09 Aug '11, 5pm

What wind turbines can learn from fish:

Wind turbines are loners. They need to give each other space to be effective. But a new design for wind farms , using a different type of turbines than the giant-fan kind going up all over the place, takes a page from a very social group of animals — schooling fish — to create the same amount of energy with shorter turbines, in a smaller area of land. These wind farms use vertical-axis turbines, which are often described as looking like egg-beaters. Like an egg beater's blades, the blades of these turbines move around a vertical pole. (More commonly-used turbines are horizontal-axis turbines: Imagine a straight line extending outwards from the middle of the turbine's pinwheel blades to get the picture.) Vertical-axis turbines are less efficient individually. But they can be placed much closer together than horizontal-axis turbines. If they're placed any which way, that's n...

Full article: http://www.grist.org/list/2011-08-09-what-wind-turbines-c...

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