TechCondor-inspired wind turbines may boost efficiency by ten percent

Condor-inspired wind turbines may boost efficiency by ten percent

Condor-inspired wind turbines may boost efficiency by ten percent
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6:51 AM EDT, April 26, 2024

Scientists have unveiled an innovative design for wind turbine blades inspired by the wings of Andean condors. This design modification could boost turbine efficiency by an average of 10 percent.

An article in the latest "Energy" journal issue described how wind turbine blades with curved tips, mirroring the wingtips of a condor, could more efficiently harness wind energy and reduce air resistance.

The Andean condor, residing in the Andes mountains, stands as the largest flying bird on Earth by combined measurement of weight and wingspan. It can weigh up to 33 pounds, and its wingspan can easily exceed 9.8 feet. Known also as the giant condor or Andean condor, this bird excels at energy conservation by skillfully utilizing rising air currents to glide vast distances in search of food, thereby minimizing wing flapping.

Giant condors, among other birds, feature wings with upturned tips which enhance their lift. These adaptations, known as winglets, have been incorporated into airplane wing designs but have yet to be applied to wind turbine blades that generate electric power. The primary challenge lies in the immense size of modern wind turbines.

Research led by Khashayar Rahnamaybahambary at the University of Alberta in Canada has shown that employing blades with curved tips inspired by the condor's wings could offer significant advantages. Simulations indicate that such design changes could lessen air resistance and lift turbine efficiency by roughly 10 percent.

The simulation's innovator has pointed out that winglets could be easily attached to current turbines by attaching them to the blade ends "like socks." Efforts now focus on conducting real-world turbine tests to validate these theoretical findings.

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