something fishy about wind power

Discussion in 'Energy' started by Old Rocks, Nov 28, 2009.

  1. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Learning from nature.

    Fish inspire wind farm configuration - physicsworld.com

    Conventional wind turbines work best when located as far as possible from the destructive vortices of neighbouring turbines. However, a pair of scientists in the US have worked out that the performance of other kinds of turbine actually improves when they are placed close to one another, concluding that wind farms could therefore be made much smaller than they are today.

    The familiar propeller-like turbine with a horizontal axis of rotation can convert 50% or more of the energy from the wind that it is exposed to. In a wind farm, however, the wake from one turbine will disturb the air reaching the blades of its neighbours meaning that turbines must be placed far apart. Typically, to ensure that it generates about 90% of the power that it would in isolation, a turbine must be placed about three rotor diameters from its nearest lateral neighbours and around 10 rotor diameters from the turbine downstream. For a rotor with a diameter of 100 m this latter figure becomes 1 km – a considerable distance.
     
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  2. AllieBaba
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    In other words, they're a crappy alternative, they produce miniscule amounts of power, and a huge waste of land, money and time.

    I'm surrounded by them.
     
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  3. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    No, that is not what the article is saying at all. However, I am glad that you get to see one of the good ways of generating power up close. You could be just down wind of a dirty coal plant.
     
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  4. dilloduck
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    Shit that makes me happy as hell wooo hooo
     
  5. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Fish inspire wind farm configuration - physicsworld.com

    How fish save on energy
    Now, Robert Whittlesey and John Dabiri of the California Institute of Technology have worked out how best to arrange such closely spaced turbines by drawing on the work of aeronautical engineer Daniel Weihs, who showed in the 1970s how fish save on energy by swimming within schools. Such fish form a series of offset rows, and Weihs found that fish get carried forward by the vortices created by the swimming motion of their two closest companions in the row immediately in front of them. Whittlesey and Dabiri wondered whether the relative spacing of vortices produced by an individual fish might serve as a good template for the arrangement of vertical-axis turbines within a wind farm and set up a computer model to test this idea.

    The researchers took wind speed and other measurements from a vertical-axis turbine and then fed these data into the model, in which they analysed various arrangements of virtual turbines to see if any of these would lead to greater average rotation than that that of a free-standing turbine. What they found was that a staggered column of alternately clockwise- and anticlockwise-rotating turbines significantly enhances the speed of turbine rotation. The reason, they say, is that the presence of neighbouring turbines concentrates and accelerates the wind.
     
  6. AllieBaba
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    I live a few miles from the Columbia and John Day Rivers.

    The Indians want to take out the dams. Then we'll be compelled to either use coal or possibly nuclear, as there is no way the windfarms generate even a miniscule fraction of what we need. And there is no way to make enough of them to do it.
     
  7. Big Fitz
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    Nice. Now we can get 50% more power and break the 10% total generation barrier after spending billions more... as compared to one nuclear reactor that has a geographical footprint that is incredibly small by comparison and do hundreds if not thousands of times the work.

    Nice trade up.
     
  8. Toronado3800
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    I detect amazing animosity towards a modest scientific advance.

    This is another small step in the right direction. Neat article.

    I can't wait to see the new cost benefit analysis.
     
  9. Big Fitz
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    I will say this about windmills. They are good for small residential scale as a SUPPLIMENTAL form of power. They are not, nor never should be a main source. Same can be said for solar. If you made it cost effective for people to put those on their property and sell power to the grid, I guarantee you that you will see them popping up like TV antennas in the 1950's. EVERYONE would want one to lower their power bills and possibly even MAKE money!

    But right now, zoning laws and anti-competitive regulations make this cost prohibitive. I know you haven't seen it here, but this has been my stance about Solar and Wind for a long long time. Given my druthers and the ability to build the house I want, I'd have both.

    You need something more potent and reliable for the backbone of your power grid. This is where you need the most efficient and cheapest forms of energy to maximize savings. That would be Hydroelectric or Nuclear. So we either need to start flooding more valleys, or building nukes.
     
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  10. Toronado3800
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    I essentially agree with everything you said!

    Ameren UE does things like use overnight surplus hydro power here to pump water into uphill reservoirs that they can release at will when power demands are higher for Air Conditioners and the like during the day. If windmills ever reach too high a percentage of our power generating capacity then more of this will be needed, but its not very efficient.
     

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