Phenomena

Vertical Axis Wind Turbines

Most people are familiar with the propeller-like shape of conventional wind turbines. These turbines can be more than 100m tall and can generate several megawatts apiece, but placing them in arrays requires a lot of open space because flow downstream of one turbine will interfere with the efficiency of the next. Vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT), like those shown in the photo above, are smaller and produce a fraction of the power of their larger horizontal-axis counterparts, but VAWTs can be placed much closer together. In fact, putting them in closely spaced arrays can actually increase their output through flow synergies. Researchers hope that eventually VAWT arrays will be able to produce significantly more power per land area than conventional wind turbines. (Image credit: Texas A&M Corpus Christi)

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