At Caltech's Center for Bio-inspired Engineering, Professor of Aeronautics and Engineering John Dabiri draws inspiration from biological sources such as jelly fish, flocks of birds, and schools of fish. His work on projects ranging from energy-efficient underwater vehicles and wind power turbines to medical research on blood flow were recently recognized in his 2010 MacArthur Foundation "Genius" Award.
His innovative wind energy technology research shows that vertical wind turbines can be densely packed, based on theoretical, computational, and laboratory analyses of the flow fields. See a short video of the Caltech Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy (FLOWE) located in/near Antelope Valley, California, established with partial support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
You can hear more about his alternative approach to wind farming here, with its potential to concurrently reduce the cost, size, and environmental impacts of wind farms.