Bio-Inspired Wind Turbine Blade Profile Design

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The wind energy industry needs technological advancements in cost-efficiency if it is to compete with fossil fuels for large-scale energy production. In addition, many communities refuse to allow wind turbines to be erected nearby due to noise complaints. To solve issues of cost-effectiveness and noise reduction, this proposal suggests that nature may have viable designs which can be implemented. Of particular note are nearly-silent owl feathers and the tubercles of humpback whale fins, known for improving efficiency. The design project proposed here will investigate the creation of a hybrid blade profile which seeks to capitalize on both designs, improving efficiency and reducing noise in one profile. After research and testing on the hybrid profile, it was determined that while the noise reduction aspect of the design was sound, the placement of the tubercles on the trailing edge was incorrect due to faulty research, leading to a drop in overall efficiency. Further development is necessary to refine this design, though the basic principles behind the design remain sound.
Thesis completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Alfred University Honors Program.
Honors thesis, Wind turbines, Wind energy, Technology