Inspire

Bio-inspired wind turbines increase efficiency by 35 per cent

Insect wings adapt to varying wind conditions -  Image via Flickr: tombenson76
Insect wings adapt to varying wind conditions - Image via Flickr: tombenson76

French scientists have presented a new type of ‘bioinspired’ wind turbine using blades which change shape in different wind speeds, increasing their efficiency by more than a third.

Normal wind turbines are designed to operate in a narrow zone, so energy is lost if the wind blows outside this range. It’s also inefficient to place turbines at sites with varying wind speeds.

The research draws on studies of insect wings, looking at how they adapt to varying wind conditions to improve thrust.

The study suggested that reconfiguring blades as insects do would extend the operating range, and would increase the electricity created up to 35 per cent.

Image via Flickr: robef
Wind turbine blades bend in the wind off the UK coast – Image via Flickr: robef
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