Researchers to Study Low-Frequency Wind Turbine Sounds

The goals of this three-year project include promoting public-sector support of alternative energy technology.

by / November 30, 2012

In an effort to promote public-sector support of alternative energy technology, researchers in Australia will study noise caused by wind turbines -- of which there are many unknowns, the University of Adelaide researchers said.

Of particularly uncertainty are the low-frequency sounds produced by large wind turbines found around the world, Chief Investigator and Associate Professor Con Doolan said in a press release. "This project is aimed at getting to the bottom of what is creating the noise that can cause disturbance," he said in the release. "When we know what is contributing most to that noise -- exactly what's causing it -- then we can stop it." 


The researchers will build a small-scale wind turbine in the university's wind tunne and will build an anechoic chamber (a specialist acoustic test room) around the turbine.


By using “laser diagnostics” and arrays of microphones, researchers say they will test wind turbines in a lab to recreate real-world scenarios and identify the source of the sound generated. By finding a correlation between aerodynamics and sound production, researchers hope to identify engineering solutions and influence public policy.

"If we can understand what's creating these sounds, then we can advise governments about wind farm regulation and policy, and make recommendations about the design of wind farms or the turbine blades to industry," Doolan said.

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