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Danish Wind Turbine Loses Battle with Wind
April 29, 2008 7:38 AM   Subscribe

The dramatic collapse of a Danish wind turbine was captured on video. Someone thoughtfully made a slow motion version. Apparently, there were two such collapses within a week.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner (93 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Holy crap!
posted by Thorzdad at 7:43 AM on April 29, 2008


They've been sabotaged by BIG OIL.
posted by MrMustard at 7:46 AM on April 29, 2008


Cape Wind, not sure how many people know if this plan but it is a gigantic controversy in Massachusetts. The value of beach front homes will greatly decrease with the view of turbines but the challenge or resources also is something or consider. I
'm not really FOR the project but I also have property that would be directly affected that I greatly depend on the value.
posted by femmme at 7:50 AM on April 29, 2008


cf. Chernobyl

"The climate minister, Connie Hedegaard, is calling for an investigation.."

I want a climate minister.
posted by stbalbach at 7:51 AM on April 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


They've been sabotaged by BIG OIL.

But they were destroyed by Big Wind.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 7:55 AM on April 29, 2008 [7 favorites]


I dont see why people dont like looking at windmills, they are so relaxing with the swooshing...
posted by BobbyDigital at 7:57 AM on April 29, 2008


Curious: Why couldn't they use the generator as an auxiliary brake and just run the electricity to ground?

Cape Wind, not sure how many people know if this plan but it is a gigantic controversy in Massachusetts

When 84% of people in the state support something, it's not controversial. That's consensual.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:04 AM on April 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


femmme: "The value of beach front homes will greatly decrease with the view of turbines but the challenge or resources also is something or consider."

No, they won't. That's just more FUD from the anti-clean-energy cabal.
posted by Plutor at 8:04 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Damnation..."retired to a safe distance" indeed.
posted by jquinby at 8:05 AM on April 29, 2008


When the wind peaks, you get peak wind. Stick with oil, guys.
posted by reformedjerk at 8:10 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


well if they are falling over.....:P
posted by femmme at 8:13 AM on April 29, 2008


As long as we're talking about anti-windmill FUD, I'm going to self-link to a little story about the other "controversial" windmill project in MA.

I expect this video (or some deranged description of it) to make its appearance at our next town meeting -- probably the guy who was convinced that windmills don't actually generate electricity will bring it up. (You see, what they do is, they just use a gas motor to spin the turbine so it looks like they're generating power, to fool us all. It's all just a conspiracy between Big Wind and the EPA.)
posted by ook at 8:23 AM on April 29, 2008


Funnily enough I'm just putting together an analysis on the cost effectiveness of renewable power generation technologies. It's written by a chap called Paul Breeze. No kidding.

Amongst other things, it does show that older studies have underestimated the overall cost of wind power and in particular that wind power is still pretty uncompetitive.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:23 AM on April 29, 2008


"The suicidal turbine was located at Hornslet near Aarhus. According to the Telegraph, the 60m-high structure was ten years old and manufactured by Vestas. Engineers who attended the scene were unable to prevent the break-up, and wisely retired to a safe distance.

Its death was one of two in the space of a week."

You're just too beauuutiful wind, that's why it'll never work, you'll have me suicidal, suicidal. Seriously, the anthropomorphizing is a bit much.
posted by cashman at 8:23 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


They've been sabotaged by BIG OIL.

But they were destroyed by Big Wind.


I wonder if they have a protective circuit which decouples the spinning blades from the generator when it's going so fast it produces a dangerous overvoltage, but which in this case caused the blade to spin so fast it destroyed itself. The problem would be one of underdesign, then-- not anticipating the high level of maximum wind speeds it would encounter. This is a problem we are all going to have with many different kinds of structures as global warming increases the intensity of weather systems all over the planet.

The answer my friends is blowing in the wind (it would be so easy to adapt that song to promote wind power).
posted by jamjam at 8:27 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


femmme: "well if they are falling over"

Considering they're planned to be 4-11 miles offshore, I'm pretty sure you'll be safe. And if "something bad might happen, so lets not do it" ruled the day, you wouldn't be typing on a computer (electric shock! spinning disc platters! exploding batteries!) or driving anywhere (road ragers! snipers!) or eating anything (bugs, worms, salmonella!).
posted by Plutor at 8:31 AM on April 29, 2008


ook I think it def has two strong sides which tag it as "controversial"
posted by femmme at 8:32 AM on April 29, 2008


What they need to do is design them so they don't break.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:37 AM on April 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


OMG metal structures over 10 years old need maintenance or they collapse!
posted by Artw at 8:37 AM on April 29, 2008


Danish Windmills: NEVAR FORGET!!1
posted by Jofus at 8:41 AM on April 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Microwind is the future! Forget Big [anything].
{just thought this was interesting}
When can we expect Nanowind?
posted by quanta and qualia at 8:42 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


That was pretty damn awesome.
posted by fusinski at 8:43 AM on April 29, 2008


Just have to say it: Picowind <> Peak-o-Wind
posted by quanta and qualia at 8:44 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Putting this here is a slight giveaway - but it's still one of the best videos on YouTube.
posted by muthecow at 8:44 AM on April 29, 2008 [9 favorites]


So what exactly happened? The link says that the brakes failed, and the slow motion video shows the blade shattering just after it passes the support pole. Did the wind cause it to bow in far enough to hit the pole?

I imagine after losing one of the blades, it would be off balance enough to vibrate the other two to destruction.

If that's the case, I have to assume that the proper answer to this concern is just to ensure that the brakes are tested with some regularity to ensure that this never happens again. Seems like that would be pretty simple to do, too.
posted by quin at 8:47 AM on April 29, 2008


And for the record, this looks like a way easier system for getting rid of windmill/ dragons than tilting with them. That shit is just dangerous.
posted by quin at 8:50 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like windmills. They might affect your view, but they don't smell and they don't make the sky hazy. I have been watching the assembly of some new turbines in Utah and they make me kind of happy.
posted by chuke at 8:52 AM on April 29, 2008


So what exactly happened?

Watch the slow motion video carefully. The tip of one of the blades disintegrates on the downstroke before it hits the pole. It looks like simple blade failure.
posted by jimmythefish at 8:55 AM on April 29, 2008


I wonder if they have a protective circuit which decouples the spinning blades from the generator when it's going so fast it produces a dangerous overvoltage, but which in this case caused the blade to spin so fast it destroyed itself.

The blades should be locked down in high winds, else, well, this happens. I thought that was counter-intuitive when I first heard it, too, but my guess is that the brakes simply failed. (I was tangentially, briefly, involved in a wind turbine project for nPower a few years ago. I got this from a project engineer. He also said they still don't break even, but they get closer with every farm they build. For example the stuff I was working on would have reduced maintenance costs.)
posted by Leon at 8:55 AM on April 29, 2008


feed the windmill the mayo before it kills itself.
posted by docpops at 8:59 AM on April 29, 2008


This may be a stupid question, but couldn't they design a sprung, breakaway blade that simply swivels to provide less drag under excessive loads? This would allow the blade to operate under any wind condition. If the wind is so bad that even blades turned directly into irons would endanger the structure, then it's likely screwed anyways.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:00 AM on April 29, 2008


it does show that older studies have underestimated the overall cost of wind power

Yeah but the whole point of wind power is that it is clean energy. If carbon had a cost, which it will in the future, coal and natural gas are a lot more expensive and wind power is cheaper. And nuclear.. that's all underwritten by tax payers, the true cost of nuclear is hard to know but ask the Russians what Chernobyl has cost them. So long as its free to pollute, free to use the "commons" without cost, than dirty old technologies win.
posted by stbalbach at 9:03 AM on April 29, 2008


This may be a stupid question, but couldn't they design a sprung, breakaway blade that simply swivels to provide less drag under excessive loads? This would allow the blade to operate under any wind condition.

Not worth adding costs to deal with weather conditions that only occur for a few hours a year. Cost of design/hardware/maintenance outweighs the value of the extra energy you'd be able to generate in those few hours.
posted by Leon at 9:07 AM on April 29, 2008


I like windmills. They might affect your view, but they don't smell and they don't make the sky hazy.

I guess they're sometimes not so great for birds, though.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:11 AM on April 29, 2008


This windfarm is a 2 hour drive from me. It's absolutely amazing to stand there and watch the blades turn. Nearby, there is a single blade on the ground on display. It's hard to guage the size otherwise. I've taken some photos there, and am planning another trip soon. I may be able to actually climb up into the turbine, thanks to someone I know. That should be great! And by great I mean scary as hell.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 9:11 AM on April 29, 2008


ook I think it def has two strong sides which tag it as "controversial"

Yes, because the tiny opposition to the Cape Wind project has a LOT of money. If a couple hundred poor people were going to be inconvenienced, it would have already happened. "All the power in the hands/Of the people rich enough to buy it" etc.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:27 AM on April 29, 2008


I think it def has two strong sides which tag it as "controversial"

Sure. But one of the sides is completely unhinged. (or, to be fair, is just being misled by the hysteria of the truly unhinged.)

There's already one turbine up near us -- part of a separate project from the Savoy one -- and now that I've actually seen it up close and in person (and having visited some much larger windfarms as well) I feel very comfortable saying that there's not much rational reason to oppose a properly sited windfarm. There's no noticeable noise even up close, they're not a blight on the landscape -- I think it's kind of pretty, to be honest -- and they're necessarily built far enough from any structures that even in a worst-case scenario like the turbine failures in these videos, nobody's in danger of being hit by falling debris.

Seriously -- if you're really concerned about some turbines being built more than four miles offshore from you, you should rest easy. It's going to be some dots on the horizon, that's all.
posted by ook at 9:28 AM on April 29, 2008


(And I'm proud to say that the Savoy windmill project, at least, seems very likely to happen; the necessary bylaw change easily passed the vote, and the competing bylaw change that would have blocked the project seems to have died a quiet death. I'm quite looking forward to it.)
posted by ook at 9:30 AM on April 29, 2008


"The suicidal turbine was located at Hornslet near Aarhus. According to the Telegraph, the 60m-high structure was ten years old and manufactured by Vestas. Engineers who attended the scene were unable to prevent the break-up, and wisely retired to a safe distance.

Aarhus, in the middle of aarstreet; Aarhus.
posted by basicchannel at 9:46 AM on April 29, 2008 [8 favorites]


Yeah but the whole point of wind power is that it is clean energy. If carbon had a cost, which it will in the future, coal and natural gas are a lot more expensive and wind power is cheaper

Carbon already has a cost (The European Trading Scheme), which prices CO2 at €20-23/tonne . And wind power is still more expensive. At the moment.

Obviously if you start pricing carbon punitively then things change, that's the same with anything that is taxed [punitively].

My point was more that estimates around cost of renewables are still pretty poor and that where one would expect them to be going down more data has actually meant people costing renewables higher. At the moment.

Once you factor in externalities the value proposition of renewables becomes a lot more attractive. Although it still doesn't deal with the fact that wind doesn't always blow and that wind power is unable to cope with sudden spikes in demand.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:53 AM on April 29, 2008


Huh.
My wife is terrified everytime we drive past the Toronto turbine on the Lakeshore, she says it's scary.
I always make fun of her.
posted by chococat at 10:10 AM on April 29, 2008


Such catastrophic collapse is a regular symptom of too many Danish windmill jobs.
posted by luriete at 10:30 AM on April 29, 2008


Far more birds die from flying into glass buildings then get killed by turbines.
posted by BobbyDigital at 10:34 AM on April 29, 2008


The full details of the failure are not public, but it would seem that the turbine was disconnected from the grid, had the blades at full operational pitch, and the main brake was inactive. At least one failsafe interlock must have been disabled to do this - it should be noted that Vestas techs were working on it while this happened. Thankfully they got out, which unfortunately didn't happen in a similar incident in Oregon, where a technician died.

chococat - scared of our wee turbine? Surely not. We're hoping to put up more.
posted by scruss at 10:41 AM on April 29, 2008


Such scare tactics.

I drive my tractor and my wife rides horses out there, just think if we'd been out there when it happened.

I'm curious, does your wife really ride horses during extreme wind conditions? I'm not an equestrian expert, but that seems like a very poor time to go out for a ride. In fact, it seems like the failure conditions neatly align with situations where nobody would be there voluntarily in the first place.
posted by Project F at 11:00 AM on April 29, 2008


Huh I never even knew that windmills had breaks.

My parents just got back from Hawaii a couple of weeks ago and they said while they were driving they drove through a wind farm and then a little while later they came across an abandoned wind farm since they made the new one. Anybody know why they would just abandoned it and not use it still?
posted by lilkeith07 at 11:02 AM on April 29, 2008


I imagine the old one was abandoned because the maintenance costs didn't make it feasible compared to the new one.

Regarding the bird deaths, it should be pointed out that's the Altamont Pass farm which uses a dramatically different and far more bird lethal design than these newer 3 bladed wonders.
posted by barc0001 at 11:22 AM on April 29, 2008


Carbon already has a cost (The European Trading Scheme), which prices CO2 at €20-23/tonne . And wind power is still more expensive.

Ok well then factor in other costs: public health. Coal releases mercury and particulates. It destroys the environment when mining, which has further knock-on effects to public health. Oil and gas similar problems plus the geo-political costs (oil wars, third world instabilities, terrorism). The true cost of fossil fuel is not factored in to the current prices, not anywhere near close. I've heard figures in the $300 to $500/ barrel range as more accurate.
posted by stbalbach at 11:22 AM on April 29, 2008


Am I the only one disappointed that no one's stuck Imogen Heap's song "Hide and Seek" over the slow-mo windmill death video?

mmmmm whatcha say-ay
posted by suckerpunch at 11:31 AM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


The value of beach front homes will greatly decrease with the view of turbines

I never understood this viewpoint. I would love to live someplace where I had a row of giant spinning propellors on the horizon somewhere, especially knowing that they're actually generating power. Even if they didn't, though, it'd be an appealingly surreal vista.
posted by wanderingmind at 11:41 AM on April 29, 2008


"A recording of the explosion-like collapse shows one of the wing blades breaking off, casting debris into the three other wings"

Hmmm.

The value of beach front homes will greatly decrease with the view of turbines but the challenge or resources also is something or consider.

This idea has come up in the UK a fair bit/ The Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors carried out an initial study which suggested value did drop with installation of a wind turbine, but that the price impact declined over time as people got used to them. A 2007 report seemed to suggest a wind turbine nearvy wasn't that significant a factor in house pricing. Lots of variables and a different market of course from Cape Cod.

Carbon already has a cost (The European Trading Scheme), which prices CO2 at €20-23/tonne .

But that's a totally arbitrary figure, with no relation to the damage linked to carbon emissions, and one can certainly make an argument as to that being an appalling way to stimulate the innovation process in terms of dynamic efficiency. There is also no mechanism to account for the security of supply benefits of renewables.
posted by biffa at 12:09 PM on April 29, 2008


Am I the only one disappointed that no one's stuck Imogen Heap's song "Hide and Seek" over the slow-mo windmill death video?

And now I will be utilizing all opportunities to sing that song for the rest of the day. Thank you.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 12:13 PM on April 29, 2008


On a more topical note, now that I watch the video, my soon-to-be sister-in-law (whoo, hyphens!) does maintenance on wind turbines as an everyday job. I got to go to work with her once. It's a shame company policy wouldn't let me strap into the harness and go up there with her, because it looked damn cool to be standing up on top of the cooling unit with huge blades sending out that low, vibrating hum just a few feet away.

I'll have to send her this video and tell her to take this week off. The suicidal tendencies of these turbines could be catching.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 12:18 PM on April 29, 2008


Cape Wind, not sure how many people know if this plan but it is a gigantic controversy in Massachusetts. The value of beach front homes will greatly decrease with the view of turbines but the challenge or resources also is something or consider. I
'm not really FOR the project but I also have property that would be directly affected that I greatly depend on the value.

posted by femmme at 10:50 AM on April 29 [+] [!]

The only thing that will be devalued is Ted Kennedy. The wind farm will be between 4.5 and 5 miles offshore, and the profile of the windmills will be smaller than looking at your thumb from arms length. The project is big enough to provide 80% of the electricity to the Cape and Islands. What is the problem folks? Oh yeah, the aforementioned Ted Kennedy. Hull, MA will soon have 10 turbines, enough to power the whole town. They've already placed two on land, and the remaining will be only slightly offshore.
posted by Gungho at 12:41 PM on April 29, 2008


I, for one, do not understand the anti-wind-turbine-because-of-aesthetics crowd. I think they're awesome - big, stately, quiet, and a lovely precursor of the ultra-modern high-tech lifestyle they're always promising us in movies set in the future (or the Jetsons). Plus, I'd much rather have one of these in my back yard than a nuclear power plant.
posted by Zinger at 1:01 PM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Exxon-Mobil should buy this footage and slowly fade in their logo over top. Then the next time some community starts talking about installing windmills, the oil executives could come to the town meeting and just silently play the tape over and over again.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 1:12 PM on April 29, 2008


I think they're awesome.

Windmills will be the pyramids of our era. But what is their lifespan? And what do you do with dead ones apart from leave them as monuments?
posted by binturong at 2:01 PM on April 29, 2008


I'd much rather have one of these in my back yard than a nuclear power plant.

And I'd much rather have a nuclear power plant than a coal-burning monstrosity. Physics for Future Presidents convinced me that (non-Soviet) nukes got a bad rap that stuck. Thanks, Jackson Browne.

But if you've got enough wind for turbines, it's crazy not to put these up like mad. They make so much sense to me.

And what do you do with dead ones apart from leave them as monuments?

Um, fix or replace them?
posted by Camofrog at 2:28 PM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


And what do you do with dead ones apart from leave them as monuments?

Attach fins and rockets to the base, and play Mega Jarts.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:43 PM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nukes would probably have a better rap if the majority of them weren't just scams for production of bomb material. I understand theres some much better modern designs available, but that their less convenient for that sort of thing and so unlikely to be used.
posted by Artw at 2:43 PM on April 29, 2008


Wind is great : humans are very very good at mass production. factory, construction, and maintenance jobs are created. no risk of terrorist attacks. no giving money to psychopaths with oil. minimal funky chemicals. etc. I doubt they kill more birds than other human activities.

So what about the claim that they are ugly or noisy? Sorry, you guys are just full of it. Go take a look at an operating wind farm.
posted by jeffburdges at 3:07 PM on April 29, 2008


Um, fix or replace them?

All depends on the economics doesn't it? If they're costly to dismantle or repair, it won't be done. Which reminds me of the huge graveyard of aircraft in the US desert somewhere. I'm sure some mefite has a link.
posted by binturong at 3:56 PM on April 29, 2008


That is a bad example. Aircraft boneyards exist as a store of spare parts, and as a store of excess whole, (potentially) flyable aircraft. When they're not worth maintaining any more, or not worth keeping as spare parts, they're sold for scrap.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 4:08 PM on April 29, 2008


Erm, yeah. I think possibly you could extend that to all human manufactured objects ever.
posted by Artw at 4:09 PM on April 29, 2008


you could extend that to all human manufactured objects ever.

That's very optimistic of you. Many things are in fact simply abandoned, like this abandoned Soviet research station. I love the picture of the rows of seats in the midst of a re-growing forest (scroll down).
posted by binturong at 5:16 PM on April 29, 2008


That's a nice link, but at this pint I have absolutely no idea of teh point you're trying to make. Human made things decay... Reople fix or replce them, or not, according to necessity, available resources and whether or not anybody can be bothered doing it... Some things get put in the desert... some things don't...
posted by Artw at 5:26 PM on April 29, 2008


I, for one, do not understand the anti-wind-turbine-because-of-aesthetics crowd.

The best explanation I've heard is: "They're tall so they're all going to have those blinking red lights on top at night."

If anyone told me that to my face, of course, I'd tell them to suck it up and take one for the country. Stupid twits. I'd far rather have blinking red lights at night than open-pit coal mines.

While I'm here, I should mention that some tidal turbines in the East River also broke last year--because the tidal pressures were too strong for the blades!
posted by A dead Quaker at 6:25 PM on April 29, 2008


Sancho, saddle up Rocinante again!
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:54 PM on April 29, 2008


Artw: my musings arose from the comments about the esthetic appeal of turbines (or the reverse). Some people think they add to the beauty of the landscape. So, given that large areas will be covered by these turbines, in time those same areas will be covered by the remains of the turbines unless they are indeed totally reclaimed and recycled, which I doubt. There was an Arcadian movement in England during the Romantic period where people actually built "ruins" on their estates to models the genteel ruins of old buildings featured in landscape paintings of the time. My first, somewhat facetious, comment was that wind turbines may be the pyramids of our era. I was just wondering, if this technology is widely adopted, how future generations will see them. In a larger context, industries are being encouraged to build "cradle-to-grave" considerations into their economic planning. It's all very fine to start a radically new technology, but are the costs of decommissioning turbines being considered, or will they indeed become genteel ruins for our descendants to contemplate -- with either pleasure or disgust according to future fashion.
posted by binturong at 7:02 PM on April 29, 2008


Without the more fragile bits they're basically just a pole, so I guess it depends on how you feel about the odd pole sticking up over the treeline.
posted by Artw at 7:57 PM on April 29, 2008


I'd far rather have blinking red lights at night than open-pit coal mines.

Me too. Actually, the lights are white on the wind farms around here. The white flashing lights are reminiscent of a cloud of fire flies. Have a look at this (pro-wind-farm) video at about 2m:30s for a glimpse of the effect.
posted by normy at 7:58 PM on April 29, 2008


Obligatory comment about something rotten in the state of Denmark. (What, do they all have really bad gas?)
posted by Queen of Spreadable Fats at 8:46 PM on April 29, 2008


What happens is, is that the blade tips go supersonic. That causes them to explode. The RPM doesn't have to be very high for a 90 meter turbine blade tip to reach 770mph (334mps).

The blades are very often made of carbon fiber.
posted by Mei's lost sandal at 10:00 PM on April 29, 2008


This is probably the most intelligent youtube comment I have ever seen:

Boy this video really took the wind right out of my sails. Actually it blew me away. I guess the blade was off by a mill-imeter.

Of course, for balance...

you know those flashlights that you jack-off to get energy and they never die or whatever. they should make a plant that does that some how. YEAH
posted by Artw at 10:06 PM on April 29, 2008


And what do you do with dead ones apart from leave them as monuments?

Most plants in developed countries will have some sort of decommissioning plan attached to them when they reach the end of service. It's good practice bcause the wind industry is well aware of how much negative felling amongst the public can impact the ability to get approval. Countries with older turbines are starting to see repowering schemes to replace the smaller worn out and less efficient old turbines with new, usually bigger, turbines. they are generally in good sites so it is desirable to pick on those sites. Turbine towers are mostly steel so the scrap value can make them attractive for removal anyway. Wind turbines are probably one of the easiest electricity generators to decommission with virtually no long lasting environmental impacts, certainly a lot less problematic than nuclear or most fossil stations.
posted by biffa at 1:49 AM on April 30, 2008


If you slow the video down you can see a tall Spaniard on horseback attacking the windmills with a lance while his chubby squire stands off to the side.
posted by srboisvert at 4:13 AM on April 30, 2008


guess they're sometimes not so great for birds, though

Birds will do just fine. They'll be having a lovely feast due to the increase in fish that would result.

I hear cities aren't so good for cows and horses, and they really fuck up the view of the ocean, too.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 4:39 AM on April 30, 2008


Sorry, srboisvert, but BrotherCaine beat you to the Don Quixote reference upthread.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:14 AM on April 30, 2008


Upthread? You think I read other people's comments? Who has that kind of time?
posted by srboisvert at 8:01 AM on April 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I know what you mean. I'm usually too busy tilting at windmills, meself.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:08 PM on April 30, 2008


Mei's lost sandal: No particular reason that the blade tip should explode when it passes Mach 1. More likely the extreme flexing and vibration caused it to brush the tower, damaging the tip, and causing it to delaminate. With one blade out of balance, the rotor could easily send the other blades into the tower at that speed. If this machine was a decade old, the blade would have been around 19-23m long. No-one makes a 90m blade.

The blades are sometimes made of carbon fibre. Most usually glass fibre composite, and sometimes wood-glass-epoxy composite. Carbon's on the increase, though.
posted by scruss at 7:16 PM on April 30, 2008


I guess they're sometimes not so great for birds, though.

Is it too much to ask for another youtube link?
posted by rigby51 at 12:30 AM on May 1, 2008


scruss: Have you heard anything about the multi-section blades that are supposed to be under development?
posted by biffa at 12:55 AM on May 1, 2008


Is it too much to ask for another youtube link?

Yes, it is. I'm told that adding one more link to youtube is going to make MetaFilter asplode.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:25 AM on May 1, 2008


Go for it flapjax. Note how I clevery avoided linking to YouTube for the main 2 videos of my post. That was a deliberate decision. This allows 2 more YouTube links before the threat of asplosion.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 7:30 AM on May 1, 2008


Go for it flapjax. Note how I clevery avoided linking to YouTube...

Duly noted. OK, then... Fatal Attraction: Birds and Wind Turbines.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:40 AM on May 1, 2008




biffa: multi-section blades, as in extending? They're at the experimental stage. Not sure of their value personally, but would be happy to be proved wrong.

flapjax: Altamont's a disaster. Built in the 80s with no bird or bat monitoring. Wouldn't be built today. Surprised an industry consortium hasn't bought it and closed it. Even more surprised that the California grid operator lets it connect if it's really as bad as they say. And broken down and stopped turbines on the site? Inexcusable.
posted by scruss at 7:43 PM on May 1, 2008


I guess I'll just keep posting this in every wind energy thread I encounter, because there's something poetic about wind energy generated from kites.
posted by NekulturnY at 10:17 AM on May 3, 2008


NekulturnY: That's really cool. I'd love to see a working demonstration of that tech. It seems like it'd be absolutely hypnotic.
posted by Project F at 11:24 AM on May 3, 2008


ProjectF: there's a few videos on their site. There's a big feature on KiteGen in Wired. A great read.
posted by NekulturnY at 11:54 AM on May 3, 2008


So, uh, what does the KiteGen do when the wind stops? The Wired article is basically a puff piece.
posted by scruss at 6:57 AM on May 5, 2008


Of course it's a puff piece, it's Wired.

There's some scientifically looking papers on the kitegen site. The idea, as far as I understood it, is to use winds at 800 - 1000 m altitude, which are supposed to be more consistent and stronger than surface wind. If there's no wind at all, I believe the kites are retracted. They automatically open again when there is enough wind. I believe even the puff piece mentions this.
posted by NekulturnY at 7:39 AM on May 5, 2008


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