Thinking Outside the Turbine

With the recent upswing in ‘green awareness’, alternative renewable energy sources are being touted as the saving grace- and they likely are. But, they are not without their flaws.

For instance, as of April 2007 wind farms in the US were producing nearly 12,000 MW. But, at what cost? For many, the sight of a few wind turbines can be an awe-inspiring experience. But, you start to amass these monoliths across our sweeping plains and awe can quickly turn to disgust.

Enter Shawn Frayne, and his tragedy-inspired approach to harnessing the power of the wind. In 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State collapsed just months after it was completed. The cause? Mechanical resonance. The wind swept across the bridge like a bow on violin strings causing it to vibrate wildly until it disintegrated.

Shawn has applied this same concept to his next-generation wind-harnessing design, which can be seen here. If he’s able to scale this design out, the results would be dramatically less obtrusive and more cost efficient!

Shawn also received Popular Mechanics’ 2007 Breakthrough Award for his design.

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