Crazy ideas for next-gen wind turbines
Is there any image that represents a renewable energy future better than a stately white wind turbine turning on a hillside? Well, don't get too used to it! Researchers are coming up with all sorts of crazy ideas to improve on the current turbine model, the Los Angeles Times’ Tiffany Hsu reports. Here’s what future wind turbines will look like:
They'll be big. Blades could be 100 yards long within a decade. Or they'll be "fat enough to fit a double-decker bus inside," Hsu writes.
They'll also be small. Home-scale wind turbines might be shorter than a basketball player. And a CalTech study showed recently that vertical wind turbines, set close together at lower heights, can generate just as much energy as taller, more traditional pinwheels.
They'll move in strange patterns. One prototype has blades that move in a figure eight.
They'll be strangely shaped. They'll look like "a giant inflatable hamster wheel" or "a spiral staircase wrapped in a white sheet" or "upright eggbeaters."
Possibly they will fly. One inflatable prototype is described as “a giant spinning blimp.”