Energy & Sustainability
Third-world wind power

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Clever, here’s a video of non-turbine wind power generators from Shawn Frayne… Link & more.

24 thoughts on “Third-world wind power

  1. There are loads of problems with this.

    Power is a function of area and windspeed^3.

    The area in this case in tiny so the amount of power is in the milliwatts.

    A vibrating piece of plastic is going to destroy itself in no time.

    On the other hand, There is a type of kite that self launches and rotates. It forms a very high arch and i suppose could be used to make power.

    Solar power is a much better solution for these sort of micro power uses

  2. The article says that a prototype can generate up to 40mW. That means that you could generate more power in 60 seconds with a 50W hand-crank generator than the prototype would if it operated continuously for 24 hours (total power, just under 1 Watt-hour).

    Assuming that the prototype sweeps a total area of 0.015 square meters( 60cm long, 5cm p-p deflection at the center), operates at a wind speed of 3 meters per second with a mass density of air of 1.225 kg/m3, then at the theoretical maximum coefficient of efficiency of 0.33 (which is unrealistic at best), it can produce about 80 milliwatts.

    It’s a cool idea, but I just don’t see how micro power like this is useful in more than extremely limited circumstances.

  3. I would suggest placing multiple standoffs holding thin film solar cells as the vibrating membrane revolving around a central tube of curled flexible solar cells.

    The vibrating membrane could then act as a culminator/reflector towards the central tube.

    Furthermore, following this http://www.instructables.com/id/Solar-Thermal-Motor/ design, you could also create a kind of thermal revolving generator. Adding a slight curl to the membrane could also aid generation in higher wind speeds.

    Then tie it in with a circuit design similar to http://www.talkingelectronics.com/projects/LEDTorchCircuits/LEDTorchCircuits-P1.html
    to pulse and boost the resulting current for using, charging, and storage.

  4. One thing I’d like to see, is a small leaf spring with magnets attached passing through a coil mounted underneath a vehicle used to generate electricity from the vehicle’s vibration to power accessories. Why doesn’t someone try it and report back.

  5. So how big could one of these be? The Tacoma Narrows Bridge was cited as an example of this phenomenon… How much power would something that big produce?

    If this works when scaled-up by several orders of magnitude, maybe the venturi effect of wind passing between obstructions could be tapped? Put these between skyscrapers to reduce their grid power consumption, for example…

    Also, it seems like this might have potential for generating power from underwater currents or tides (and could also take advantage of the venturi effect as water flows through a constriction).

    This was fascinating, and left me with a lot of questions, like: What is the correlation between the dimensions of the membrane and power output at a given windspeed? Could a narrower membrane vibrating rapidly produce higher voltage/low amperage and a wider (and therefore slower) one produce higher amperage/lower voltage?

  6. I have been searching wind companies for small turbines. Europe is really very far ahead of us. There is a company in Finland that is building some very attractive ones. I hope the price will be under $2,000 to install it on your roof.

    Check it out at: http://www.windside.com/

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