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Their main advantage is that they don't need orientation control to track wind direction. Not much of an advantage those days, as technological advances make it cheaper to implement on regular turbines, to the point that it's a trivial part of the whole design.

The main problem it faces however, is that wind speed vary with altitude. Hence wind speed differences at the top and bottom will result in huge structural stress. Not good. Regular turbines don't have this problem, or at least it's several orders of magnitude less, and therefore easilty countered.

A 'centrist' is someone who's neither on the left, nor on the left.

by nicta (nico@altiva․fr) on Tue Nov 27th, 2007 at 03:27:39 AM EST
but the ability to overcome stresses is always partly based on design, partly on materials, and partly on scale. Scale changes stresses faster than design and materials can compensate, of course, which is what limits the propellor-style turbines as well. Interestingly, however, a spade design for a vertical turbine might well compensate for a gradient based on altitude. What do you think?

paul spencer
by paul spencer (spencerinthegorge AT yahoo DOT com) on Tue Nov 27th, 2007 at 11:48:55 AM EST
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