There are a huge number of wind turbines in use around the world. Here in the US a large number of wind turbines stand tall in and around a small city called Tehachapi located on the edge of the Mojave Desert in California. The majority of the wind turbines standing in the city all look the same. GE has a new experimental wind turbine being tested that has a very different look.
This turbine has a faceted dome covering the center of the turbine blade hub. This tower is dubbed ecoROTR and it is the largest wind turbine in the area standing 450 feet tall from the base to the blade tip. The dome in the center of the three turbine blades looks strange, but GE researchers think that the dome could be the future of wind power.
The dome on the test tower is very large and weighs in at about 20,000 pounds. GE says that data from the wind tunnel where the dome design was perfected shows that the dome could lead to more efficient turbines for windy locations that are too hard for the industry to reach right now.
The team of GE designers and researcher say that the dome allows them to build bigger rotors without lengthening the blades since the blades attach to the perimeter of the dome. That dome is also able to deflect wind from the center of the turbine and route it to the blades where the wind can be harvested. In wind tunnel tests scale models of the tower with a dome showed to be 3% more efficient than normal towers. In green power, a small increase can mean big improvements in performance.
SOURCE: GE Reports