Inno-Snippet No. 94


Which way should a wind turbine turn?


The industry standard for wind turbines is to turn clockwise (as is for clocks). In contrast to clocks, however, counterclockwise turning might yield advantages in the northern hemisphere, where 96 % of all wind turbines are installed.

According to a new study from the German Aerospace Centre in Oberpfaffenhofen, a computer model suggests that the energy output of a wind turbine, which is downwind from another wind turbine, could be up to 23 % higher at night.

This effect is due to the Coriolis force that pushes moving air to the right, as in clockwise, in the northern hemisphere. A counterclockwise moving wind turbine deflects moving air clockwise, matching the northern hemisphere wind veer. Thus, energy is gained form the surrounding and delivered to the next downwind wind turbine. The effect is weaker at daytime, as the sun is stirring up the bottom air layer and thereby limiting the Coriolis force’s influence.

These findings shed light on how apparently arbitrarily set industry standards might have unwanted consequences, as well as on the importance of factoring in where, when and how technology is applied.

 You can read more about it here.

Young maintenance engineer team working in wind turbine farm at sunset


Source: The Economist


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