Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Deadly wind farms give bats "the bends", study says

Bats suffer from an airborne version of the diver’s condition known as "the bends" when they fly too near wind turbines, experts have claimed.

Concern for the welfare of the creatures has already prompted dozens of challenges to schemes in the Westcountry.

The RSPB lodged an objection against Somerset’s first multi-turbine wind farm at West Huntspill - which is was eventually dismissed by the Secretary of State but is now subject to a High Court appeal by developers Ecotricity.

The bird charity claimed it was in a “flight path” for birds and bats which could hit the rotor blades.

Now Queen’s University Belfast has unearthed another potential problem, namely that pressure from the turbine blades causes a similar condition as that experienced by divers when the surface too quickly.

Conservationists have warned that the bodies of bats are frequently seen around the bases of turbines, but it was previously assumed they had flown into the blades.

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1 comment:

  1. Basically what is going on is that the turbine tips generate what are known in the aeronautical world as tip vortices. On many modern airliners such as the A380, the wing tips have small extensions up and down; these are there partly to prevent these tip vortices forming as much. The reason for stopping these is to make the wing more efficient (the tip vortices cause a lot of drag) and to make the airspace after an airliner has been there safer (vortices cause problems at airfields if aircraft land too close together).

    Wind turbine manufacturers know about tip vortices; the aerodynamics of a wind turbine blade are very similar to those of a slow propeller-driven aircraft, but basically don't want to employ mitigating techniques as these add weight and slightly decrease efficiency.

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