Insect Power Drag


Mayfly swarm.

Insects are good at avoiding collisions with stationary objects. Insects are not as good at avoiding collisions with moving objects such as car windshields. Insects also collide with and stick to the blades of wind turbines. A study in 2001* found that insects can halve wind turbine power. The study began as an investigation of unexplained power loss. Insects fly during periods of high humidity and low wind speed. Under these conditions, insects collide with and accumulate on the blades of the wind turbine. At high wind speeds, the aerodynamic flow over the smooth leading edge of a turbine blade becomes critical to power output. Insects collected the blade present a rough surface and reduce power output at high wind speeds. Power returns once the blades are cleaned.

*Gustave P. Corten & Herman F. Veldkamp. Aerodynamics: Insects can halve wind-turbine power. Nature 412, 41-42 (5 July 2001)

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is a retired Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment, Pest Management. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Insect Power Drag

  1. Pingback: Insect Power Drag | Gaia Gazette

  2. anastaciast says:

    My sympathies are with the animals being killed by the wind turbines.

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