Bio-inspired Wind Energy: From Fish Schools And Seagrass To Better Wind Farms
This talk will describe recent efforts using bio-inspired arrays of counter-rotating vertical-axis wind turbines to reduce the cost, size, and environmental impacts of wind farms. Full-scale field tests of 10-meter tall vertical-axis wind turbines in various counter-rotating configurations have been conducted under natural wind conditions over the past four years. Whereas wind farms consisting of propeller-style, horizontal-axis wind turbines produce 2 to 3 watts of power per square meter of land area, these field tests indicate that power densities an order of magnitude greater can be achieved by arranging vertical-axis wind turbines in layouts inspired by the configurations of schooling fish and seagrass beds. The results suggest an alternative approach to wind farming and pose a broad array of interesting, unanswered scientific questions related to the modeling and control of canopy flows.
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