Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Can We Design a More Efficient Wind Turbine Which Does Not Kill Bats or Birds?

Can We Design a More Efficient Wind Turbine Which Does Not Kill Bats or Birds?
By Lance Winslow

image: depositphotos
Okay so, folks often ask me what think tanks actually do, you see that's what I do, I run one. Generally, I explain to people that think tanks solve problems, but really it is more than that, and merely solving a problem isn't good enough, because inevitably you solve one problem only to create 3-more, so it's a never ending battle. In fact, perhaps this is why the American People have lost trust in our government leaders. Is it really their fault or is this just the nature of problem solving in complex systems such as; our economy, infrastructure, or the government itself?

Yes, could be, still, there are so many problems to solve it's hard to say which one is worthy of one's brain power. Let's take a simple example as a case study sample here. Not long ago, Mark from the UK was explaining that we need more efficient wind-energy designs, which do not kill birds or bats. Yes, that's true, that is something we need isn't it, especially if you are one who believes in global warming or takes it as a new kind of religion. Mark had contemplated using a hollow ring around the turbine blades to collect the wind "covered with netting or a shield so that animal strikes do not happen."

Well, this is a decent idea actually, however, it doesn't solve the bat problem, the bats crash from flying behind the wind turbines due to the low-pressure area they create + the ultrasound confuses them for a few moments. Birds generally crash due to strikes and then cannot catch their fall due to low pressure area + vortices coming off the blades. They just have not yet evolved for such things.

Also, if we put a netting or screen it will slow the wind down, obstruct it and we lose efficiency that way. I suggested using a venturi like tube system, which would cause the birds to be dejected from the system, just as the sand bypasses the turbine engines on high-performance military helicopters, as the heavier sand is forced around the turbine blades.

Mark believes that "perhaps having a double ring design (one behind the other) would allow for incorporation of this effect using the air from the first ring as a normal wind turbine but after the winds been used it travels into a confined space and is routed between the rings to power the second rings at higher speeds - maybe 2-rings counter spinning."

Yes, such things make sense, although there is a lot of aerodynamics and wind tunnel research showing the challenges of inline turbines, so it becomes an airflow math problem pretty quickly. Trick is to build something "prototype" and then let's test it, if it makes energy then power up your flat, then document it all, then prove it, and then we market the crap out of it - personal wind turbine for your home.

You see, in this case study, we can follow the process, and devise ways to solve the problems that will occur, while solving the present problem at hand, that's the key to real forward thinking innovation. And of course, even a short brain-storming session tends to focus and define the problem, while real solutions are considered. Please think on this.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Future Concepts. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

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