‘Acoustic lighthouses’ could warn birds about wind turbines

March 14, 2018 by  
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Birds and humans don’t always co-exist peacefully — each year millions of the small animals fly into buildings, wind turbines , cell towers, and even planes. William & Mary behavioral biologist John Swaddle is working to translate understanding of bird behavior into technology that could hopefully save their lives, including an Acoustic Lighthouse that would guide birds around man-made structures. Here’s how an acoustic lighthouse might work: a directional speaker mounted on a structure like a wind turbine would project a sound warning birds. While flying, birds align their bodies on a horizontal plane for ideal aerodynamics, according to Swaddle . And as their eyes are on the sides of their heads, they’re looking down, not where they’re flying. The sound would essentially prompt them to slow down, and when slowing down, birds lower their tail feathers, moving their bodies “from the horizontal plane to a more vertical position,” according to William & Mary, so they can see the structure and soar around it. Swaddle said, “It’s a bit like someone texting while they’re driving. If you honk your horn at them, they’ll look up.” Related: Painting Wind Turbines Black Could Prevent Thousands of Bird Deaths Every Year “The fundamental knowledge of how birds behave and respond to sound helps us derive these new technologies and solutions,” said Swaddle. He’s also developed a concept called Sonic Nets, intended to disrupt gatherings of birds in places like airports, parking lots, or crop fields. Swaddle recently spoke at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting on reducing strike risk between birds and wind turbines and airplanes , and protecting crops, through an understanding of bird behavior. The journal Integrative and Comparative Biology published a paper written by Swaddle and former William & Mary graduate student Nicole Ingrassia on the acoustic lighthouse concept in 2017. + William & Mary Via Science Magazine Images via DepositPhotos , William & Mary video screengrab

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‘Acoustic lighthouses’ could warn birds about wind turbines

This hand-built island is the start of Copenhagens parkipelago of floating public spaces

March 14, 2018 by  
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A tiny wooden island floating in Copenhagen harbor is bringing life and interest back to the city’s waters. Australian architect Marshall Blecher and Magnus Maarbjerg of Danish design studio Fokstrot designed CPH-Ø1, an experimental floating island park buoyed by recycled plastic bottles that could bring about more floating public spaces all along the city’s waters. Created as a prototype for the Copenhagen Islands project, the 215-square-foot timber island is punctuated by a single linden tree and is temporarily located in Sluseløbet. Launched last year with support by Kulturhavn365, CPH-Ø1 first served as a resting area for adventurous Copenhageners who are invited to moor alongside the island by boat or kayak. The public space also doubles as a small events venue and, according to Dezeen , will host a lecture series next month about the future of harbor cities. CPH-Ø1 was constructed by hand in Copenhagen’s boat building yards using traditional wooden boat building techniques with locally and sustainably sourced materials. Related: Copper-clad Copenhagen landmark boasts Denmark’s most energy-efficient laboratories CPH-Ø1 is the first in what the designers hope will be a ‘parkipelago’ of nine islands that offer creative public spaces in the harbor, particularly in forgotten and unused areas. Future iterations may include a floating sauna island, floating mussel farms, floating gardens, and even a floating sail-in cafe—all of which will be open to the public. The islands can be connected together or float separately. + Copenhagen Islands Via Dezeen Images via Fokstrot

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This hand-built island is the start of Copenhagens parkipelago of floating public spaces

The good, the bad and the ugly about vertical axis wind turbines

October 21, 2011 by  
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Leka Ram: Vertical axis wind turbines Main rotor shaft is set vertically and the main components are located at the base of the turbine Vertical wind turbines look completely different from the conventional wind turbines that have blades rotating on the horizontal axis. The vertical turbine can be compared to a coin spinning on its vertical axis. Modifications in the design and structure have been done for improving the performance and serving more benefits. The major parts of the vertical wind turbine are a rotor shaft that is arranged vertically, a vertical wind generator located near the ground, a gearbox also located near the ground and the blades that are two or three in number. These wind turbines are being improved in terms of function and design for enjoying more advantages. There are different types of vertical axis wind turbines such as; Darrius turbine : Named after George Darrius, the French inventor. The turbine is known for its efficiency. However, it is criticized for the low torque. It requires an additional rotor to start it. Gorlov Helical turbne : This turbine is designed in a helical configuration and was built to deal with the problems in the Darrius turbine. They are self-starting and reliable. Giromill : It is a variation of Darius turbine. It offers high starting torque and variable pitch. The blades used in this type of turbines are curved, straight or v-shaped. Savonius turbine : The turbine has helical scoops for providing smooth torque. Most of these are self-starting. Apart from these there are many other types such as the neo-aerodynamic turbine, quiet revolution turbine, novel turbine and zephyr turbine. The good Low Cost Lower construction and transportation costs 1. The energy generation with the vertical turbines cost is less and comes to about 2.5-3.5 cents for a kilowatt hour when compared to the 4-5 cents per kilowatt hour. 2. These turbines can handle high wind speeds. The maximum speed for harvesting the energy from wind is 28-33 mph. With the vertical design it can produce electricity from winds with a speed of 70 mph. The design can be used in areas with very strong winds. 3. One of the major problems with the conventional wind mills is that they kill the birds that come in their way. The design of the vertical turbine looks like a solid structure keeping the birds away from it. 4. The new device blends well with the environment. It can be painted in such a way that it blends well with the surroundings. Being smaller they can be installed in areas where huge structures cannot be used. 5. Another advantage is that the generator can be easily accessed for service. There is no magnetic field resonance, interference with communication or aircraft navigation and no ground resonance. 6. They function quietly too. Can this be better? The major difference between the vertical and horizontal wind turbines is the position of the blades. In the horizontal model the blades are mounted on the top while in the vertical model they are at the base of the tower and close to the shaft. The main advantage is that they can be mounted close to the ground making it beneficial for residential purposes. The bad Inefficiency Blades constantly spinning back into the wind causing drag 1. When compared to the horizontal turbines, these vertical axis wind turbines are able to produce only about 50 percent of the energy. 2. Since no tower is required for the structure, they are not able to take advantage of the high wind speeds usually available on elevated and higher areas. 3. Some energy is required to start the device because of the low starting torque. 4. If any part of the device is damaged, the entire structure has to be disassembled for changing it. 5. Wires are required for holding the complete structure in place. 6. The vertical wind turbines have a complicated structure with high rate of failure. 7. Wind efficiency is low and costs higher. Can this be avoided? New designs of the vertical axis turbines are being made in order to deal with the problems faced by the earlier designs. More research and analysis is still required to develop a turbine without the above mentioned drawbacks. The ugly Bird Killing Wind turbines affect migratory birds Though wind energy is considered to be one of the renewable and dependable sources of energy, there are several downsides to this. 1. Wind is not dependable. To turn the blades you need wind. If there is no wind they cannot function effectively. They are great only for areas where you can have wind all through the day and year. They may be useless in areas where wind is less. 2. One of the best places where you can get wind all through the year is the coastal areas, mountain tops and valleys. All these areas are very expensive and it can be very difficult to afford the area first and then build the turbine also. 3. Many people consider wind farms as an eyesore. Though they are able to produce energy using the wind, many people do not like the idea of residing near a wind farm. 4. Apart from that, the turbines are also known to interfere with the radio and television signals, kill birds and make noise. Why are we so critical Every new invention has its advantages and disadvantages. Similarly, the wind turbines faced some problems with respect to the availability of winds for turning the turbines, birds coming in between and so on. However, the researchers are trying to find solutions to each of these problems by creating new designs and using improved technologies. This gave rise to the vertical axis turbines. Though there are some negative aspects to this too, the researchers are striving hard to overcome them. Wind is everywhere. We need to make proper efforts to use it to the maximum in order to save other sources of energy and use the renewable sources in an effective way. The bottom line Wind energy is renewable. More and more devices have to be developed to harness the wind energy for generating electricity. The wind mills are efficient in generating energy. The type of turbines used depends on the area and the amount of power required in that particular area.

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The good, the bad and the ugly about vertical axis wind turbines

Caltech Study Says Vertical Axis Wind Turbines 10X More Efficient Than Horizontal Axis Turbines

July 13, 2011 by  
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Wind energy production has so far been dominated by the horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT).  They can be scaled up to reach high in the air where the wind blows faster and produce a lot of energy per turbine (a 10 MW turbine is not far away), but researchers at Caltech say that vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs) may actually be the better choice. A recent study of turbine placement and output found that because VAWTs can be placed closer together, they’re capable of generating ten times as much energy per square meter than HAWTs. In a series of field tests that placed six VAWTs in different configurations, it was found that a spacing of four turbine diameters apart (about five meters) got rid of any aerodynamic interference between the turbines.  HAWTs require 20 turbine diameters of spacing in order to eliminate aerodynamic interference, equaling more than a mile between each turbine. The six VAWTs were able to produce 21 to 47 watts of power per square meter, while a comparable HAWT farm only produces about two to three watts per square meter. The study also found that having each VAWT spin in the opposite direction of its neighbor allowed them to spin faster because the opposing spins reduced the drag on each turbine, which upped their efficiency even more. To add to the list of benefits, VAWTs are also cheaper, smaller and less intrusive, allowing them to be installed in lots of places where large HAWTs just wouldn’t do . via Caltech

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Caltech Study Says Vertical Axis Wind Turbines 10X More Efficient Than Horizontal Axis Turbines

Jargon Watch: Vertical Gardens vs Vertical Farms vs Living Walls vs Green Façades

August 3, 2010 by  
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In his post New Vertical Garden Comes to Spain’s San Vicente , Alex wrote “Vertical gardens are here to stay.” Our editor in chief wondered if there was a contradiction here with our post yesterday Fix Our Horizontal Farms Before We Go Vertical , where I questioned the merits of vertical farming. ..

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Jargon Watch: Vertical Gardens vs Vertical Farms vs Living Walls vs Green Façades

Incredible Underwater Photography of Breaking Waves by Alex Tipple

August 3, 2010 by  
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Photo by Alex Tipple, via the Telegraph We thought wave photography had reached its pinnacle when we saw Clark Little’s colorful and dramatic images of cresting waves last year. But an equally creative and committed photographer has pushed the perspective and drug us underneath the crashing waves for a clear sight of what it looks like to be right there in the tumbling water

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Incredible Underwater Photography of Breaking Waves by Alex Tipple

Friggebod Fun: MiniHouse From Add-A-Room

August 3, 2010 by  
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Image via Onen So much of what we build is a response to regulation; from garden sheds to modular homes, it is the rules that define the forms. Swedish Housing Minister, Birgit Friggebo exempted buildings under 150 square feet from the building codes; Her name will live forever in the explosion of lovely little cabins that bear the name Friggebod. The latest we have seen is the Minihouse 1 from Add-a-Room , designed by Lars Frank Neilsen of OneN.

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Friggebod Fun: MiniHouse From Add-A-Room

The Global Cooling Myth Debunked (Video)

August 3, 2010 by  
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Image via Space4Case Why do some climate skeptics continue to claim that the earth is in the middle of a ‘global cooling trend’ despite the fact that every reliable source — NASA, NCAR, NOAA, etc — has shown temperature records proving otherwise? Why do climate deniers seem to revere satellite data? And why do some skeptics still blame global warming on solar activity?

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The Global Cooling Myth Debunked (Video)

Vortex-Creating Wind Turbines Could Double Wind Farm Output

March 24, 2010 by  
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An egg-beater-like vertical wind turbine design could potentially double the output of wind farms by using the space between larger, horizontal turbines. Wind farms take up a lot of land because the large rotating blades of the turbines need a lot of space in between them to operate safely and effectively, but company Wind Harvest International thinks wind energy could be generated in those empty spaces.  The company claims a MW array of their shorter, vertical turbines could fit in the space between two horizontal MW turbines. The Wind Harvest turbines work in groups of three or more to maximize their energy output.  The turbines alternate between clockwise and counter-clockwise rotation, creating a vortex that accelerates the localized wind speed by almost double.  The company says it’s also possible that the arrays could boost the energy output of the larger horizontal turbines as well, but that more testing would have to be done to confirm that.

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California Considers Mandated Grid Storage

March 19, 2010 by  
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Legislators in California have introduced a bill that would require electric utilities to provide grid-scale energy storage in their operations. The bill would call for a capacity of 2.25% of daytime peak demand by 2014 and 5% of peak demand by 2020

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California Considers Mandated Grid Storage

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