The Answer May Be Blowing In The Wind


This windmill, said to be one of world's largest, is seen just after the second of two 32-ton, 80-foot stainless steel blades was set in place at Grandpa's Knob Castleton, Vermont August 25, 1941. The knob is a 2000-foot mountain at Castleton. (AP Photo)

We saw a new interest in wind energy and wind turbines in the last forty years which has been sparked partially due to the oil crisis of 1973, the environmental costs of burning fossil fuels, and the realization that these supplies are not renewable.

In 1975, modeled after an Austrian wind turbine, The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) built a two-bladed wind turbine with flexible or teetered rotor hubs, finding that two blades can produce approximately the same amount of energy as three but at a savings due to not having the cost and weight of a third blade. The rotational speed is increased for two-blade rotors which reduced damaging stress and reduces the gear ration in the gear box. None of the NASA wind turbines experienced failures in the gearbox. None of the NASA prototypes became commonly produced as commercial generators because the purpose of the program was to develop the technology and support the emerging industry.

Although a number of wind turbines were developed and tested, there was a significant decrease in competing energy prices during the 1980s. Concerns over global warming, and the future fossil fuel depletion forced interest in renewable energy, once again, as the 21st century began.

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Posted by on Mar 1st, 2012 and filed under Feature Story. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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