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Author: tonyh103 One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 18402  
Subject: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/16/2010 4:01 PM
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Not an expert by any means, although i've spent over 30 years in the utility industry (gas & electric), but something i've been thinking about.

I know turbines for individuals exist, but i know they are still large and expensive and not for small individual homes. For years, we've had tv antennas and now satellite dishes on homes. How about a small wind turbine about the size of antenna, unobtrusive. I'm not sure, something like this may be in the planning stages somewhere. Of course, it would have to be effecient enough to take what wind there is and turn into enough electricity to make a difference. Combined with solar panels and made affordable, it could make a lot of difference. Could even be adapted for automobiles.

I'm just thinking about the future. What if we had a world without wires or cables or pipelines? Am i a little too much Star Trek here, or could this be possible?

Letting my imagination run wild.


atony103
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Author: MichaelRead Big gold star, 5000 posts Feste Award Winner! Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17512 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/16/2010 4:38 PM
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Tony

Here’s one, not so conventional as a bladed turbine: http://www.ecogeek.org/wind-power/1112

Yet it still have the problems inherent with wind: location in a flowing pathway unobstructed by land masses, trees, etc., and, presently, by energy storage. Add to that the electrical system (an area you know well) needed to switch between wind and conventional power (and someway of returning power into the grid) and the cost gets higher.

My view is to have wind power generate heat and bung it deep into the ground so it can be recovered by a heat pump (with the heat pump also contributing to the heat mass in warmer weather.

Just a thought.

MichaelR

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Author: jck101 Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17513 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/16/2010 5:40 PM
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Do a google search for small wind there are plenty of companies that will sell you one of these. If it is practical is another issue.

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Author: haywool Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17514 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/16/2010 8:07 PM
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Hey tonyh103 !

You said something that got even me thinking (I try not to think too hard ... it hurts!).

Could even be adapted for automobiles. OK, how about something along these lines? Yes, I know perpetual motion is about as feasible as putting toothpaste back in the tube. But here goes.

Electric vehicle with storage batteries. Better, lighter ones coming in the future. A wind turbine on the vehicle.

Could it be possible to run the vehicle on battery power while gaining some of that electrical power back from the resultant wind?

In the distant, far distant future, could it be possible to "get the vehicle moving" on battery power and have an on-board wind turbine that is efficient enough to produce MORE power than is consumed to move the vehicle? That would fully recharge the batteries and the vehicle could "cruise" with no battery drain. I didn't mention CO$T.

There I go hurting (thinking) again. :-)

Rich (haywool)

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Author: elann Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17516 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/17/2010 2:47 AM
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Yes, I know perpetual motion is about as feasible as putting toothpaste back in the tube.

No. It's not as feasible as putting toothpaste back in the tube. It is totally non-feasible, completely, forever.

And since you seem to understand that what you're proposing is a perpetual motion machine, the only question is why are you wasting your time?

Elan

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Author: DDHv Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17517 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/17/2010 6:37 AM
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I know turbines for individuals exist, but i know they are still large and expensive and not for small individual homes.

Grid connected is still too expensive. Off-grid is practical, provided no heavy loads exist. The development of long life energy storage, such as PbC batteries or CAES storage will make off-grid better. Some people are using them now for off-grid: I know of one in the hills west of us. Cheaper than putting in a eighth of a mile of transmission line.

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Author: fredericch Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool CAPS All Star Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17518 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/17/2010 9:48 AM
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There is still the differential between the speed of the car and the wind. You would not be generating wind only by moving the car in still air. However, getting maximum wind speed would mean driving into the wind, which is not feasible.
Solar panels on the car roof and hood seem most practical for on the go energy production, as most roads are open to the sky.

Fredericch

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Author: MFOutlier Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17519 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/17/2010 10:07 AM
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elann: And since you seem to understand that what you're proposing is a perpetual motion machine, the only question is why are you wasting your time?

Did he propose a perpetual motion machine or inquire about the feasibility of extending vehicle range by attempting to recover and/or capture energy that would otherwise be wasted? Might it be feasible to mount wind turbine devices in/near wheel wells to harvest energy from airflows generated by wheel rotation?

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Author: elann Big gold star, 5000 posts Top Favorite Fools Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17520 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/17/2010 12:52 PM
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Did he propose a perpetual motion machine or inquire about the feasibility of extending vehicle range by attempting to recover and/or capture energy that would otherwise be wasted? Might it be feasible to mount wind turbine devices in/near wheel wells to harvest energy from airflows generated by wheel rotation?

You're trying to defend a stupid idea by redefining it as a somewhat more clever idea. What you're suggesting is entirely different from what the OP suggested.

could it be possible to "get the vehicle moving" on battery power and have an on-board wind turbine that is efficient enough to produce MORE power than is consumed to move the vehicle?

What is YOUR answer?

Elan

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Author: EngineerPaul Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17521 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/17/2010 12:54 PM
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"Could it be possible to run the vehicle on battery power while gaining some of that electrical power back from the resultant wind?"

I think that you would find that the amount of energy you gain would be more than offset by the amount of energy that you lose due to increased wind resistance. A clever engineer might figure out some way to use the generator to harvest the vortex created behind the car, which is usually a source of drag loses anyway, but it would probably be better just to apply one's cleverness to eliminating that vortex and come out even further ahead. If you live in a windy area, perhaps you could get some small benefit from a generator that can be extended when the car is parked and thus charge the battery a tiny bit when you aren't using it.

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Author: EngineerPaul Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17522 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/17/2010 12:58 PM
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"I'm just thinking about the future. What if we had a world without wires or cables or pipelines? Am i a little too much Star Trek here, or could this be possible?"

It isn't entirely impossible, but you will always have three challenges:

1. Economies of scale often favor large installations over smaller ones.
2. Many people don't have the time, the physical ability, or technical inclination to maintain their own generation system.
3. Many areas are not favorable to 24-hour/day generation, or even dependable 12-hour/day generation.

For all those reasons, having a cable attached to your house seems like a long-term reality, IMO, for the majority of people.

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Author: geho Two stars, 250 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17523 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/17/2010 2:34 PM
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For all those reasons, having a cable attached to your house seems like a long-term reality, IMO, for the majority of people.

While this is probably true, new concepts to generate electricity are constantly being refined. Not as radical as wind turbines or geothermic plants, but a step in the right direction?

"One day,every home in Germany could produce its own energy with the help of a small generator in the basement.Independent green electricity provider Lichtblick wants to join forces with carmaker Volkswagen to produce so-called mini power plants. Consumers will be able to use them to generate electricity and warmth while saving energy and helping protect the environment."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b09nMgzXQDM&feature=relat...

Gerd

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Author: mschmit Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17524 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/17/2010 2:59 PM
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If you do the math on solar panels on cars you realize how utterly silly the idea is from an economic point of view.

So here goes. With 100% efficient solar cells you get 1 kw per sq meter if you are aimed directly at the sun with all optimum conditions (clear sky, local noon, etc.) Now 1) Estimate how many sq meters you can arrange on a car that is street legal and safe to drive. Perhaps one. Maybe 1.5 for a bigger car; 2) how many hours per day will you get this? 3) what is the realistic efficiency of solar cells. Combine all these factors and you get how many kw-hrs you could get under all ideal conditions. I'll use 1 * 5 * .15 = .75 kw-hrs per day. I'll even stretch it to 1 kw-hr/day. In a year you'd be lucky to get 250 kw-hrs due to rainy/cloudy days. (And in most small and low drag cars you'd be lucky to get .5 sq meters so the realistic number is more like 100 kw-hrs per year)

Is this worth the cost and trouble? 250 kw-hrs is worth about $25 from the grid. If a car lasted 20 years this would be $500 of electricity.

Now how far could you go on this power? A car like the Volt or the Prius needs about 200-250 watt-hrs per mile. So you might go 1/2 mile to 1 mile extra per day, maximum on sunny days. Note that this is the best you are going to do unless you get better solar cells...so may the maximum it could ever be is twice that. In 10 years, 150K miles you might go 2000 miles from this. For these cars at 50 mpg, that is saving 40 gallons of gas...maybe it is even 50 or 100. At $3/gal that is somewhere around $120 - $300.

And we haven't even begun to subtract some things. For example the extra weight of the solar cells, can they be designed to have as low of a drag coefficient. How much energy does it take to make them? Some get totaled in car crashes, etc. Sometimes you park in the shade, etc etc.

Conclusion: It makes no economic sense. It makes no energy saving sense. If you want to buy solar cells, buy them and mount them in a permanent location so that there are always generating electricity for their entire useful life...don't drive them around in and out of the sun risking getting them smashed.

Mike

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Author: MFOutlier Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17525 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/17/2010 4:32 PM
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elann: You're trying to defend a stupid idea by redefining it as a somewhat more clever idea. What you're suggesting is entirely different from what the OP suggested.

:-) From the outset, OP acknowledged substantial lack of scientific/technical sophistication. I was merely recognizing that circumstance can encumber one's ability to communicate ideas and questions regarding physical science issues.

<
could it be possible to "get the vehicle moving" on battery power and have an on-board wind turbine that is efficient enough to produce MORE power than is consumed to move the vehicle?
<
What is YOUR answer?


The proposition stated would violate the second law of thermodynamics (assuming background wind speed of zero).

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Author: DDHv Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17526 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/18/2010 8:59 AM
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Consumers will be able to use them to generate electricity and warmth

Cogeneration is one of the good ideas that should be used more. Note that cogeneration with solar is also possible, with PVT (photovoltaic thermal) designs which use the heat also. These run around 70% collection of solar energy. However, whether PV or thermal, storage is needed! For the thermal aspect, search on "seasonal heat storage" which is being used a number of places. As usual, to be effective, we need to change our thinking from that of spending for to that of investing in.

Disclosure: in our spare time, the house is being modified to store attic heat into the soil underneath. Slow work, but do-it-ourself is affordable! An low cost variation is fans to blow summer air through the basement into the house. Don't forget the dehumidifier if you do this.

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Author: EngineerPaul Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17527 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/18/2010 10:13 AM
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"Disclosure: in our spare time, the house is being modified to store attic heat into the soil underneath. Slow work, but do-it-ourself is affordable! An low cost variation is fans to blow summer air through the basement into the house. Don't forget the dehumidifier if you do this."

My new furnace has an air circulation mode that I plan to try out during the summer to mix the basement air with the main floor air. Hopefully that takes the edge off things.

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Author: DDHv Two stars, 250 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17529 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/19/2010 9:23 AM
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My new furnace has an air circulation mode that I plan to try out during the summer to mix the basement air with the main floor air.

Many air furnaces have a button that turns on the fan without the heat. By opening the furnace base to basement air, it can be brought up into the house. We started thus. When it worked, we went to fans specific for circulation, using the hallways for ducting. For the attic, we are working on liquid circulation, with used baseboard heating tubes for the attic, and PEX underground.

Very spare time work, which keeps the cost down. On the other hand, opening a panel on the furnace, and pushing a button is about as cheap as you can get. It is a good idea to use a dehumidifier in the basement.

There are at least two heat pump DHwater heaters that take the humidity out of the basement air at the same time as heating the water. Up front cost is high, but running cost is low.

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Author: tonyh103 One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 17534 of 18402
Subject: Re: home-based wind turbines Date: 5/22/2010 8:25 AM
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Thanks, guys, for an interesting discussion. 100 years from now, who knows what discoveries will enlighten our views of the world.


Tonyh103

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