02 Dec 2008 05:12:43
New wind turbine design could triple power
A new wind turbine design which can generate as much energy as a conventional turbine with blades twice the size has been developed by scientists.
Using wind channelling technology found in jet engines, the designers at FloDesign Wind Turbine, have come up with a turbine that avoids one of the limits faced by many turbines.
Approaching wind is deflected as it nears the blades so even the most efficient existing designs capture 59.3 per cent of wind energy, reports the MIT Technology Review.
However, the new design features a shroud around the rotors which traps and directs air over the blades and makes the device resemble the air intake of a jet engine.
The design sees the wind funnelled towards the rotors slowed down as the blades spin, while the air outside continues at its usual speed. The difference between the fast air and the slow air behind the rotors creates an area of low pressure that sucks wind through the turbine, meaning less wind energy is lost.
Paul Sclavounos, professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, said the design could double or triple a turbine's power output.
According to the British Wind Energy Association, rotors are currently built up to 80 metres in diameter.
The bigger the rotor blades and the higher into the atmosphere they reach, the more wind power they can harness.http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/21737/?a=f