News this week from the Renewable Energy International Exhibition in Yokohama, Japan highlights some visually and technologically interesting new turbine designs for offshore wind power.

The hoop that surrounds the blade structure acts like a magnifying lens to increase the speed of the wind at the center of the circle. We can’t claim to understand the physics behind this effect, but the news reports cite verifications experiments that have been conducted and it appears that the project is getting support for construction in Japan.

The addition of more blades and a hoop around them makes the turbines look just a little bit more like the London Eye than your standard three blade HAWT. Will this aesthetic appeal to more people and lead to a greater acceptance of wind turbines that are located in view of highly populated areas? Perhaps if they can offer rides in gondolas that run around the hoops…

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