Published on June 21st, 2012 | by Joshua S Hill2
Bigger Is Better for Wind Turbines
June 21st, 2012 by Joshua S Hill
Scientists have concluded in a new study that, the larger the wind turbine, the greener the electricity it produces. The report appears in the American Chemical Society journal Environmental Science & Technology.
Marloes Caduff and colleagues concluded that wind power is an increasingly popular source of electricity, providing almost 2 percent of global electricity worldwide, a figure that is expected to reach 10 percent by 2020.
The size of turbines is also increasing
One study recently showed that the average size of commercial turbines has grown 10-fold in the last 30 years, from diameters of 50 feet back in 1980 to nearly 500 feet today.
Unsurprisingly, super-giant turbines approaching 1,000 feet in diameter are on the horizon, which pushed the authors into wanting to determine whether larger was better.
Their study showed that bigger turbines do in fact produce greener electricity, for two primary reasons:
- Manufacturers now have the knowledge, experience, and the technology to build big wind turbines with great efficiency, minimizing the need for research and development.
- Advanced materials and designs permit the efficient construction of large turbine blades that harness more wind without proportional increases in their mass or the masses of the tower and the nacelle that houses the generator. In other words, more clean power without the large increases in the amount of material necessary for construction or fuel for transportation of said materials.