Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

U of C scientists find successful way to reduce bat deaths at wind turbines

29.09.2009
Preventative steps have minimal impact on economics and energy generated at test facility

Scientists at the University of Calgary have found a way to reduce bat deaths from wind turbines by up to 60 percent without significantly reducing the energy generated from the wind farm. The research, recently published in the Journal of Wildlife Management, demonstrates that slowing turbine blades to near motionless in low-wind periods significantly reduces bat mortality.

"Biologically, this makes sense as bats are more likely to fly when wind speeds are relatively low. When it's really windy, which is when the turbines are reaping the most energy, bats don't like to fly. There is a potential for biology and economics to mesh nicely," says U of C biology professor Robert Barclay, who co-authored the paper with PhD student Erin Baerwald of the U of C as well as with Jason Edworthy and Matt Holder of TransAlta Corporation.

Last year, a groundbreaking Barclay-Baerwald study shed new light about the reasons for bat deaths under wind turbines in the Pincher Creek area. Researchers found that the majority of migratory bats in this southern Alberta location were killed because a sudden drop in air pressure near the blades caused injuries to the bats' lungs known as barotrauma. Although the respiratory systems in birds can withstand such drops, the physiology of bats' lungs does not allow for the sudden change of pressure.

The next step was to find a way to mitigate the deaths. TransAlta, Canada's largest publicly traded provider of renewable energy, initiated a follow-up study at the same site to determine what could be done.

"Wind power has come of age, so further minimizing the impact of wind farms on the surrounding ecology is always important to our industry," says Jason Edworthy, director of Community Relations for TransAlta. "Working with the university during the course of this four-year study has given TransAlta the opportunity to test real world strategies that benefit affected bat populations and make economic sense."

Until recently, wildlife concerns regarding wind energy focused primarily on bird fatalities. But bat fatalities now outnumber those of birds due, in part, to efforts to mitigate bird deaths by wind turbines.

Most bats killed at wind energy facilities across North America are migratory tree bats, including hoary and silver-haired bats. The deaths occur during autumn migration from Canada and the Northern U.S. to the southern U.S. or Mexico.

"Given that more bat fatalities occur in low wind speeds and the relative ease of manipulating operation of turbines, we examined whether reducing the amount that turbine rotors turn in low wind speeds would reduce bat fatalities," says Baerwald.

Over the one-month experiment total revenue lost from the 15 turbines was estimated between $3,000 and $4,000.

TransAlta has already applied the low wind mitigation strategy to the 38 turbines identified in the study area. "The findings from the study area are promising and this new mode of operation is now in place and will be applied to new wind farms," says Edworthy.

"Although these are promising mitigation techniques, further experiments are needed to assess costs and benefits at other locations," says Barclay.

The journal article, A Large-Scale Mitigation Experiment to Reduce Bat Fatalities at Wind energy Facilities, can be found online at: http://www.wildlifejournals.org/

Related U of C story: http://www.ucalgary.ca/news/aug2008/batdeaths

Related Calgary Herald Story: http://www2.canada.com/calgaryherald/news/city/story.html?id=69b0a3a8-a833-4de3-a925-b135f837ded6

MEDIA CONTACT:

Leanne Yohemas
Senior Communications Manager
University of Calgary - Faculty of Science
T: 403-220-5144
C: 403-540-6552
leanne.yohemas@ucalgary.ca
www.science.ucalgary.ca
Michael Lawrence
Manager, External Relations
Phone: (403) 267-7330
Email: michael_lawrence@transalta.com

Leanne Yohemas | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.science.ucalgary.ca
http://www.ucalgary.ca

Further reports about: Calgary TransAlta renewable energy wind farms wind speed wind turbine

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht International network connects experimental research in European waters
21.03.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Gewässerökologie und Binnenfischerei (IGB)

nachricht World Water Day 2017: It doesn’t Always Have to Be Drinking Water – Using Wastewater as a Resource
17.03.2017 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>