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Roman Szpur, High-Efficiency Wind Turbine Inventor
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Roman Szpur with drafting equipment in the background

Roman Szpur with drafting equipment in the background

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A bird’s primary feather
A bird’s primary feather

High-Efficiency Wind Turbine Inventor

Looking at birds’ feathers and thinking about airflow led engineer Roman Szpur to design a new turbine that cheaply and efficiently generates electricity from the wind.

Growing up on a farm in Poland, Szpur loved to watch how animals move and behave. His interest in learning from nature continued through his career as a weapons designer for the United States Air Force and then as an independent inventor.

Studying birds led Szpur to come up with one of his inventions: a new kind of turbine. A turbine is a series of curved blades attached to a central rod. Air moving over the blades makes the turbine spin, powering an electric generator.

Szpur realized that “all of a bird’s large feathers have a double curve--a leading edge that curves and the curve of the feathers themselves. And the feathers all overlap slightly.”

This helps the birds use air more efficiently by channeling the air through different feathers and giving them lift.

“I started playing around with [this phenomenon] and thinking about how I could use that idea to build a better turbine.”

Next: How Szpur Harnesses Power from the Wind ›

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