Feeds

Big new wind turbines too close together, says top boffin

Latest windfarms 'underperforming'

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A top American fluid-dynamics boffin says that new, larger wind turbines now going into service are going to have to be placed much further apart - which will have serious implications for the amount of energy produced by wind farms of the future.

The latest wind farms now going into service use huge turbines with rotor diameters in the 100m range, expected to offer large outputs. But according to engineering professor and fluid dynamics expert Charles Meneveau of Johns Hopkins University, there's a problem.

“The early experience is that they are producing less power than expected,” says Meneveau. “Some of these projects are underperforming.”

The prof, who has investigated air flow in wind farms for years, looked into the matter of the underperforming monster turbines along with Johan Meyers of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Belgium.

“I believe our results are quite robust,” says Meneveau. “They indicate that large wind farm operators are going to have to space their turbines farther apart.”

Big turbines are at the moment generally installed about seven rotor diameters apart, but Meneveau and Meyers say that the optimum spacing is actually 15 diameters, slightly more than twice as far apart.

If this plan were followed, a wind farm covering a given area would only be able to install a quarter of the number of turbines it could have under today's planning assumptions. Though the amount of energy generated per turbine would be the best possible, it seems unlikely that such efficiency gains could possibly compensate for the cut in numbers.

On the other hand, if windfarms continue to be constructed with turbines crowded more closely together, they will continue to produce less electricity than their builders had expected.

Overall the professor's research would appear to mean that projected output figures for large new windfarms - for instance the UK's planned, enormous offshore Round 3 facilities, expected to be built in the North Sea from 2015 - will have to be revised downwards one way or another.

Professor Meneveau presented the research, based on wind tunnel studies carried out at Johns Hopkins, at a physics conference recently. The outlines of it are reported in The Johns Hopkins University Gazette. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
LOHAN packs bags for SPACEPORT AMERICA!
Spanish launch goes titsup, we're off to the US of A
Gigantic toothless 'DRAGONS' dominated Earth's early skies
Gummy pterosaurs outlived toothy competitors
'Leccy racer whacks petrols in Oz race
ELMOFO rakes in two wins in sanctioned race
Boffins ID freakish spine-smothered prehistoric critter: The CLAW gave it away
Bizarre-looking creature actually related to velvet worms
CRR-CRRRK, beep, beep: Mars space truck backs out of slippery sand trap
Curiosity finds new drilling target after course correction
Astronomers scramble for obs on new comet
Amateur gets fifth confirmed discovery
Boffins build CYBORG-MOTHRA but not for evil: For search & rescue
This tiny bio-bot will chew through your clothes then save your life
Vulture 2 takes a battering in 100km/h test run
Still in one piece, but we're going to need MORE POWER
What does a flashmob of 1,024 robots look like? Just like this
Sorry, Harvard, did you say kilobots or KILLER BOTS?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.