North Cape. WEICan begins tests on WhalePower Corp's novel wind turbine blade, modelled on the fin of a humpback whale.
Humpback whales are amongst the largest animals on the planet yet they are also surprisingly agile despite their size and bulk. The effect was first described by WhalePower’s President, Dr. Frank E. Fish of West Chester University. Recent research undertaken at the US Naval Undersea Warfare Centre in Newport, Rhode Island, suggests that much of the humpback’s manoeuvrability derives from protuberances, called tubercles, found on the leading edge of their pectoral flippers.
Toronto firm, WhalePower Corp., saw the value of this discovery to the rapidly growing wind industry and came up with ‘Tubercle Technology’, novel blade designs that have protuberances on the leading edge of the blades. Speaking about the practical meaning of this discovery, WhalePower’s VP of Business Affairs, Stephen Dewar, said;
"Scientific research conducted at major universities and by the US Navy, has shown that Tubercle Technology can operate at much higher pitch, producing much more lift with surprisingly low drag. In wind turbines that all adds up to more power and more reliability and that is a major advance for wind power generation."
Mr Dewar went on to note that with increasing concern about climate change and with the Canadian, North American and global, wind industries expanding annually at a rate in excess of 30%, the commercial opportunities for Tubercle Technology are very substantial. WEICan’s Technical Director, Paul Dockrill, said;
"This is the first time that Tubercle Technology has been comprehensively field-tested on a wind turbine. We are very pleased that WhalePower has selected WEICan to undertake this work and we very much looking forward to carrying out these tests over the coming months."
As he assisted with the final steps of manoeuvring the Tubercle Technology blades into their new resting place atop one of WEICan’s turbines, Mr Dewar noted;
"Biomimicry is a wonderful thing! More than a million years of evolution cannot be wrong and consequently we are very confident of the outcome of the tests that WEICan will be conducting over the coming months."
WEICan press release ( 21kB)
CBC news item. 10-Aug-'07 ( 4MB)
WEICan contact for additional information: