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The blade's the thing

As demand for renewable, clean energy grows, blade design is receiving greater attention as researchers attempt to improve efficiency and reduce costs, writes Anne Feltus

AT THE growing number of wind farms around the US, gigantic rotating blades atop tall steel towers dominate the landscape. Although the technology for harvesting the energy of wind dates back several centuries, these sleek, modern structures, which are clustered and connected to produce electricity on a commercial scale, are exponentially more efficient than the ancient windmills that were used to pump water or grind grain. Efforts continue to reduce the cost and increase the generating capacity of these wind-conversion systems. Much of that focus has been on improving their blades – the only component of wind turbines that, according to the Sandia National Laboratories, is designed and man

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