While wind power provides renewable energy and reduced dependence on fossil fuels, one of the most common objections to new installations is noise produced by the turbines. To remedy this issue, researchers from the University of Cambridge have developed a coating that can be applied to turbine blades to reduce the sound they make. The material, which is made of 3-D printed plastic, can reduce the noise generated by a blade up to 10dB without affecting aerodynamic performance.
Taking inspiration from the intricate design of owl wings that allow the birds to hunt silently, the researchers’ design smooths the passage of air across the edge of the blade’s wing, scattering sound to reduce noise. The scientists expect that by applying the new coating, existing wind power installations could improve their efficiency by spinning turbines faster without creating additional noise, meaning more electricity could be generated with existing equipment.
Interested in wind power but concerned about the space considerations? Check out this guide to Next Generation Turbines that can fit in a smaller space and still help your facility use renewable energy.