Cool Pic Archive Pages
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These images have been chosen for their uniqueness. Subject matter ranges from
historic events, to really cool phenomena in science and engineering, to relevant
place, to ingenious contraptions, to interesting products (which now has its own
dedicated Featured Product
On Wednesday, May 28, 2008, while trekking
in a U-Haul truck from Mt. Airy, NC, to our new home in Erie, PA, we pulled off
at a travelers' center along I79 in West Virginia for a bit of a rest. While on
the exit road heading into the parking area, I noticed what at first appeared to
be a very long, slender wing - perhaps from a high performance sailplane. As we
got closer, I could tell that the aspect ratio was much too high to be an airplane
wing, and once the round root section came into view, it became apparent that the
behemoth was a blade from a very large wind turbine. In fact, it was a 130-foot-long
replacement blade headed for the
Maple Ridge Wind
Farm, in Lowville, NY (which is a misnomer because the site was selected for
its elevation). According to the tractor trailer driver, the blades have a nasty
habit of slapping the tower shaft when certain wind conditions prevail, and the
composite blades shatter utterly in the cold temperatures of upstate New York (or
maybe when a turkey or vulture - or small Cessna - flies into one ;).
Here is a facility that machines the massive (20-ton) rotor hubs for another
company's turbines using state-of-the-art CNC machining.
Thanks to Terry W. for the link.
This wind turbine blade was shipping out of Texas, where it was transferred from
the tractor that brought it from the manufacturing plant of
Vestas, in Brazil
(headquartered in Denmark, where they have been building windmills for a looooong
time). Vestas began construction on its first U.S.
blade manufacturing facility in Colorado in 2007. In 2008, a
Vestas R&D Center opened in Texas. They have facilities all
over the world.
The Maple Ridge Wind Farm turbines are Vestas model
V82-1.65 MW, which are 82 meters in diameter and, you guessed
it, produce up to 1.65 MW of power. From press releases, it appears these models
sell for around $2,5000,000US. I do not know if that is an installed price.
There are 68 attachment bolts - a highway officer that was weighing the load
(notice the scales under the wheels) climbed up and counter them. It is hard to
tell from the photos, but the blade was so long that a separate wheeled trailer
was attached near the tip.
According to Forbes:
"Vestas Wind Systems market share for wind turbine generators (WTG) [had] a leading
stake of 25% in 2006." "Vestas' competitors GE, Enercon and Gamesa Eolica had around
15% each of the market, while Siemens Wind Power and Suzlon held market shares just
below 10% each, MAKE Consulting said."
According to Vestas, "We install a wind turbine every four hours. Globally."
Do a Google search on
vestas order and you will be amazed at how many they sell! This
high oil price market is a real boon for Vestas.
You just never know what interesting thing you are going to see. The ubiquity
of picture-taking devices nearly guarantees somebody, somewhere, will capture just
about everything that happens. A Cool Pic indeed!