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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Let the wind blow...

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!

43 comments:

Mr. Ekonomi said...

Nice :)

Bunny said...

Very nice, I hope your wind mill works out for you

Annie Smith said...

I like this! :)

Will Henricson said...

Cool! :)

A musician and gamer said...

going green!!!

Eferhilda said...

Once again informative information. Keep up the good work.

Mutefox said...

I wonder why the vertical kind is the most common, when its less efficient...

Sparrow said...

@Mutefox, the horizontal is more common and less efficient then the vertical because its a more stable platform. The vertical turbine pivots around a single connection point, that generally is constantly turning due to its low speeds needed. The horizontal one has a more solid base, using the base pivot simply for direction, not for both direction and propeller wear.

sildude said...

Very informative, as always.

GKBLOG said...

This uninterests a "make money quick" person. Although in theory, great idea.

Tornado Jackson said...

I'm lovin' your blog, as usual.

http://tornadojackson.blogspot.com/

Jackson said...

You should do an article on Geothermal Energy =]

Sweeeeeetas said...

Im for green!!

shirou said...

lifehackguy loves your blog..

Sparrow said...

@GKBLOG - Well you'd be amazed how much money you could make and save in a short amount of time by going green.

@Jackson - It's coming! please stay tuned!

_lycosa said...

Absolutely amazing savings, I never knew this.

ChaosReaper said...

I remember seeing a very interesting infopic a long time ago, regarding solar power. Can't remember the specifics, but it said something along the lines of saving trillions of dollars.. Ungh.

xypex said...

What would you say is the cheapest form to get enough green power to power a hot tub? I want to run mine all day.

Sparrow said...

@Xypex - this is an easy one. They make a kit specifically designed for hot tubs thats super easy to remake at a fraction of the cost. essentially its a 2 part answer, solar hot water heaters allow you to heat the water throughly up to 165 degrees with a panel no bigger then 4'x4'. a small array of solar, generally 1'x4' atop the solar hot water heater will allow you to run the pump. this puts a panel thats only 5x4 somewhere nearby, or even on the roof above the hot tub, and does will eliminate the need to power your hot tub with your current electric supply.
That being said, you could get by completely without the solar panel, using just the solar hot water heater, you simply wouldn't have all the churning and bubbling. I'll be doing a post on this very soon so stay tuned!

David Paul said...

a good topic... the modern energy is changing.. =P

Michael Casspir said...

Wow, what an interesting perspective on life!

David Davidson said...

If I decide to do this I'll use the vertical one simply because you're using it and you seem to know what you're doing. :P

richie said...

I didn't know there were so many different turbines!

gamefreak3335 said...

very interesting post man :)

jj_srk said...

thanks for the tips, i'm gonna fwd this to my pops so we can get a solar setup at my rents house

BLUERAD said...

wow very good ideas here, thanks for sharing man

Sir Temperance said...

Good information, man. Keep up putting it all out there! Let the truth be known!

momo said...

keep em coming ;)

Aspect said...

I've heard though that you need specific equipment to sell the energy back to the companies. Or is it as simple as converting the current and plugging it back into the wall?

dotVillain said...

Nice post. Keep them coming :D

Sparrow said...

@Aspect - In general you need a specific meter, which the power company has to provide, free of charge, once you enroll in their green energy program. essentially its a digital readout, as opposed to the series of analog dials most people are familiar with. It allows the meter to go forward and backward without posing a risk to the working of the meter by applying stresses to codder pins and cog wheels.

~Andrew Wilson said...

Showin support for an awesome post :D

SilverWind said...

We have lots of windmills in Iowa!

Carl said...

Wow I really like your layout and the content is so well thought out! Definitely following you man, keep up the good work.

Swarmster said...

Great post, showing some love, keep it up =)

Come At Me Bro said...

I need free energy!

Alex said...

Eh. The problem isn't saving money. The problem is the amount of time you have to wait for these things to repay themselves. Good post regardless.

Crunky said...

wow great idea...

Michael Casspir said...

Do you think you could do a writeup on compact fluorescents?

Mike Aguila said...

I recently went on a honeymoon to Europe and saw those huge turbines everywhere... I can't imagine why we don't have the countryside blanketed with them here. Europe is a little more forward-thinking than us, I guess?

Sparrow said...

@alex - If you've read my blog, you'd see that many of them will pay for themselves in just a few months.

@michael Casspir - My very first post was on compact fluorescents.

@Mike Aguila - Sadly that is the case. and it snot just Europe, but even Canada and Mexico use wind and solar farms to provide energy.

Ishu said...

Cool! great tips, I f we all did it, imagine the impact worldwibe! I'm with you!

Intellectual Relapse said...

This'll be useful to me, although I'm not really sure what the winds like where I live, never paid enough attention