Wind turbines may favour growing condition of crops, says study

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New York: Corn and soyabeans that are close to wind turbines grow in more favourable conditions as turbulence created by wind influences temperature and carbon dioxide concentration, a new research has revealed.

The researchers from the Iowa State University (ISU) installed research towers on a 200-turbine wind farm in Iowa and collected data from 2010 to 2013 on wind speeds and directions, temperature, humidity, turbulence, gas content and precipitation.

“Tall wind turbines disbursed throughout a field create air turbulence that may help plants by affecting variables such as temperature and carbon dioxide concentrations,” said Gene Takle, professor at the Iowa State University, US.

The research revealed that turbines can lower the temperature about a half degree during the day and make it half to full degree warmer at night.

“That is because the turbulence mixes air at different elevations. That mixing cools the ground level during the daylight hours, like a fan blowing on a wet surface. But at night, as the ground loses heat, the mixing brings warmer air aloft down to ground level, resulting in a net warming effect,” Takle said in a university statement.

The turbulence also suppresses the formation of dew and dries the crops, Takle said, which could combat harmful molds and fungi, the research found.

Researchers noted that the turbulence, enrich the carbon dioxide content in the air surrounding crops that can favour the growing condition of the plants.

However, it remains a challenge for the researchers to figure out if the changes actually improve plant performance.

“The next step would be to answer if this turbulence changes biomass uptake of plants, or if it affects plant size or functions or yield,” Takle added.

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