Published on September 4th, 2012 | by Nicholas Brown11
“Bird-Safe” Wind Turbines May Soon Take Flight
September 4th, 2012 by Nicholas Brown
The impact of wind farms on birds has been a topic of debate and concern for many people for years. To many, wind turbines are utterly destructive “bird blenders,” while others don’t buy into that notion. (We’ll come back to that the issue later in this article.)
To help address the bird issue completely, Jerry Lynch, the president of Sigma Design, is working towards testing, improving, and manufacturing Raymond Green’s patented wind turbine, which is designed with the specific intent to be safe for avian creatures.
The 89-year-old Raymond Green, who is a California resident and World War II veteran, felt strongly about entrusting this technology to a veteran-owned company, and the person of choice was Lynch, who is a former U.S. Navy serviceman.
This turbine design utilizes no exposed turbine blades, but instead a form of air compression cone technology. It’s name? Catching Wind Power® Compressed Air Enclosed Wind Turbine.
Sigma Design is a Middlesex-based company, and this project could create as many as 25 new technology jobs.
“We hope that some visibility sends some people of interest our way, and that we can figure out a way to fund it,” Lynch said.
“We just waited for a good windy day,” Lynch said of the preliminary testing done by his company, which has worked on alternative energy development with about 150 clients around the world during the last 15 years. “We collected some good preliminary data and put together a plan of what needs to be improved and done to commercialize this.”
This turbine can be produced in a variety of sizes, from small personal turbines to large-scale wind farm turbines.
Bird Deaths from Wind Turbines
Due to an unusually large number of avian deaths at the 31-year-old Altamont Pass wind farm, caused by old wind turbine technology that in some ways may actually attract birds because of its lattice structure, wind farms have garnered scrutiny for being destructive to birds. Most wind farms do not kill nearly as many birds as Altamont Pass, however.
Wind turbine bird deaths are actually rare compared to window-caused ones. This may be because wind turbines are obvious, and windows are transparent. Birds fly into windows because they can’t see them.
On top of the fact that Altamont Pass wind farm is 31 years old, and was built when the United States wind industry was still in its infancy (it was one of the earliest wind farms), that wind farm was built right in the place of a bird migratory path.
Altamont Pass bird fatalities account for up to half of all wind-farm caused bird fatalities in the United States combined! So, that wind farm really was built in the wrong place, and with the wrong technology.
Nonetheless, a new wind turbine design that kills fewer birds would be nice… if it can compete with mainstream wind turbines and help to shut off truly deadly coal and natural gas power plants a little quicker.
Source: Daily Record
Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.