It's a given that wind turbines are revolutionizing power generation across the globe. Germany, for example, is going to rely on fleets of off shore wind turbines to move away from nuclear power. But to make wind competitive with coal and natural gas, increasing blade length is as important as site selection and wind predicability analysis.
Because the power generated by a wind turbine is related to the area swept by the blades, doubling the blade length generates four times more power - but adds dangerous structural stress. So with bigger and better, comes reduced weight and fracture toughness. (The conjoined design twins of wind energy.) Two companies, Dow Chemical and Bayer MaterialScience (read article), are steadily introducing new materials to give blade designers more options in the race toward 9 and 10 MW turbines. Watch Dow's video in the right hand window.