The Wind Lens is a simple round shroud (video) that can be retro-fitted to cover a variety of existing wind turbines, providing up to three times more wind power generation than before. It was developed by Kyushu University in Japan in reaction to the Fukushima nuclear disaster — an event that emphasized the need to develop alternative means of energy production. The Lens’ diffuser and brim create strong wind vortices and a low pressure region behind the turbine. The increased pressure difference between the front and back of the turbine amplifies the wind flow into the Wind Lens, potentially tripling wind speeds.
Professors at the university are now aiming to implement the design at sea on hexagonal platforms (photo above). The designers hope that the shroud could enable wind turbines to replace all the power currently generated by nuclear power plants in Japan, at a cheaper per dollar Mega-Watt hour (MWh) cost.
Similar projects have been undertaken in the U.S., in particular the Carbon Valley Project which is utilizing current wind turbine technology to achieve cheaper than coal power generation prices. The U.S. already has roughly 850,000 square miles of land suitable for high yield wind power production, according to International Clean Energy Analysis, which ranks the U.S. 3rd in the world in total wind energy potential.
A recent theoretical study estimates that if we were to use merely a 20% of the total area available, we could account for a third of the total annual energy needs of the U.S., with the potential to triple that output, thanks to the Wind Lens. The potential exists to cover the U.S.’s entire 26.6 billion MWh annual power demand by utilizing acreage that equals about ¼ the size of Alaska.
Additionally, with the potential development of wind farms out at sea, there has never been a better opportunity to establish clean, alternative means of power generation that has the potential to cover the USA’s total energy needs at a cheaper cost than coal or nuclear power generation.
additional source: mnn.com
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