of what is claimed to be the world's quietest wind turbine. The Eco Whisper Turbine is capable of producing 20kW of electricity despite being about half the height and having half the blade diameter of more familiar three-bladed solutions, and is able to automatically adjust the position of the blades to maximize wind capture.  Read More

Tethered to the base station, Wing 7 flying wind turbine ascends to a height of 1,300 feet...

Wind can be an unpredictable and unstable source of power, and high in the sky where it is more stable, it's difficult to exploit. Airborne wind turbines could provide a solution to this problem, but although the idea has been around since the 19th century, it's never been exploited on a larger scale. California's Makani Power aims to change that with its innovative flying wing turbine design. Wing 7 is essentially a cross between a UAV and a wind turbine that's tethered to a ground station from which it ascends to a height of around 1,300 feet (400m) and flies autonomously, generating up to 20-kilowatt of power in a 20mph (35km/h) wind.  Read More

The SeaTwirl's vertical wind turbine (1), torus ring (2), float assembly (3) and generator...

One of the main drawbacks of wind turbines is the fact that for maximum efficiency, the power that they generate must be fed into the grid right as the wind is blowing and their blades are spinning. While that power can be stored in batteries for later use, some of it will always be lost in the process. Sweden's experimental new SeaTwirl system, however, is designed to kinetically store wind energy until it's required - it's basically a seagoing flywheel.  Read More

Carbon nanotube-reinforced polyurethane could make for lighter and more durable wind turbi...

In the effort to capture more energy from the wind, the blades of wind turbines have become bigger and bigger to the point where the diameter of the rotors can be over 100 m (328 ft). Although larger blades cover a larger area, they are also heavier, which means more wind is needed to turn the rotor. The ideal combination would be blades that are not only bigger, but also lighter and more durable. A researcher at Case Western Reserve University has built a prototype blade from materials that could provide just such a winning combination.  Read More

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