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Snow Lets Scientists Study Real-World Turbulence From Wind Turbines

Engineers in the Midwest have been using the region’s bone-chilling winters to their advantage. Unhappy with the computer modelling and small wind tunnels normally used to study how spinning wind turbines interact with the air around them, they turned to the weatherman.

The team from the University of Minnesota and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign set up a powerful light behind a full-sized 2.5 megawatt, 260-foot-tall wind turbine and waited for snow. When a heavy storm eventually started blanketing the area, they recorded how the turbine’s spinning blades left turbulent airflow and swirling vortices behind it.

The snowflakes acted as flow tracers in the turbulent wind and provided the researchers with a new method to understand what happens when the machines operate. The results could be used to fine-tune machine-level and wind farm construction to make both more efficient at harvesting energy from the air.

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University of Minnesota engineers demonstrated the power of moving water during the USA Science and Engineering Festival held in Washington, DC, in April. Their presentation showed visitors that submerged turbines in the path of flowing water can generate electricity.

The method is called hydrokinetic power generation, and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission reports there are a number of projects operating or coming online in the future. As of April 22, the agency lists 16 marine and inland projects around the US with pending preliminary permits that potentially offer 3,969 megawatts of renewable electricity.

See videos below.

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energyfactcheck:

Comprehensive stats on sustainable energy!
Infographic from the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Factbook report series

Some interesting tidbits here on renewables.

energyfactcheck:

Comprehensive stats on sustainable energy!

Infographic from the Business Council for Sustainable Energy and Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s Factbook report series

Some interesting tidbits here on renewables.

(Source: americancouncilonrenewableenergy)

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U.S. Soil Grows Wind Power Garden
by Michael Keller
Wind farms have proliferated across the American landscape over the last four decades. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one wind farm existed California in 1975. It produced enough electricity to power around 4,100 homes. By 2012, 815 wind farms were pumping out enough power for 15 million homes. 
See the Department of Energy’s interactive version.[[MORE]]

U.S. Soil Grows Wind Power Garden

by Michael Keller

Wind farms have proliferated across the American landscape over the last four decades. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one wind farm existed California in 1975. It produced enough electricity to power around 4,100 homes. By 2012, 815 wind farms were pumping out enough power for 15 million homes. 

See the Department of Energy’s interactive version.

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