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Industry News:

Turbine Aerodynamics

Unlike the old-fashioned Dutch windmill design, which relied mostly on the wind's force to push the blades into motion, modern turbines use more sophisticated aerodynamic principles to capture the wind's energy most effectively. The two primary aerodynamic forces at work in wind-turbine rotors are lift, which acts perpendicular to the direction of wind flow; and drag, which acts parallel to the direction of wind flow.

Turbine blades are shaped a lot like airplane wings -- they use an airfoil design. In an airfoil, one surface of the blade is somewhat rounded, while the other is relatively flat. Lift is a pretty complex phenomenon and may in fact require a Ph.D. in math or physics to fully grasp. But in one simplified explanation of lift, when wind travels over the rounded, downwind face of the blade, it has to move faster to reach the end of the blade in time to meet the wind travelling over the flat, upwind face of the blade (facing the direction from which the wind is blowing). Since faster moving air tends to rise in the atmosphere, the downwind, curved surface ends up with a low-pressure pocket just above it.

Source:  http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/green-science/wind-power3.htm

The Future of Wind Power

 After years of slow growth, wind power will sprint ahead with the deployment of 40,000 new wind turbines across North America by the year 2015,  according to a new predictive report out of cleantech analysis firm Pike Research.

The sector will be serving up big economic opportunities in the next several years as the government champions wind as the most feasible source of renewable energy, and as older, first-generation turbines are replaced (about 45 percent of turbine sales will be replacements for older models).

That said, the market probably won’t pick up the pace until 2011, when government and private sources of funding are fully absorbed and purposed. In the last year, 8 gigawatts-worth of wind turbines have been installed in the U.S. — pushing its total to 25 gigawatts, enough to power as many as 8 million homes.

This is very promising considering the state of the economy, which had stalled several major wind projects. Now that the market has thawed, these developments and others are prepped to take off.