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FLOWE wind farm design


Windspire wind turbines / William Thom.. / LicenseCC-by-nc-sa - Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike

Wind farm spatial design increases efficiency

Inspiring Strategies

Product or process
As fish swim, they shed tiny vortices. In large schools of fish, individuals transfer energy to each other with these vortices, lowering the energetic costs of swimming. Researcher John Dabiri has taken inspiration from this strategy and applied similar principles to the spatial design of wind farms. By placing vertical-axis turbines (different from the traditional horizontal-axis, propeller-style turbines) close together in a strategic array, energy is gathered by each turbine, while simultaneously directing wind to nearby turbines. Dabiri's research team, supported in part by Windspire Energy Inc., is currently working to determine ideal positioning of turbines to achieve optimal power output.
Challenges solved
The largest issue facing wind farms is the space required for propeller-style turbines to function properly. FLOWE's vertical-axis turbine design demands less space to operate. Turbines are placed in close proximity as a necessary part of the spatial design, significantly decreasing the acreage necessary to gather wind power.
Differences from existing products
Dabiri estimates that once optimal positioning is determined, it may be possible to produce 10 times the amount of wind energy currently generated by a common horizontal turbine wind farm.

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over 5 years ago
could this work with a thermal chimney?
over 5 years ago
13 Jul 2011: Analysis Suggests Ways to
Dramatically Increase Wind Farm Output
A new analysis by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) finds that the power output of wind farms can be increased tenfold — and with fewer environmental impacts — through better positioning of vertical-axis turbines. Because the large turbines used in most modern wind farms are placed far apart to prevent aerodynamic interference, much of the potential wind energy that enters the farms is wasted, according to the paper, published in the Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy. And the common steps taken to compensate for that problem, including construction of bigger blades or taller towers, generate higher costs and greater environmental impacts. Using a test array of vertical-axis wind turbines on a Southern California field, the Caltech researchers showed that more strategic placement of turbines closer to the ground maximizes energy production. The vertical-axis turbines can be placed closer together without causing aerodynamic interference, and researchers found that having each turbine spin in the opposite direction of its closest neighbor increased efficiency, perhaps because the opposing spins decreased the drag on each turbine, allowing them to spin faster.
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About the Product

Company: The Caltech Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy

Product Phase: Under development

Product Type: Wind farm spatial design