It looks like a UFO stuck on a giant utility pole, but the ecoROTR – or Energy Capture Optimization by Revolutionary Onboard Turbine Reshape – could light the way to bigger, better and more efficient wind turbines. “As far as I know, there’s nothing like this in the world,” says Mike Bowman, leader of sustainable energy projects at GE Global Research. “This could be a game changer.”
Early wind tunnel tests showed that using the dome-like structure to deflect wind from the unproductive center of the turbine could increase its efficiency by 3 percent. GE scientists are now testing the structure in the Mojave Desert in California.
GE Reports recently dispatched an Inspire 1 drone capable of shooting 4K video – essentially movie quality – to the location and Group SJR animated the footage with Superhoop’s Hoop interactive video technology. You can turn, toggle and explore the images below the headline by dragging your cursor or finger over them. (If you look closely, Bowman is one of the tiny specks standing in the shade of the dome on the nacelle of the turbine.) Take it for a spin.
GE researchers and technicians must strap on a safety harness and climb an aluminum ladder that’s nearly 300 feet long to reach the dome. Image credit: GE Reports
The aluminum dome weighs 20,000-pounds. Image credit: GE Reports