The race to build the world’s most improbably gigantic — and efficient — wind turbine
Modern wind turbines already have blades as big as the wings of jumbo jets, and the tips of them can move at up to 200 mph. Now Britain's Energy Technologies Institute wants to nearly double the generating capacity of the world's largest wind turbines by making the blades EVEN MORE PHENOMENALLY HUGE.
Bigger turbines mean more power. On the drawing board is a monster of a windmill, with blades 295 feet in length, a third longer than the largest currently in use, which top out at around 197 feet.
Big turbines potentially mean cheaper electricity:
“This project is based on our earlier studies which identified that the most cost-effective size for a horizontal axis turbine is likely to be between 8 and 10 MW with significantly larger blades than scaling up current turbines would typically give,” he said
“Investing in this project to develop much larger, more efficient blades is a key step for the whole industry in paving the way for more efficient turbines, which will in turn help bring the costs of generating electricity down,” Mr. Clarke added.
Interestingly, these new turbines are being backed by both the British government and the oil company Royal Dutch Shell, despite the fact that turbines are helping to make oil obsolete. Just one turbine is projected to create energy equivalent of two million barrels of oil over its lifetime.