Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Biomimicking whales

In the sustainability lecture yesterday, I wrote down one of the examples that they talked about because it sounded pretty remarkable. Basically, companies are using whale fins to influence their design of fans, and subsequently, wind turbines. I thought it was especially appropriate since it was one of the "negative" (the group that lost the debate...) group's highlighted alternative energy sources.

An excerpt from one company, the Toronto-based WhalePower Corp:

"Using 'a million years of field tests' to their advantage, Toronto-based WhalePower Corp. is using the fins of humpback whales to help design a better fan (and, hopefully, wind turbine). After US scientists discovered that the tubercles -- the little bumps on humpback fins -- result in 32 percent less drag and an 8 percent rise in lift when compared to a smooth fin. That means a fan blade that 'makes the fan quieter, more efficient, and better at pushing down the air,' according Monica Bowden, chief executive officer of Envira-North, the company that has licensed the WhalePower design."

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