They're not the perfect source of renewable energy, but wind turbines could soon be more efficient and as silent as the wind thanks to a radical new redesign by an Australian company.
The traditional wind turbine design can actually produce a lot of noise as the wind comes off the tips of the three blades as they slice through the air. So instead of three large blades, the Eco Whisper employs 30 smaller ones that are capped with a specially designed cowl ring that makes them virtually silent in most conditions. Their unique cone shape allows the blades to automatically rotate into the direction of the wind, without the need for a heavy tail structure.
The redesign also makes the blades more efficient at catching the wind, so the turbine produces about 30 per cent more power at average speeds, and will keep running when the winds are very slow. The smaller blades allow the Eco Whisper turbines to be about half the height of a three blade turbine. As a result the engineers were able to integrate a hinge into the support pole so it can be easily lowered for maintenance, or to prevent damage in the event of extreme conditions. It certainly sounds like an all around improvement, so here's to hoping they can get it produced at a competitive price to encourage wide adoption. [Eco Whisper Turbine via Gizmag]