Onshore wind energy schemes in the UK are declining due to many factors, one being local opposition due to the impact of noise. Might this new technology influenced by the characteristics of owl feathers hold the answer to quieter turbine blades?
Early tests of the material, which mimics the intricate structure of an owl’s wing, have demonstrated that it could significantly reduce the amount of noise produced by wind turbines and other types of fan blades, such as those in computers or planes. Since wind turbines are heavily braked in order to minimise noise, the addition of this new surface would mean that they could be run at much higher speeds – producing more energy while making less noise. For an average-sized wind farm, this could mean several additional megawatts worth of electricity.