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Scientists Develop Hurricane-Resistant Wind Turbines

Wind turbines have been around for some time now, and yet engineers are constantly trying to find ways to improve them. 

Now scientists are helping make offshore wind turbines even more durable, by making them resistant to hurricane-grade storms.

EcoWatch reports that researchers from the University of Boulder, Colorado are designing a new turbine type using inspiration from palm trees. 

“We are very much bio-inspired by palm trees, which can survive these hurricane conditions,” Lucy Pao, Palmer Endowed Chair in the Department of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering at the university, said in a statement.

Today’s wind turbines have stiff blades that face incoming winds. The researchers have been experimenting with blades that bend and flex in high winds like palm canopies away from the turbine. 

This way there’s no danger of blades hitting the turbine stalk in strong winds. At the same time, the blades are less expensive to manufacture as they don’t need to be extra heavy and stiff. 

The team of researchers from Boulder University hopes that the new design can become a low-cost and long-lasting alternative to offshore turbine designs that currently have a lifespan of 20 years. 

Nikola uses his background in electrical engineering to break down complex sustainability topics for GreenCitizen's readers. He is a firm believer in environmental conservation, which he practices daily through recycling and home-grown food. He enjoys hiking, engaging in white-water sports, and collecting pocket knives.

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