An anonymous reader writes from an LATimes article: Efforts to increase wind power mean that turbine blades are getting bigger and bigger. But a new design in the works takes the idea to levels most people can barely imagine: Blades up to 656.2 feet long -- more than two football fields. Today's longest blades are 262.5 feet. The blades at Imperial County's Ocotillo wind farm, which sends electricity to San Diego, are 173.9 feet long. "We call it the extreme scale," Eric Loth, a University of Virginia professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, said of the planned mega-blades. "There's nothing like it." The blades would look much different look from today's wind turbines. They wouldn't face the wind but would go downwind, aligning the blades to flow with the wind instead of fighting it. And instead of a single stiff blade, each blade would be broken into segments, allowing it to be more easily fabricated. In addition, the concept would allow the blades to "morph" -- spread out when the wind is blowing lightly to capture as much power as possible.
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