November 28, 2012

Wind farm noise to be investigated

AAP | November 28, 2012 |

University of Adelaide researchers are investigating why wind farms produce noise, the bane of many people living near the structures.

They hope the findings of the three-year project will enable better designed wind farms, improved public policy and new noise control technologies.

Despite the attention paid to the noise in recent years, there remain large question marks over its source, chief investigator, associate professor Con Doolan said on Wednesday.

This particularly relates to noise in the low-frequency range which seems to be most significant, he added.

“This project is aimed at getting to the bottom of what is creating the noise that can cause disturbance,” he said in a statement.

“When we know what is contributing most to that noise, exactly what’s causing it, then we can stop it.”

The researchers, from the Flow and Noise Group in the School of Mechanical Engineering, will build a small-scale wind turbine in the University’s wind tunnel.

Around the wind turbine they will also build a specialist acoustic test room.

“This will be the most sophisticated wind turbine noise experiment in the world,” he said.

“We’ll be recreating the environment of a wind farm in the laboratory, with all the different noise sources, and then use advanced measuring techniques – laser diagnostics to measure the aerodynamics and microphone arrays for the acoustics – to find out what the strongest noise source is and how we might control it.”
He said if they can understand what is creating the sounds, they can advise governments about wind farm regulation and policy, and make recommendations about the design of wind farms or the turbine blades to industry.

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