Noise research to combat 'wind turbine syndrome'

Jun 01, 2011
Researchers are investigating noise generated by wind farms. Photo by Steve Ford Elliott

(PhysOrg.com) -- University of Adelaide acoustics researchers are investigating the causes of wind turbine noise with the aim of making them quieter and solving 'wind turbine syndrome'.

They are also developing a to predict the output from so they can accurately and quickly assess the effectiveness of potential noise-reducing designs and control methods.

Research leader Dr Con Doolan, of the University's School of Mechanical Engineering, said the noise generated from wind turbines is 'trailing edge or airfoil noise', the same sort of noise generated at the edge of aircraft wings.

"We know generally what causes that noise - as the turbulent air flows over the sharp edge of the blade it radiates sound much more efficiently, so the noise can be heard at some distance," said Dr Doolan.

"What we don't yet understand, however, is exactly how that turbulence and blade edge, or , interact and how that makes the noise louder.

"If we can understand this fundamental science, we can then look at ways of controlling the noise, through changing the shape of the or using active control devices at the blade edges to disrupt the pattern of turbulence and so reduce the noise."

Dr Doolan said further complicating factors came from the effects of multiple wind turbines together and the way the noise increases and decreases as the blades rotate - the blade 'swish'. The model they are developing will look at the noise from the whole wind turbine and how multiple numbers of together, as in a wind farm, generate noise.

"Wind turbine noise is very directional. Someone living at the base might not have a problem but two kilometres away, it might be keeping them awake at night," he said.

"Likewise this broadband 'hissing' noise modulates up and down as the blades rotate and we think that's what makes it so annoying," he said.

"Wind turbine noise is controversial but there's no doubt that there is noise and that it seems to be more annoying than other types of noise at the same level. Finding ways of controlling and reducing this noise will help us make the most of this very effective means of generating large amounts of electricity with next to zero carbon emissions."

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User comments : 8

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SiBorg
not rated yet Jun 01, 2011
Not really anything new or exciting in this posting.
TheRedComet
not rated yet Jun 01, 2011
Not to us but the article was not intended for us. I thought this was a goofy article since we do know why wind turbines are so noise. I looked in to why this was news and it comes from Adelaide Australia where Acciona Energy has been trying to get a wind farm approved. In my local area we had the same kind of media blitz the funny thing was that no one was in opposition to the wind farm in the first place.
NotParker
1 / 5 (1) Jun 01, 2011
I feel sad for the millions of birds killed each month.
Fed_Up_With_Stupid
not rated yet Jun 01, 2011
@NotParker

I don't. Stupid birds - learn to dodge!

If a few million birds have to die each month so that I can live my energy hungry lifestyle, so be it. Now if only we could find a way to turn killing baby seals into electricity we (Canada) could light up the arctic!
Na_Reth
not rated yet Jun 01, 2011
Birds get confused by the motion of the blades, and they get hypnotized by it. They cant dodge if they wanted to.
Birds are a very important factor of biodiversity and ecosystems...
Basically FedUp doesnt mind suicide by killing off lots of birds and seals, and is very stupid.
Fed_Up_With_Stupid
5 / 5 (3) Jun 01, 2011
@Na_Reth,

I could explain the phenomenon of sarcastic humour to you, but I suspect it would be time wasted.
NotParker
1 / 5 (2) Jun 02, 2011
FedUp its very hard to tell the difference between sarcastic humor and the comments of demented warmers who seem to constantly wishing for the death of billions and the destruction of our economy.
Fed_Up_With_Stupid
5 / 5 (1) Jun 02, 2011
Demented warmers? Death of billions? Destruction of...

...What are you talking about?

Either your ranting or I really am stupid.