World’s most powerful wind turbine will be higher than the Empire State Building!
The world’s most powerful wind turbine will be higher than the Empire State Building and more flexible than a palm tree. This is certainly a revolutionary progress in the production of renewable energy.
Let’s start with the figures: 500 meters high, 200 meters per blade and a capacity of 50 megawatts. The SUMR project of the University of Virginia is still developing, but it marks the keys to where wind power is going: towards the construction of ever-larger giants.
Because the race to build the world’s largest and most powerful wind turbine is not only a matter of megalomania, but also the search for technologies that can maximize the potential of Earth’s winds. A search that will allow us to see incredible things.
Faster, taller, stronger
The great challenge of renewable energies is to improve its price, its production capacity and its efficiency. In the case of wind power that happens by creating larger turbines. And so we have done it. The turbines are already bigger than 20 years ago.
But if we want to make the most of the most constant and powerful sea winds, we need higher turbines and more “sweeping area” (the circular area covered by the blades). In fact, as discussed in the latest issue of Wind Energy, the relationship is not linear. It means, if the blade length is folded, the capacity can grow up to four times.
A mammoth wind technology
The answer to this (and the next step in this way) is called SUMR. It’s a project coordinated by the University of Virginia that works to design the turbine of the 50 megawatts. To do so, they work with structures that bend to the largest turbines today and that surpass in height buildings like the Empire State Building.
This turbine also has some design changes. Instead of three blades it has two located on the rear of the turbine. Usually fewer blades would make the turbine less efficient. But the calculations of the equipment show that the new design allows balancing efficiency, structural weight and costs with this design.
They are also designed to be located more than 80 km from the coast where the winds are more intense. So question is where SUMR presents its greatest innovation. The answer is the blades are flexible. The design has been inspired by the palm trees and according to their calculations they could withstand winds over 253 kilometers.
After the industrial design, the engineering challenge
However, there are still many problems to solve before starting the first turbine. Most of them are due to their real construction (raising a mole of 500 meters in height to 80 km of the coast is nothing simple).
In the next two years, the SUMR team is going to build ever-larger prototypes to test a wind technology. If that succeeds, it will have the potential to revolutionize the world of renewable energy.