Here’s a story about a tiny little bit of technology that could have a significant impact on renewable energy, particularly wind turbines. Efficiency is a big deal in the world of wind and solar energy. Dust, dirt, pollen and bird droppings can reduce the efficiency of solar panels, so people have invented ways to wash them in order to keep them producing electricity as efficiently as possible. Wind turbines have blades that can be hundreds of feet long and weigh thousands of pounds. Not only do they operate high up in the air, many are located miles offshore where accessing them is both difficult and hazardous.
Turbine blades need to be inspected regularly to spot potential structural weaknesses or damage that may affect their efficiency. Any surface defects can create unwanted turbulence which in turn lowers the amount of electricity produced for a given amount of wind. Necessity is the mother of invention, so they say. From his work as a turbine blade designer, Chris Cieslak came up with the idea of automating the inspection and maintenance process that is vital to keep wind turbines producing at peak efficiency.
Read the full article at Clean Technica.