So while we've discussed some very good ways to gain energy from the world around us, We've yet todiscuss wind power. Mostly because while I've often used solar and hydro powers, I've only recently begun planning my wind turbine expansion to my own power producing systems.
As I've often said, the decision to go GREEN doesn't happen over night, it takes planning, and forethought, and you have to know what your eventual goals are. then you have to decide the best way, taking in all variables to achieve that goal. As of right now, I"m well on my way, however My next project undertaking is indeed a series of small scale wind turbines, that according to calculations will bring me within 90% of my final destination. In football they'd call this "1st and goal."
When it comes to wind Turbines, you generally have 3 types - Horizontal, Vertical, and Barrel. What I'd like to do today is discuss some of the differences without getting two technical and making your brain hurt. Unlike the other systems, wind has a lot of variables and as such, is highly capable of producing a headache if you don't do your research first.
Horizontal Turbines are generally the most common. These traditional styles have been used for centuries, providing power, just not electricity. The standard windmill design was used to grind wheat, turn grinding mills for wood, mill corn, crush nuts, basically the hardest tasks usually reserved for pack animals... only the wind doesn't need food or rest. These are pretty simple designs involving a propeller spun by the wind, and a tail fin to act as a rudder so it constantly faces the wind. the faster the wind blows, the faster it spins and the more power it produces. While this is the simplest design, it also is considered to produce a considerable amount of energy, but generally requires wind speeds to be around 15mph to begin a rotation.
Vertical Turbines generally require less wind to spin, and don't waste any energy with having to turn to face the wind. It utilizes vertical blades that catch the wind regardless of direction, and are known to produce a more constant stream of energy, as it requires as little as 3mph of wind speed to move. This is the type I've chose to attach to the roof of my home here in Detroit, as the wind directions change considerable from moment to moment, which puts these right in the ideal usage category.
Barrel style wind turbines are a relatively low cost option, that are primarily used on plains style dwellings where the wind generally comes from a single direction They do not rotate to meet oncoming wind and instead only spin when the wind is favorable. As such, they can be placed on roofs to catch a broader array of wind, allowing them to spin faster. these type usually require the same forces as a vertical turbine, but can be geared to produce much higher rotations at the generator then either of the other two. Think of a 10 speed bike... it doesn't take as many turns on that pedal to get that real weal spinning faster...
All three designs have their pro's and their cons, the trick is to do your research and decide which is right for your personal application. Take into consideration things like wind speed, direction, and regularity. Then consider if this will be a primary energy source, or a binary, or even supplementary. GREEN energy projects are each different depending on the desired outcome, which is generally why I personally put so much emphasis on the planning stage. In my next post, I'll show you how regardless of your choice, you can build your own turbine generator for less then $100.00, and have it producing power by the end of the month!