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World’s tallest wind turbine reaches into the German sky

A new record has been set by German company Max Bögl Wind AG with its new turbine near to the town of Gaildorf, Germany.

The new turbine is tallest of four in the project, with a central column measuring 178m high. The total height is further boosted to 246m when the blades are considered. This is higher than almost every building on the London skyline, with the notable exception of The Shard at 310m. The four turbines combined are expected to generate over 10,000 MWh each year.

The race to build ever-higher wind turbines has been largely driven by efficiency gains. Greater altitudes generally translate into faster, more stable wind speeds that lead to more consistent electricity generation. Despite the efficiency improvements of wind turbines, including the modern oils and greases available from Mobil stockists, intermittency is still a challenge for wind power, but the Gaildorf turbines have a novel solution for this as well.

While other recent wind farms have focussed on giant batteries to store excess power, these new turbines have turned to a rather older technology. Each of the new turbines features a water tank in its base. In times of low demand, water is pumped from a nearby reservoir and stored in the tank. Later on, when wind speeds are insufficient to meet demand, or when demand is unusually high, the water can be released to gravity’s pull into another turbine to create hydroelectricity. The reservoir is estimated to store about 70MWh of electricity.

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