Scientists have gained insight on how to improve the efficiency of wind turbines from humpback whales. Unlike many other types of whales, the humpback feeds by making sharp turns to chase and catch fish. This ability is due, in part, to an interesting evolutionary feature called a "tubercle". These are bumps on the leading edge of their flippers that create scalloped edges, which decrease the drag forces and increase the lift forces generated by the flippers. Increased lift allows the humpback to generate greater force perpendicular to the flipper, which it can convert into powerful turns. The same science can be applied to wind turbine blades. On a wind turbine, greater lift allows the rotors to spin faster for a given wind velocity. A given design can then operate in lower velocity wind, increasing the geographical areas amenable to generate wind power.
Wind tunnel tests of humpback flipper models indicate as much as 32% reduction in drag, 8% improvement in lift, and a 40% increase in angle of attack over smooth flippers before stalling. See Mimicking humppack whale flippers
A company called WhalePower was created by the original researchers in the area to commercialize the technology. Visit their website at WhalePower Corporation