ecoROTR Is A 60-Foot Shield That Makes Wind Turbines More Efficient

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The bigger the wind turbine (and the higher it soars), the greater the power it can generate. Problem is, making them too big can also make them impossible to transport, putting a definite ceiling on the size of turbines we can manufacture. But what if you still want to increase a turbine’s output without further challenging the size barrier? That’s where the ecoROTR comes in.

A dome-shaped object, it bolts to the turbine’s rotor, looking like a giant shield that protects it from oncoming drones, bewildered birds, and whatever else runs into wind turbines while they mind their own business up in the skies. Except, it doesn’t. Instead, the dome actually redirects and refocuses the breeze to the outer edges of a turbine’s blade, which is more efficient at harnessing the wind into usable energy, effectively increasing the turbine’s resulting output.

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Created by GE Global Research, the ecoROTR is expected to raise a wind turbine’s output by at least 3 percent. While that doesn’t sound much, it can amount to a lot, once multiplied across a large wind farm’s multiple spinning towers. Plus, this is early stages for the tech, so further tweaking could see even more improvements in those numbers.

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The current ecoROTR prototype measures a massive 60 feet in diameter, with aluminum construction. It’s currently being tested on a 450-foot tall, 1.7-megawatt wind turbine in Tehachapi at California’s Mojave Desert, where it will stay for the next four months, while the team compiles data on its operation and performance.

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5 Responses

  1. Chris

    This is really impressive. It’s amazing how far technology has come, and how willing the government and private people or entities are willing to use energy and turn it into power, and in cases such as this also revenue. It’s a great way to do so in my opinion, plus, it’s safe for both people and the environment. I didn’t realize there was a lot of wind out in the desert–per the article? Pretty interesting. How much do one of these industrial size shields or ‘enhancers’ cost? It looks pretty cool, and I’m intrigued with how they used the science of redirecting the wind to benefit the energy input versus output for benefits both immediately and in the long run of the wind-turbines.

    Reply
    • Chris

      They should add solar panels all over the dome for a bit more energy capture too!

      Reply
  2. Rex

    There is no evidence this will decrease the number of birds chopped up by turbines. If it at least decrease the inefficiency of wind power, I guess that would be something positive. Do you think these will be heavily subsidized also? I wish sarcasm was subsidized.

    Reply
  3. Frank

    I bet the government write-offs for buying and using these will be great. Just like how they give huge tax write-offs to people (that can afford!) to install solar panels on their homes. But the prices around here for them are insane, like $8-15K each. Pretty expensive, and you’re most likely going to need a few to cover your entire roof. I hear mixed reviews on them, but most people say they’re effective ways at saving money over the long-run. Your comment was funny. But looking at the picture of the device, I think it would serve as decreasing animals and other projectiles from getting into the turbines because it blocks them from the main blades, ya know? This is a heck of expensive ‘shield’ though if that’s the case.

    Reply
  4. ivan

    are they going to use technology like this in space too or underwater? is that even possible, for generating energy?

    Reply

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