Monday, 26 July 2010

Giant offshore turbine that mimics sycamore seeds

A giant wind turbine design that mimics the spiralling motion of a sycamore seed could revolutionise the wind power industry.

British engineers are working on a design for the Aerogenerator which would rotate on its axis and would measure nearly 900 feet from tip to tip, generating up to 10MW.

News of the design comes after Lib Dem Energy Secretary Chris Huhne signalled a dramatic increase in the number of wind farms to be built in Britain – as he said there was no money in the pot to pay for nuclear power stations.

Engineering firm Wind Power is developing the Aerogenerator with architects Grimshaw, academics at Cranfield University and is also working with Rolls Royce, Arup, BP and Shell on its revolutionary design.

Those behind the design say that it could expanded to produce turbines that generated 20MW or more of power.

Scaling up the diameter of a conventional wind turbine would produce far more power from each device but would make them extremely heavy so engineers are now looking at ways of adapting the design to make them more efficient.

The Aerogenerator has two arms jutting out from its base to form a V-shape, with rigid 'sails' mounted along their length. As the wind passes over these they act like aerofoils, generating lift which turns the structure as a whole at roughly three revolutions per minute.

The first Aerogenerator could be up and running by 2013.

full article

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