Wind Power 2.0

Some of the over 6,000 wind turbines at Altamont Pass, in California.Wind turbines have long had a place in the exurbs of California---what would the drive down the 5 be without white blades spinning in the hills? Inclusion of wind turbines in new skyscraper designs from Bahrain to San Francisco seems to indicate a sea change in progress: wind power is being re-contextualized, coming out of hiding in the rural periphery for integration into the urban fabric.

Along with increased interest comes exciting new technology. Take, for example, maglev wind turbines, just now transitioning from concept to reality. These turbines replace the mechanical connection between rotor and stator with a passive magnetic levitation scheme, usually utilizing the halbach array (a super-slick arrangement of magnets which cancels the magnetic field on one side of the array and amplifies it on the other side, all without electromagnetic input). This bearing-free design allows all of the wind's mechanical potential to be harnessed for conversion to electrical current, instead of a significant percentage re-radiating into the troposphere as friction-produced heat. These turbines are still limited by the efficiency of the impulse turbine (theoretically recovering ≤60% of the kinetic energy incident upon it).

Combine this technology with David Fisher/Dynamic Architecture's inclusion of horizontal wind turbines between each floor of a highrise and you have a perfectly inhabitable power plant which could pump hundreds of megawatt-hours back into the grid.

Added bonus: abatement of the urban wind tunnel effect all downtown inhabitants rue on the daily.

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