MR. We've all seen those creaky old windmills on farms, and although they may seem about as lowtech as you can get, those old windmills are the predecessors for new modern wind turbines that generate electricity. The same wind that used to pump water for cattle is now turning giant wind turbines to power cities and homes. OK, have a look at this wind farm in the California desert, a hot desert next to tall mountains an ideal place for a lot of wind. Here's another one on the windy prairies of Wyoming.
Now, today's wind turbines are much more complicated machines than the old prairie windmills, but the principle is the same. Both capture the wind's energy. OK, here's how it works. First, a wind turbine blade works sort of like an airplane wing. Blowing air passes around both sides of the blade. The shape of the blade causes the air pressure to be uneven higher on one side of the blade and lower on the other and that's what makes it spin. The uneven pressure causes the blades to spin around the center.
Of the turbine. On the top, there's a weather vane that's connected to a computer to keep the turbine turned into the wind so it captures the most energy. Now, the blades are attached to a shaft which only turns about 18 revolutions a minute, and that's not nearly fast enough to generate electricity by itself. So the rotor shaft spins a series of gears that increase the rotation up to about 1,800 revolutions per minute. And at that speed, a generator can produce a lot of electricity. So why are wind turbines so tall Well, the higher up you go, the windier it is more.
Our lab in Darwin
Music playing Anna Richards Hi, my name's Anna Richards. I'm a soil and carbon ecologist with CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences in Darwin. Our lab is the only CSIRO lab in northwestern Australia. For more than 40 years we've been carrying out environmental and agricultural research in the Top End. This beautiful site is home to Ecosystem Sciences and the Darwin Science Education Centre. About 30 staff, students and industrial trainees are currently based in Darwin. We also share our site with the N.T Government's Flora and Fauna Division, the Parks and Wildlife Commission's Wildlife Management Group,.
And the Tiwi Land Council. So what do we do up here Well, our mission is to conduct integrated ecological and socioeconomic research to underpin sustainable land management and regional development in the north. Our research focuses on four major areas Firstly, Savanna burning. This work looks at the full range of biophysical and socioeconomic issues relating to savanna fire management for biodiversity conservation and Greenhouse gas abatement, especially on Aboriginal lands. Our fire research underpinned one of the first methodologies approved under the Carbon Farming Initiative to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in northern Australia.
Secondly, Indigenous natural resource management. CSIRO staff member talking with an Aboriginal woman CSIRO has strong and productive partnerships with Aboriginal communities right across the Top End. This work includes fire management, invasive species management, aquatic resource conservation, biodiversity monitoring, and marine planning. The development of a suite of calendars of Indigenous seasonal knowledge with six language groups across the north has been a recent highlight. Thirdly, Invertebrate biodiversity. The Darwin lab has internationally leading expertise in ants, the world's dominant faunal group in terms of biomass and energy flow. We hold the world's most extensive collection of Australian ants,.
With nearly 6,000 species! This collection supports most of the ecological work done on ants in Australia. We've has also been working on the ecology and management of pest ants, such as the Yellow Crazy ant in Arnhem Land, for more than ten years. Our ant biodiversity lab is also home to many of our students. About 20 international students, mostly from France, spend three to six months staying with us onsite and working on a range of projects. They make a vital contribution to our research capability. Finally, Rangeland ecology.
Rangelands cover about 85 of the continent. Pastoralism is the main land use but there's increasing interest in new economic opportunities, such as carbon sequestration. We're also exploring opportunities for the development of the northern beef industry to improve productivity and profitability. We're lucky to have one of the largest and best preserved areas of remnant tropical savanna woodland in the Darwin suburbs. Our ten hectare patch of bush has been the focus of more than 40 collaborative research projects in the last 16 years. So that's it from me.
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