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Ernest J. Moniz

Researchers' idea will blow you away: 656-foot long blades on wind turbines

Researchers' idea will blow you away: 656-foot long blades on wind turbines

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."

Loth is one of the leaders of a team, which includes four universities and two...

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