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 Successful calculation of human and natural influence on cloud formation
04.11.2016 | Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

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: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>