World's Largest Wind Turbine Will Be Taller Than Empire State Building
When it comes to the latest wind turbine technologies, size matters. A group of six institutions and universities is designing an offshore wind turbine that will stand 500 meters in height. That's taller than the Eiffel Tower and the Empire State Building.
The research team, led by researchers at the University of Virginia, believes that its wind turbine concept will produce 50 megawatts of peak power, or about 10 times more powerful than conventional wind turbines.
"Our mission is to conceptualize, design and demonstrate morphing technologies for 50-megawatt wind turbines that can reduce offshore levelized cost of energy by as much as 50 percent by 2025," they state.
A typical wind turbine stands around 70 meters tall with blades about 50 meters long. But the team's Segmented Ultralight Morphing Rotor dwarfs the field with rotor blades that are 200 meters long, or as long as two football fields.
"We call it the extreme scale," aerospace engineer and University of Virginia professor Eric Loth told Digital Trends. "There's nothing like it." The project is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy's Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Digital Trends reports the blades will face downward and can be assembled in small segments, making it easier to manufacture, transport and put together on site.
Loth added that the blades will also be adjustable, meaning they can fan out during peak wind conditions and contract if weather conditions are damaging.
"Like a flower, the petals are spread out, and we reach out and grab as much wind as we can," he said.
As Loth explained to Scientific American, these mega turbines will be more cost-effective than existing turbines because wind blows stronger and more steadily at greater altitudes, allowing you to "capture more energy." Furthermore, the long blades catch the wind more efficiently.
The team wants the massive structures to stand at least 80 kilometers offshore, where winds are usually to stronger and is far enough away to avoid the path of migratory birds.
The turbine's design was inspired by palm trees, whose trunks bend with the wind.
"Palm trees are really tall but very lightweight structurally, and if the wind blows hard, the trunk can bend," Loth said. "We're trying to use the same concept—to design our wind turbines to have some flexibility, to bend and adapt to the flow."
According to Scientific American, the prototype has yet to be tested. The researchers are currently designing the turbine's structure and control system and will build a mini-model this summer that stands about two meters in diameter. They plan to test a larger turbine with 20-meter-long blades in Colorado next summer.
Santa Barbara Becomes First California City to Pass Resolution Against Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling
The Santa Barbara City Council approved a resolution Tuesday opposing new drilling off the California coast and fracking in existing offshore oil and gas wells. The resolution is the first in a new statewide campaign to rally local governments against proposals to expand offshore fossil fuel extraction in federal waters.
The vote—which makes Santa Barbara the first California city to oppose both fracking and new offshore drilling—follows President Trump's April 28 executive order urging federal agencies to expand oil and gas leasing in federal waters. The order could expose the Pacific Ocean to new oil leasing for the first time in more than 30 years.
Starting Wednesday, the vast majority of Americans can learn about every potentially harmful chemical in their drinking water and what scientists say are the safe levels of those contaminants. The Environmental Working Group's (EWG) new national Tap Water Database is the most complete source available on the quality of U.S. drinking water, aggregating and analyzing data from almost 50,000 public water systems in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The organization has earned a reputation for ambitious data-mining research projects that shake up policy debates and consumer markets. EWG's online Farm Subsidy Database, listing millions of subsidy recipients, and its Skin Deep guide to more than 70,000 personal care products, draw tens of millions of visitors every year.
By Stacy Malkan
Ever since they classified the world's most widely used herbicide as "probably carcinogenic to humans," a team of international scientists at the World Health Organization's (WHO) cancer research group have been under withering attack by the agrichemical industry and its surrogates.
In a front-page series, The Monsanto Papers, the French newspaper Le Monde described the attacks as "the pesticide giant's war on science," and reported, "to save glyphosate, the firm [Monsanto] undertook to harm the United Nations agency against cancer by all means."
The lengthy report from the Energy and Policy Institute uses reams of archival documents to demonstrate that utility industry representatives knew as far back as 1968 that burning fossil fuels could trigger "catastrophic effects" on the climate.
By Sharon Kelly
The Pennsylvania's Environmental Hearing Board ordered Sunoco Pipeline LP Tuesday to temporarily halt some types of work on a $2.5 billion pipeline project designed to carry 275,000 barrels a day of butane, propane and other liquid fossil fuels from Ohio and West Virginia, across Pennsylvania, to the Atlantic coast.
On July 19, three environmental groups presented Judge Bernard Labuskes, Jr. with documentation showing that the project had caused dozens of drilling fluid spills and other accidents between April and mid-June.
By Andy Rowell
The UK has followed France in banning the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2040, as part of its plan to tackle chronic air pollution in cities. The government has been coming under intense pressure to act, with an estimated 40,000 people dying prematurely a year from air pollution.
By Colleen Curry
People traveling across America today can, if they're lucky, pitch a tent in the same exact spot that early American explorers and map-makers Lewis and Clark did, amid the jagged rocks and sweeping plains of the Upper Missouri River Breaks in central Montana.
Brent Rose, a journalist and filmmaker who has been traveling around the U.S. in a van for two years, was one of the lucky ones.
Kyara, a killer whale born at SeaWorld San Antonio just three months ago, died Monday at the park, as reported in this video from Newsy. Kyara is the last orca to be born in captivity under the SeaWorld breeding program, which shut down in 2016.
In a statement, SeaWorld said the cause of death was "likely pneumonia" and that "Kyara had faced some very serious and progressive health issues over the last week."