Turbines are a great source of all kinds of energy. Whether it’s gas-powered turbines, wind turbines, or steam turbines, which have been used since the 1880s for electricity production; turbines are essential. However, these powerful, giant machines are extremely dangerous. Though humans know not to perform turbine inspections with their bare hands because of the extremely high temperatures within the rotor and engine (which is why borescope turbine inspection devices are so useful), turbines are quite harmful to another mammal: bats.
According to Digital Trends, turbines and their giant blades have continuously injured or killed bats. Hundreds of thousands of bats flutter throughout the night across the United States looking for food and tree roots to rest on. But as these bats fly around, they run into spinning blades. If they aren’t injured from flying through these turbines, their lungs might bleed out due to the decrease in air pressure around the turbines.
This isn’t just a minor issue. A few years ago, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced voluntary guidelines to halt turbines at low wind speeds when bats are most active in order to save bats’ lives. However, halting turbines causes plenty of other financial and energy production problems. As such, another solution is needed.
Thanks to researchers from Texas State University, Bat Conservation International and NRG Systems, a new Bat Deterrent System that utilizes ultrasound technology will likely reduce the number of bat fatalities at turbine facilities across the country.
“It is no secret that wind turbines cause mortality to bats,” said Brogan Morton, senior product manager at NRG Systems. “This has become an increasingly critical issue as bat populations across North America continue to decline. NRG set out to develop a technology that would allow wind developers and operators to protect bats while creating more energy more of the time. We are incredibly pleased to say that we are well on our way to making this a reality.”
The new Bat Deterrent System will be commercially available next year. Currently in a two-year trial and installed at only 16 turbines across the country, the device has decreased bat fatalities in these areas by 54%.
If you want to learn more about the importance of turbine inspections or work with experienced turbine support services, give Advanced Turbine Support a call right away.