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2017-06-26. World’s Largest Wind Turbine Would Be Taller Than the Empire State Building.

posted Jul 6, 2017, 9:06 AM by Alan Gould

By Annie Sneed, Scientific American. For GSS Energy Use chapter 10. Excerpt: Wind energy is soaring in the U.S.; the nation’s renewable energy capacity has more than tripled in the past nine years, and wind and solar power are largely responsible. Now businesses want to harness even more wind energy, at a cheaper price—and one of the best ways to lower cost is to build bigger turbines. That’s why an alliance of six institutions led by researchers at the University of Virginia are designing the world’s largest wind turbine at 500 meters tall—almost a third of a mile high, and about 57 meters taller than the Empire State Building. ...The team also envisions these gigantic structures standing at least 80 kilometers offshore, where winds tend to be stronger and where people on land cannot see or hear them, according to Loth. But powerful storms hit such places—off the U.S. east coast in the Atlantic Ocean, for example—so Loth’s team faced the quandary of creating something massive that is also relatively lightweight and still resilient in the face of hurricanes. To tackle the problem, the researchers looked to one of nature’s own design solutions: palm trees. “Palm trees are really tall but very lightweight structurally, and if the wind blows hard, the trunk can bend,” Loth says. “We’re trying to use the same concept—to design our wind turbines to have some flexibility, to bend and adapt to the flow.”...  https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/world-rsquo-s-largest-wind-turbine-would-be-taller-than-the-empire-state-building/