Bird and Bat-Friendly Wind Turbines

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Photo credit: Some rights reserved by hddod via Flickr.

The blade of the wind turbine is the primary component that drives the wind’s kinetic energy to the generator. It can be symbolically compared to an oar, where each blade, instead of pushing the fluid, gets pushed by it, transferring the kinetic energy to be converted to electric energy. All wind turbines incorporate blades, no matter what configuration or design it is based from.

But despite the seemingly absolute necessity of long blades for any wind turbine design, it is not really strictly required. Yes, this might sound a little over the top, but it is very possible to design a wind turbine that does not use blades in its standard fashion. There are different kinds of “animal-friendly” wind turbines that operate on a slightly different working principle to achieve an efficient energy yield. Here are some of those alternative designs:

The Funnel-Type Turbine

This is the turbine that was developed by Raymond Green. From what is seen in its official website, the turbine itself is inside a large funnel-shaped casing. The working principle of this turbine is based on the fact that wind can be modified to go faster when it is “bottlenecked” on a smaller area. So, even if the turbine is significantly smaller, wind speeds would always be faster inside the funnel, negating the inefficiency of the turbine’s tiny blades. It is aptly called as the Compressed Air Enclosed Wind Turbine.

Birds and bats are very unlikely to go inside the turbine, and even if they do, they wouldn’t be injured or killed instantly. The turbine is also at the very end of the funnel, with its back side safely encased.

The Screw Turbine

The design for this turbine is not actually new, and in fact a few turbine configurations have already adopted this idea. However TESNIC’s own screw-type turbine is also encased like the funnel-type one, and is partly based on a Tesla turbine. According to TESNIC, the screw-shaped blade harvests most of the wind, while the air inside the screw boosts its spinning power as it “adheres” to the strategically  installed disks inside. So, it works almost exactly the same as a vertical axis wind turbine, with the exception of its internal “spin booster”.

Since the spinning screw turbine appears as a fuzzy wall, it is quite unlikely that animals would try to poke their noses into it as it operates. They also won’t try to fly into something that looks like a solid obstruction.

The Parabolic Dish Turbine

The previous two turbines may just be a modified adaptation of the standard wind turbine, but this one really boggles the mind when you first see it. Developed by Saphon Energy, the wind turbine is shaped like a parabolic dish. It uses “sails” that make up the body of the “wind turbine”. As the wind blows, the sail is moved back and forth, following a knot path that allows the conversion of kinetic energy using pistons. A hydraulic motor then catches the energy collected by the pistons, converting it to electricity. The energy from the pushing pressure could also be stored directly into a hydraulic accumulator when needed.

Because it does not have any blade of some sort, it is perfectly safe for flying animals. Birds can even perch on top of it, and even if they have some sort of aviation mishap, they would just end up crashing into a flexible sail. You’d have to worry about the efficiency of the wind turbine if too much birds land on it though.

Christian Crisostomo
About Christian Crisostomo (260 Posts)

Christian Crisostomo is just your average tech geek that loves to see man's newest and most recent technological exploits. He holds great interest in the potentials of green technology, and is enthusiastic about the continuous development of environment-friendly alternative energy.

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One Comment on “Bird and Bat-Friendly Wind Turbines

  1. Pingback: The Impact of Energy Development on the Environment: A Look at Wildlife with Dr. Michael Hutchins – News Watch

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