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Researchers design highly efficient wind turbine mimicking bird wings: 'This bio-inspired design can increase the power output'

This is one of many breakthroughs in wind power.

This is one of many breakthroughs in wind power.

Photo Credit: iStock

A retrofit added to wind turbine blades, inspired by the aerodynamic wings of a condor, can boost energy production by an average of 10%, according to a study.

The efficiency of wind turbines is limited by drag, New Atlas explained. Airplane manufacturers get around this issue by using winglets, which sit at the end of an airplane wings and reduce drag. 

Now, researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada, partnering with an industrial design firm, have designed winglets for wind turbine blades, New Atlas reported. The 17.6-foot-long retrofit, meant to be added to a blade wingtip after production, is based on aerodynamic condor wings, which help the raptors glide for long distances without flapping. 

The scientists tested the new winglets using computer simulations and found that the addition increased energy production by 10% on average.

"To sum up, the results of the wake study and the power production suggest that this bio-inspired design can increase the power output of the wind turbines," the researchers said, per New Atlas.

This is one of many breakthroughs in wind power. For instance, one Spanish company has unveiled a bladeless turbine that it says will be easier to manufacture and assemble, require fewer parts and less maintenance, and function in less wind. 

Elsewhere, a Scottish company has developed a honeycomb-shaped wind turbine whose compact nature makes it a good fit for urban areas. 

Investing in more green energy sources like wind and solar can help protect our health by cleaning up the air we breathe. The particulate matter that results from the burning of traditional energy sources like coal, natural gas, and oil is one of the most toxic types of air pollution and can lead to asthma, cancer, heart disease, and premature death, according to the World Bank.

It will also help us avert the worst consequences of an overheating planet, as dirty energy is by far the largest contributor to our warming world, according to the United Nations. As our planet continues to heat up, we are seeing an increase in the frequency and intensity of deadly weather events like hurricanes, flooding, droughts, and increased incidence of some diseases. 

Curbing the heating of our planet can help protect our communities and food supply from these dangers.

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