Science & Nature

Supersized wind turbine could weather storms by bending like palm tree

Supersized wind turbine could weather storms by bending like palm tree thumbnail

There is a limit to how big existing wind turbine designs can get, which limits the power they can produce, but a new approach inspired by palm trees could help them scale up



Technology



6 January 2023

By Madeleine Cuff

Wind turbine

Analysis of a small prototype (left) suggests a new wind turbine design could be scaled up

Chris Qin (Washington State University)

Wind turbines taller than most skyscrapers, with blades that bend like palm trees, could generate 50 megawatts (MW) of power, according to an analysis of a scaled-down prototype. This would be enough to power about 15,000 US homes.

The largest existing wind turbines top out at around 300 metres tall, more than twice the height of the London Eye, and can generate 15MW of power. Larger turbines produce more power, bringing down the overall …

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