Drone measures effect of wind turbines on farmland

Embry-Riddle Aeronautics University used a small unmanned aircraft system (UAS) to study the effects of wind turbines on farmland beneath them and found that they can impact soil, crops and livestock.

Farmers can earn extra income by allowing wind turbines to be placed in their fields. Based on data collected from the UAS, researchers discovered that depending on weather conditions, the spinning blades can positively or negatively impact crop yields. For example, a wind turbine might inhibit crop disease during wet weather or it could speed moisture loss during a drought.

Kevin Adkins, an assistant professor of aeronautical science and director of Embry-Riddle’s Gaetz Aerospace Institute in St. Lucie County, Florida, flew a drone into wind turbine wakes to measure differences in relative humidity levels. He and his colleague Adrian Sescu of Mississippi State University published their research findings in the International Journal of Green Energy.

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