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Whale Fins Inspire Quieter, More Efficient Fans and Wind Turbines

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Humpback whales are the inspiration for a new approach to blade design being used in fans and tested for wind turbines. The bumps along the edge of the whales’ long fins had long been considered an anatomical anomaly, but a biology professor in Pennsylvania has shown that they channel water across the surface of the fin in ways that create more maneuverability and power. Dr. Frank Fish has formed WhalePower to develop new industrial designs based on this discovery; the results are a sharp break from previous attempts to make fan and turbine blade edges as smooth as possible.


Image source: WhalePower.com

The first commercial result are factory fans up to 24 feet in diameter, which use 20 percent less energy and are significantly quieter than previous designs, while distributing the air more evenly. WhalePower is also developing wind turbine blades based on the new design; the first field trials are underway in Canada, and Fish says, “We can actually get more power out of the wind.” Source: Christian Science Monitor, 5/16/08 [READ ARTICLE]

 

2 Responses to “Whale Fins Inspire Quieter, More Efficient Fans and Wind Turbines”

  1. aeinews.org » Blog Archive » Vinalhaven neighbors file complaint; wind turbines get notched to reduce noise Says:

    […] is designed to improve air flow off the blades, thereby reducing noise output by 2-4dB.  See this 2008 AEInews post about earlier research into such […]

  2. Acoustic Ecology Institute weighs in on Vinalhaven turbine noise controversy « Fox Islands Wind Neighbors Says:

    […] is designed to improve air flow off the blades, thereby reducing noise output by 2-4dB.  See this 2008 AEInews post about earlier research into such […]

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