Breeze Please, A Third of U.S. Power May Be Wind by 2050
Wind power has tripled since 2000, and now supplies nearly 5 percent of the country’s electric power. The report says that it could dramatically reduce air pollution and go a long way toward meeting the country’s goals of slowing climate change.
Meanwhile, Spanish engineers have invented the Vortex Bladeless wind turbine, a hollow straw that sticks up 40 feet from the ground and vibrates when the wind passes through it. Instead of using a propeller, the Vortex takes advantage of an aerodynamic effect called vorticity. The result is a turbine that’s 50 percent less expensive than a bladed model and is nearly silent. It’s not as efficient as conventional turbines, but more of them can be placed in the same amount of space, for a net gain of 40 percent in efficiency. Plus, with no gears or moving parts, maintenance is much easier and they are safer for bats and birds.