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Wind

Looking like an unassuming weapon from Oddjob's arsenal, the Unbreakable Umbrella is the weapon of choice for well-heeled bowler-hatted gentlemen cum ninja assassins everywhere. It's also a good buy for anyone who has some cash to splash on a nifty umbrella that not only keeps the rain off but can carve up a watermelon with one well-placed chop. Read More
While technological innovations of the 19th Century opened up the possibility of rapid circumnavigation of the globe and inspired Jules Verne to pen his famous novel, Around the World in Eighty Days, Louis Palmer is hoping a race to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days in zero emission, electric powered cars will harness public interest and inspire new ways of thinking about mobility, cars and renewable energy solutions. When the starting flag drops on August 15, 2010 in Geneva, contestants in the Zero Race will set off eastwards on a 30,000 km (18,641 mile) route that will take them through 20 countries, with stops in around 150 major cities along the way... and not only must the race teams drive zero emissions vehicles, they must also produce their own electricity back home using renewable sources. Read More
Renault took the wraps off a ripping pocket rocket at the Geneva Motor Show - just 3.83 meters long, the WIND transforms from coupé to roadster in 12 seconds, offering a sports car that’s practical enough for everyday use as it has a generous 270 dm3 VDA of boot space that is unaffected by the position of the roof. The Renault Wind will go on sale in Europe this summer with a choice of a 133 horsepower 16-valve 1.6 liter or a 100-horsepower 1.2-liter turbocharged engine. Read More
If you’ve ever seen a commercial-scale wind turbine in real life, then you’ll know that they’re huge – a single blade can be as long as 60 meters (197 feet). Researchers from Denmark’s Risoe DTU National Laboratory for Sustainable Energy tell us that such blades can flex by up to six meters (20 feet) when subjected to strong wind gusts. Worse yet, the gust load is often not evenly distributed along the length of the blade, so it doesn’t flex evenly. Fortunately, the researchers are working on addressing this problem, by attaching flexible flaps to the trailing edges of the blades. These flaps come in the form of silicone rubber strips, which run the length of the blade. The result, we’re told, will be quieter, higher-output turbines. Read More
The world’s biggest wind turbine will be constructed in Norway. The prototype turbine will stand 162 meters (533 feet) tall and feature a rotor diameter of 145 meters (475 feet). It is expected to be capable of generating 10-megawatts – enough to power 2,000 homes. The turbine will be tested on land in Øygarden in Hordaland County, Norway, for two years but is intended for offshore placement, where the winds are stronger and more consistent, and the concerns of ruined views and vibrations are removed. Read More
Imagine you're a competitive sailboat racer, about to go into the richest and most storied of all sailing races with a squillion-dollar boat and a razor-sharp crew. Now imagine somebody hands you a device that can quite literally map out the wind activity up to a kilometre out in front of you, showing wind speed, direction and turbulence - and giving you the almost superatural ability to adjust your sails and take maximal advantage of a wind pattern before you even reach it. It's almost an unfair advantage, isn't it? Well, this is the situation that BMW Oracle Racing's Russell Coutts finds himself in as the team gears up to take on defending champions Alinghi in the 2010 America's Cup. The device is called a Racer's Edge laser wind sensor, and it's built around a technology base that's being used to optimise wind power generators. We caught up with Phil Rogers, CEO of Catch the Wind, Inc, to find out more. Read More
While windtunnels have long been employed in aerospace and all forms of race engineering, we’re likely to see them employed more frequently in future in the quest for improved fuel efficiency from our automobiles. Ecomodder.com’s Darin Cosgrove recently added this 1.37 tailpiece to his Pontiac Firefly to improve its drag coefficient from 0.34 to 0.23 and its fuel efficiency by 15.1 percent at 90kmh (56mph). Read More
Umbrellas have been around for thousands of years but, aside from the introduction of the collapsible umbrella in 1935, their design has remained largely unchanged - despite the well known design flaws that see them flip inside out in strong winds or threaten to take out an eye with their pointy rib tips. It was this threat to his eyeballs as he negotiated busy London streets in wet weather that set 1.9 m tall New Zealand designer Greig Brebner on a mission to design a better umbrella – a goal he believes he has achieved with the Blunt Umbrella. Read More
European tests have shown that a boat tail – a tapering protrusion mounted on the rear of a truck – leads to fuel savings of 7.5 percent. The fuel savings, which also means a cut in emissions, were realized by the boat tail dramatically reducing the drag caused by the lower-pressure effect that occurs in the wake of a vehicle. Read More
Plans for the installation of wind farms the world over are being delayed or abandoned due to objections from the aviation community or air defense interests. The problem is that when it comes to low flying aircraft or wind turbines, conventional radar has a bit of an identity crisis - not being able to tell the difference. Recent tests in the UK of "stealth" turbine technology could provide a solution. Read More
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