Wind Lens floating farms could triple electricity production

Wind Lens floating farms could triple electricity production

The Yokohama Renewable Energy Exhibition showcases a new wind farming technology that could significantly boost electricity production in Japan
turbines
A CG image shows how future wind-turbine farms may look.

The Yokohama Renewable Energy International Exhibition 2010 earlier this month revealed some visually spectacular new designs for wind turbine technology. The Wind Lens has the potential to triple the amount of electricity produced by offshore turbines according to experiments. Kyushu University professor Yuji Ohya spoke of the merits of the 112-meter diameter structures being able to increase energy output "two or three fold", as well as being about to reduce the dreaded noise pollution so often associated with wind turbines, and improve safety too.

wind lens turbinesThanks to its many volcanoes (and hot springs), Japan has previously derived most of its renewable energy from geothermal means, and currently has 18 power plants producing 0.2 percent of the total electricity of the country. With wind power now producing 2 percent of the world's total -- 159.2 gigawatts according to the World Wind Energy Associations annual report -- the development of the Wind Lens could have significant benefits.

The Wind Lens focuses the power of the wind to the centre of the hoop, intensifying the power in a similar way a magnifying glass does with the sun's rays. With their unique floating hexagonal bases, the Wind Lens might also win over the many detractors of wind turbines who claim they are an ugly blight on the landscape.

Ohya added: "Despite its merits, even if this technology does enter the market in Japan, it may not be easily adopted by other countries, due to differing intensities and directions of wind conditions."

Robert Michael Poole is a specialist on the Japanese music and entertainment scene.

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