12/20/2010

Wind Turbines may Benefit Crops

 
Wind Turbines may Benefit Crops

Wind turbines in the Midwest may be doing a lot more than making energy.  Researchers at Ames Laboratory and the University of Colorado have determined that wind turbines channel beneficial breezes to nearby crops.

Corn and soybean crops within range of wind turbines gain a breezy boost.  The wind turbines provide a cooler, dryer environment for the crops and help them fend off fungal infestations as well as improving their abilities to extract carbon dioxide from the air and soil.

“We’ve finished the first phase of our research, and we’re confident that wind turbines do produce measureable effects on the microclimate near crops,” says Ames Laboratory associate and agricultural meteorology expert Gene Takle.  “We anticipate turbines’ effects are good in the spring and fall because they would keep the crop a little warmer and help prevent a frost… wind turbines could possibly ward off early fall frosts and extend the growing season.”

Wind turbine technology has been a popular choice for sustainable, renewable energy, and it now appears that there are even more potential benefits than previously anticipated.

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