How do you design ocean turbine blades for optimal performance? Some scientists propose building them in imitation of whale flippers:
“We designed a novel blade modification for potential turbine performance improvement, which was inspired by humpback whale flippers, with the addition of tubercles, or bumps, to the leading edge of each blade,” explains Mark Murray, a Naval Academy engineering professor. Previous research demonstrated the addition of biomimetically derived protuberances (technology that mimics nature) improved stall characteristics and aerodynamic performance.”
A startup company called WhalePower is already at work trying to find commercial applications for these new designs.
December 1st, 2010