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(READ): More Wind Power: Not So Simple…

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Source: LiveScience

By 2030 the Department of Energy wants 20 percent of electricity produced in the United States to be generated by wind. Wind currently generates less than 1 percent of the country’s electricity, so the increase will require the number of new wind turbine installations to jump from 2,000 to 7,000 per year, according to the DOE.

Although wind turbines, which typically stand 300 feet tall, are environmentally benign when compared to coal fired power plants, they are much more complex than the simple windmills of the past and face a number of operating problems that scientists are trying to solve. Several papers published recently in physics journals propose solutions to some of the current roadblocks in the path to reaching the 20 percent goal for wind power.

Some of the windiest locations in the nation also happen to be some of the coldest, and early experience with wind farms has revealed that turbine icing is one of the most significant threats facing the efficiency of the turbines.

In the Northern and Midwestern states where the wind blows hard and reliably, temperatures well below freezing are the norm during winter months and ice buildup on the long blades of the turbines can dramatically reduce their efficiency.  Ice accumulation on the blades not only reduces the aerodynamic functions and efficiency of the turbine, but can throw the blades out of balance and force them to stop. Beyond the direct damage to the turbines, the blades shedding large piece of ice as they spin poses significant safety hazards to people and property. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 28, 2009 at 10:27 am

Posted in Earth, Ecology, Science

Tagged with , ,