Black turbine blade ‘can cut bird deaths’

Posted: August 26, 2020 by oldbrew in Energy, innovation, turbines, wind
Tags:


Admitting the problem is a start, but not installing the turbines in the first place is obviously the most effective solution. Reducing deaths and injuries would hardly be a triumph.
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Painting one blade of a wind turbine black could cut wind farms’ fatal bird strikes by up to 70%, reports BBC News.

Painting one blade of a wind turbine black could cut bird strikes at wind farms by up to 70%, a study suggests.

Birds colliding with the structures has long been considered to be one of the main negative impacts of onshore wind farms, the authors observed.

The RSPB welcomed the research but said the priority remained avoiding placing wind farms where there was a risk to wildlife, such as birds.

The findings have been published in the Ecology and Evolution journal.

“Collision of birds, especially raptors, is one of the main environmental concerns related to wind energy development,” observed co-author Roel May.

“In Norway, 6-9 white-tailed eagles are killed annually within the Smøla wind-power plant. This has caused opposition and conflict.”

The Smola wind farm is located on the west coast of Norway, consisting of 68 turbines over 18 square kilometres, making it one of the largest onshore wind farms in Norway.

Paint it black

Dr May, a senior researcher from the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research in Trondheim, said the team were keen to test whether mitigation measures could reduce the rate of bird strikes.

“One of the mitigation measures we tested was painting one of three rotor blades black,” he told BBC News.

“The expectation is that this design reduces so-called motion smear, making the blades more visible to birds.”

Full report here.

Comments
  1. Dave Ward says:

    “Dr May, a senior researcher from the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research in Trondheim”

    Clearly, Dr May knows little about composites. There’s a very good reason why fibreglass structures are normally white – heat buildup. Painting them in dark colours, particularly black, dramatically increases the internal temperature in sunlight, leading to premature degradation. Doing it to just one blade of three is going to make for some interesting maintenance problems further down the line…

  2. Graeme No.3 says:

    @Dave Ward:
    Good point although (with 25 years experience in the fibreglass industry) I point out that there are problems making one of three blades in black. What pigment? A black that doesn’t change the cure time of the gelcoat? A need for different moulds (to avoid contamination)? And differential expansion in sunlight?
    And why black? Are birds colourblind? Why not a red blade?
    However I agree fully with you that “Dr May knows little about composites”.

  3. Gamecock says:

    “Collision of birds, especially raptors, is one of the main environmental concerns’

    Specieism.

  4. oldbrew says:

    German wind turbines…

  5. JB says:

    Has no one thought of ultrasonics?

  6. ivan says:

    There is a very simple answer but it would upset the subsidy farmers – decommission all the wind turbines and remove them since they are incapable of supplying reliable electricity. The offshore units also need removing to protect sea birds and those that have migratory paths that go through the places where they are.

  7. Gamecock says:

    500′ high chicken wire fences around the farm should work.

  8. saighdear says:

    Black, eh? thought birds were blind to black: Black netting and thread draped around fruit bushes & trees to deter them. At least the netting doesn’t fly around to wapp them. So doesthe black blade indicae an invisible “window” in the ‘white haze’ – Smear (?) of rotating blades?

  9. Stuart Brown says:

    Totally off topic, but I’d just like to bring to the panel’s attention that we are currently getting more electricity from coal than wind in the UK right now. Thank you.

  10. Dodgy Geezer says:

    Surely painting just ONE blade black and leaving TWO blades white would be racist? It sounds like institutional white supremacy to me.

    The proper answer would be to have rainbow coloured blades, and as many as there are races. And sexes….

  11. Curious George says:

    “The expectation is that this design reduces so-called motion smear, making the blades more visible to birds.” The expectation and no supporting data?

  12. u.k.(us) says:

    Birds have those quick- twitch muscles, but this is an entirely new arena.
    They have never had to deal with a blade passing by at 200 MPH.
    I’ll put my money on the birds, they will figure it out quick.
    Maybe even use it to their advantage.

  13. gbaikie says:

    You could make ocean wind power useful.
    What we need for towns on the ocean is make breakwaters.
    Governments are evil and don’t want to make towns on the ocean, but they seem to want to have
    wind mills on the ocean.
    So you make breakwater with wind mills on top of it.
    So, have a few mile long line of wind mills which is broadside to incoming wave, and 1 mile toward the shore {away from the noisy useless wind mills}. One has a region sheltered from ocean waves.

  14. dennisambler says:

    As the birds won’t see the black blade, warning notices will be needed for them – “Mind the Gap”.

  15. u.k.(us) says:

    If a bird can carefully place a tree branch between itself and my binoculars when alighting in a tree, why would anyone assume they can’t see black ?

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