GreenEnergyNews has a nice article on some new innovations in the wind power area. Since there’s a practical limit to the size of the wind turbines, the only way to get more power from turbines is to look at other parts of the design. GreenEnergyNews lists a bunch of the latest design changes. My favorite is what wind turbine maker Zephyr calls the Air Dolphin Mark Zero. The Air Dolphin Mark Zero uses some of the energy it produces to spin the rotor and allow the turbine to reach the start up or cut-in point quicker – even when the wind is barely blowing. By using a little bit of power to overcome the inertia of the motor and the blades, it allows the turbine to produce power in much lower wind speeds than normal. One additional benefit is that it also prevents freezing of the rotor in low temperatures.
The article has lots of other neat new ideas, including the Swift from Renewable Devices, high efficiency power generators from American Superconductor, the Wavegen’s Limpet oscillating water column wave energy generation device, PacWind vertical axis wind turbines, and Windshine Electric’s not yet seen design which the company claims will “produce electric power at a cost on par with current coal, oil or gas and will not need subsidies to be profitable.”