Wind turbines could also help remove carbon dioxide from the air. (Image Credit: mrganso/pixabay)
According to Purdue University researchers, wind turbines could double up and remove carbon dioxide, helping in the fight against climate change! Apart from power-generating capabilities, the turbines would bring in a city's or smokestack's dirty air before pulling it into systems that remove greenhouse gasses. This process effectively allows machines to collect more CO2 out of the air. On November 21st, the team will discuss their simulations and a scaled-down wind tunnel test system at a meeting of the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics in Indianapolis.
Humans must release significantly less carbon dioxide into the air to further address climate change. However, we must put in more effort to make an impact. Direct air capture systems, which collect CO2 from the atmosphere, could also play a vital role in those efforts. The high CO2 levels created by factories, power plants, and cities are more concentrated at heights that ground machines can't reach for removal. So the team is exploring the advantages of using wind turbine wakes to redirect higher concentrations.
While spinning, large wind turbines generate turbulence that drags air down into their wake. This effect can sufficiently concentrate CO2, making carbon capture feasible, especially near cities like Chicago. Also, wind turbines don't run on water, as fossil fuel plants and nuclear plants require for cooling.
Allowing the carbon capture system to run on power generated from the turbines can lessen carbon dioxide removal costs. Despite tax credits and CO2 sales, there's still a large gap between the value of capturing it and the cost related to running capture via energy from other sources. Wind turbine farms could see a no-cost added benefit through this new approach.
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