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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Thar She Blows … Over
13 February 2012 3:00 pm
When a hurricane hits, a considerable fraction of offshore wind turbines proposed along some areas of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast could buckle and collapse, according to a new study. In the most costly damage scenario, individual turbines wouldn't be able to minimize stresses imposed by hurricane-force winds by turning to face the storm, either because they can't swivel fast enough or don't have battery backup that enables such motion during power outages. In the shallow waters off Galveston County, Texas—the riskiest of the four areas for non-swiveling turbines, largely due to the frequency of strong hurricanes there—there's a 60% chance that at least one such support tower in a 50-turbine wind farm will buckle during a 20-year interval and a 30% chance that more than half of them will buckle, the researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Offshore of Dare County, North Carolina, there's a 60% chance that at least one tower in a 50-turbine wind farm will buckle but only a 9% chance that more than half of the turbines there will. Results suggest that beefing up turbine support towers—as well as making sure that turbines will be able to swivel rapidly in case of rapidly changing winds, such as those likely during a hurricane—will greatly enhance the probability that offshore wind farms can help meet U.S. needs for renewable electricity, the researchers say.
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*This item has been updated to reflect that offshore wind turbines are being proposed for areas of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast.