With the current trend to move towards the construction and deployment of wind turbines, scientists from ETH Zurich have concluded in a study that the larger the diameter of a turbine is the “greener” electricity it produces.
Their report was published in ACS Environmental Science & Technology journal.
Marloes Caduff and colleagues first noted that wind turbines become more and more popular source of generating electricity. They provide nearly 2% of electricity worldwide, a figure expected to approach 10% by 2020.
The size of the turbines is also increasing. A study shows that the average size of commercial turbines had a 10 times increase over the last 30 years, from a diameter of 15 meters in 1980 to nearly 150 meters today. Eventually, you could see giant turbines close to 300 meters in diameter. Also, the study authors wanted to determine if the construction of large wind turbines made them more or less environmentally friendly.
Their study showed that large turbines produce “greener” electricity – for two main reasons.
First, manufacturers now have the knowledge, experience and technology to build large wind turbines with higher efficiency.
Second, materials and design allow an advanced manufacturing optimum blade which better harness the winds without sustaining a commensurate increase in their mass. The same pattern also applies to the hub and the hull housing the generator. This ultimately means more renewable power, without increasing the amount of materials needed for construction or transport fuels.