When I say "whale fin-based" here, I don't mean that they're made out of whales. Though...who cares about whales anyway...right?
It turns out that the little bumps on the trailing edge of a humpback whale's fins are actually useful. Now, this shouldn't really surprise us, because whales have been working to make themselves more efficient for millions of years. But still, we've finally figured it out for ourselves.
Using these little "tubercles," a new firm in Toronto has created fan blades that have 32% less drag and are, overall, 20% more efficient at moving air. The new design could lead to similar gains in wind turbines, though the testing and certification process for turbine efficiency takes some time.
Co-founder Stephen Dewar says, "When it comes down to it, we've got the best blades ever made." They're already in discussion with the biggest fan maker in India about introducing their power-saving blades and they've talked with ten separate wind turbine manufacturers about doing field tests.
Sometimes we just have to open our eyes and ask nature to give us a hand. It's nice to see people listening.
written by Adam, March 08, 2008
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