A really cool and hot idea: Solar wind turbines

s-turbineSome ideas are just way cool. This one is windy cool — and solar hot at the same time: Researchers at the University of Liverpool are looking into developing solar-powered wind turbines.

Their really cool looking design calls for placing solar cells on wind turbine blades!

The design aims to fix one of the main shortcomings of the turbines: The fact that they’re essentially useless when there’s no wind. Adding PV solar cells to the spinning blades will allow the turbines to generate power via the sun, ensuring that the turbines are doubly useful in sunny and windy conditions. The combination will also ensure that the turbines will produce some electricity on sunny but windless days.

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One unintended problem, though, based on computer simulations, is that the moving solar cells produce bright beams of light. These could potentially be temporarily blinding for people nearby, which could be dangerous for pilots.

Currently the University of Liverpool research team is looking for a place to start testing the turbines.

“We are confident we can transform the world’s renewable energy needs,” Dr. Joe King told Inhabitat. “Just think what our turbines could do in countries like Australia.”

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