Aerodynamics

Insects can halve wind-turbine power

Abstract

For no apparent reason, the power of wind turbines operating in high winds may drop, causing production losses of up to 25 per cent1. Here we use a new flow-visualization technique to analyse airflow separation over the blades and find that insects caught on the leading edges in earlier low-wind periods are to blame. These potentially catastrophic power glitches can be prevented simply by cleaning the blades.

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Figure 1: Insects cause multiple levels of power output from wind turbines.

References

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Correspondence to Gustave P. Corten.

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Corten, G., Veldkamp, H. Insects can halve wind-turbine power. Nature 412, 41–42 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1038/35083698

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