Wind Energy For Kids

Mandy asks…

energy question …?

for school, im doing a project with my friend. basically it is a board game about solar and wind energy.

we sorta need facts about it. if you can think of any questions and answers that sorta relate to that topic. It doesnt matter if they are so simple because we are doing it for 5th graders through 7th graders, so whatever works works!!

also, if you can find any websites that has any info about wind energy and solar energy!!

thanks a ton!

[and dont say that you are doing my hw when i should be, because i cant find any links, and me and my friend has been looking for a little bit!]
woops!! sorry!

Windmill Farms answers:

Wind energy: http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/renewable/wind.html

solar energy:
http://www.envocare.co.uk/solar_energy.htm

Susan asks…

what are good Wind energy sites?

good goverment and educational sites on wind energy
Please non bias sites
im looking for websites*

Windmill Farms answers:

The British Wind Energy Association:

http://www.bwea.com/

Energy Saving Trust:

http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Generate-your-own-energy/Types-of-renewables/Microwind

Urban Wind Energy:

http://www.urbanwindenergy.org.uk/

Offshore Wind Energy Network:

http://www.owen.eru.rl.ac.uk/

Carbon Trust:

http://www.carbontrust.co.uk/technology/technologyaccelerator/small-wind.htm

British Eco educational wind turbine kits:

http://www.britisheco.com/product.aspx?productid=1382

An educational site pertaining to wind energy for kids:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/renewable/wind.html

some articles:

http://www.iop.org/EJ/abstract/1748-9326/3/1/015001

Hope some of these help.
Best wishes.

Mary asks…

what are the uses of wind energy?

uses of wind energy and hydel energy?

Windmill Farms answers:

Grinding wheat etc.
Pumping water
Sale boats
electrical generation.
Wind chimes
cloths lines.
Anemometer movement.
Weather vane positioner
wave making for electical generation from waves.
Hot air balloon movement.
Annoying seagulls
cooling humans.
Ice sailing
sail planes (glider)
annoying Bush.
Annoying Middle easterners with sandstorms.
Spreading nuclear fallout.
Spreading seeds and pollen.
Teaching kids a lesson about windchill when I had to walk to school
spreading fires.
Flying kites/parasails
Creating firewood from trees.
Keeping the construction industry booming.
Keeping insurance premiums high.
Making little kids laugh and wives cringe.

William asks…

Will someone help me save wind energy?

Congress is creating a bill called HR 2337 that is attempting to ban wind energy. Anyone who wants to petition against it go to http://www.petitiononline.com/rme4319/
Don’t beleive me? Check out http://www.awea.org/newsroom/releases/Anti_Wind_Provision_in_Rahall_Bill_052307.html
I dont know any celebraties in person, but ill try seeing if they have any myspaces.

Windmill Farms answers:

Sure! Go stick your head under a tub full of water until you stop sucking wind!!! Ha! Just kidding. You left yourself wide open and I saw no way around it!
Best thing to do would be to find some influential people to get some momentum for this thing. A well known celebrity would probably cover the costs associated with advertising and setting up benefits, get the petition into many more hands than common folks like us, and give name recognition to the cause. If you got, for example, Jessica Simpson to put her name on it and take up the cause, you would probably have a truckload of petitions to deliver.

Carol asks…

How do the consumers use the wind energy source?

Windmill Farms answers:

Http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/renewable/wind.html

I googled wind source energy and found this link. There are over 2,000,000 entries that address you question. Try googling. Just the first page of answers alone should answer your question. Good luck

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Wind Power Jobs

Charles asks…

Why did Obama say the Stimulus would create Green Jobs when 80% of the money when to overseas manufacturers?

It’s creating jobs alright – for overseas manufacturers that is – Obama conveniently left that part out.

http://abcnews.go.com/WN/wind-power-equal-job-power/story?id=9759949

Wolfe@ are you calling ABC a liar?
Yes – 80% of “Green Energy” money went overseas – I know it’s not clean in my question.

Windmill Farms answers:

Because he

LIES

like a

RUG

period.

Sharon asks…

Since electric engines take electricity to spin them, can you spin them, to creat energy?

I want to do a small science experiment and experiment with wind power, but I can’t find an alternator small enough to do the job I need for creating a miniature windmill. I was wondering if you could use an electric motor as an alternator? I was wondering this because since it takes electricity to spin the motor; that if you spin the motor, if it will create electricity? I’m not really worried about efficiency or anything, I just though it’d be a fun project, and I can’t find alternators that are really small. Thanks!

Windmill Farms answers:

It is very true that most any motor will work in reverse as a generator but most motors are circuited specifically to work as a motor and require modification to turn them into a generator. The best type of motor to use for this purpose is a small d.c. Motor that has permanent magnets. These motors can be found at hobby shops and fortunately are usually the least expensive. If you connect proper battery voltage, the d.c. Power reacts with the magnets and the motor spins. If you spin the motor shaft, you should measure a d.c. Voltage on the input leads of the motor.

Another device that may be convenient to use is a small bicycle lighting magneto. These are the generators that clamp to the bike frame with a small friction wheel that contacts the rim of wheel to generate power for lights as you pedal. If you look through the average garage, you are likely to run across one of these.

Lizzie asks…

How does wind power work?

I need to know how wind power works for s job geezzzzzz

Windmill Farms answers:

If you mean wind power to generate electricity ….. Basically a large airplane propeller is coupled to a large electric dynamo . The wind moving the propeller around spins the dynamo and electricity is generated .

Susan asks…

Where will the jobs be in 2 years in America?

I’m just curious what everybody will recommend in terms of
where the jobs will be in America 2 years from now. My first
guess is solar and wind power and batteries but what else?

Windmill Farms answers:

Medical field. Most jobs are on shaky ground. In two years we are going to have millions of new homeless people. America is going down, down……..Our government doesn’t care about the unemployed and the problem is getting worse. We are going to lose whole generations of people.

Donna asks…

Why does so many people have nuclear fobia?

I think the fear is irrattional. Maybe 50 people have died in chernobyl but that is all from hundreds of reactors over 40 some years. We dont stop driving cars even though thousands of people have died. Wind power is annoying feature in the landscape. Solar is better but they both dont provide enough energy and are relatively expensive. I think its a catastrophy that germany has forbidden nuclear reactors. They have windpower plants everywhere(almost), and it looks pretty disturbing to me. I think the greenies are influenced by satan or something.

Windmill Farms answers:

Uh, Chernobyl has killed far more than 50 people.

Thousands were killed directly by the blast, but millions more throughout the region have been exposed to radiation levels high enough to cause cancer. Worse still, even if someone doesn’t develop cancer, their unborn children and even grandchildren, will be at a higher risk for developing certain cancers.

To your main question, however, it is mostly an issue of education. The media has long made nuclear radiation into a sort of all-powerful monster. And why not? The reports from survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki are horrific. Nuclear bomb tests during the 50s and 60s showed entire towns being instantly incinerated in the blink of an eye. Worst still, nuclear radiation is invisible, odorless, and tasteless. You won’t know you’ve been exposed until, well, you die a horrible painful death from radiation sickness, or years later, die a horrible painful death from cancer.

The media has also done a horrible job about educating the public about how nuclear power works. The biggest misconceptions about nuclear power all come from the media and specifically, an American movie called “The China Syndrome”. This movie came out in 1979 and was about how a nuclear power plant was covering up safety violations. The movie was a bit prophetic for right around the same time, the nuclear power plant located on Three Mile Island near New York had a leak that allowed some radiation to escape. The news media freely mixed footage from the movie in with their footage of the real life reactor. Words like “Meltdown” entered the American vocabulary even though the media wrongfully explained that a meltdown meant the reactor would explode – and then would show nuclear bomb footage to make the point.

Three Mile Island was the end of the US nuclear power program. No new nuclear power plants have been built in over 30 years. The first Obama administration was actually planning on building the first new nuclear power plant since The Three Mile Island incident but when Fukushima happened, all the old fears born of misinformation resurfaced.

Unfortunately, until this misinformation is dealt with, it’s going to be very hard for the governments of the world to continue supporting nuclear power.

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Uses Of Wind Energy In Daily Life

Lisa asks…

how different energies are useful in our daily life?

how energy is wasted in our daily life?

Windmill Farms answers:

There are many energies in life such as kinetic energy, light energy, wind energy, mechanical energy, chemical energy, electric energy and many more.

Kinetic energy is used to produce electricity by hydroelectric. That is by using the energy of the running water in rivers to produce electricity. Light energy or solar energy is used to power things like calculators. Chemical energy are used to produce electricity too like in batteries.

Energy is wasted in our daily lifes in things like leaving the electrical appliances on when we are using them. If you are thinking that energy is wasted because heat is produced during the process of converting the energy, you are both right and wrong. For example, our car uses fuel to be converted to kinetic energy so that our car can move. However, heat is produce too. You may consider this a kind of wastage because the amount of fuel used is not equivalent to the amount of kinetic energy produce. But, it should not be considered as wasting as it is merely a kind of conversion. Keep in mind, energy cannot be created or destroyed but they can be changed in to many forms.

I hope this helps. :)

Robert asks…

why we do not use the natural sources of energy in our daily life?

natural sources of energy like the solar energy, the wind energy, bio gas energy. the question actually means that why we use gas, petrol, coal or electric powers supllied by CESC. why do not we use the natural sources.

Windmill Farms answers:

Solar and wind is not consistent enough to supply a steady amount of power 24/7. It is also more expensive than natural gas, petrol, or coal which by the way is natural bio gas energy. It is from the remains of plants and animals (biomass) which just happened to die millions of years ago. The “natural bio gas” energy you site, from corn, soy, wood waste, etc., needs human unnatural processing to take out their energy.

Laura asks…

why do you think heat energy is important in our daily life ?

(Terms you may use: food energy – joule – calorie convection – solar energy – nuclear power plants – geothermal energy)

Windmill Farms answers:

Western nations utilise energy. Energy helps provide a more comfortable environment. They help us power our refrigerators and help us heat our houses. Energy is something positive in the western world. It provides us with consistent living standards that make survival of the fittest obsolete. We have grown dependent on these luxuries. But more over, we have grown dependent on the use of fossil fuels, harmful to our environment.
But with the rise of the Green Movement, this dependency with lesson. We will move away from Coal, Natural Gas and Petroleum and toward Geothermal, Wind and Hydro-electic. It is important to understand that nonrenewable resources like Coal, Natural Gas and Petroleum will not sustain us for much longer. THEY WILL RUN OUT (some scientist say within the next 5 years).
This is why it is important to push government and industry to produce “Green” products. A company i personally look up to is one called IAmTheEarth.

Energy is important in the western lifestyle because we are creatures of habit, and of emotion. We do not want to suddenly live through a winter without central heating and we do not want our grandma to endure a summer without air-conditioning. Without energy, the term survival of the fittest would still be relevant.

John asks…

Global warming/ renewable energy question?

when do we use renewable energy in our daily lives and what can we do to involve the use if it as much as possible? so pretty much, easy and affordable ways to “go green” using renewable energy… thanks!!

Windmill Farms answers:

Wind and solar are two easy and free ways to take advantage of renewable energy. Be sure to use your clothesline for one, as much as possible instead of a dryer to dry your laundry.

Open your curtains; use natural sunshine to heat and light up a room instead of turning on furnaces and lights.

Sharon asks…

How much energy goes into making af wind turbine?

Does anyone have a calculation on how much energy goes into producing a wind turbine (offshore or onshore). Including things such as: steel production, unit production, assembly, transportation, erection, maintenance, etc? Compared to the amount of energy the wind turbine can produce in its lifespan?

Thank you

//Peter

Windmill Farms answers:

Hi Peter. There is no short answer to this question, but I’ll leave you with two items to think about. First, this question first surfaced about 11 years ago when some groups opposed to funding for solar power research had made an argument that a solar panel takes 60+ years to produce as much power as was used to manufacture it. It was a compelling argument at first, until you looked further into it. A non profit group called Solar Energy International, and then several universities did some studies. It turns out that it is almost impossible to quantify this. The phrase that has been coined to describe it is, “Embodied Energy.” This was an engineering term used in the 60′s and 70′s when they were looking at heavy machinery. The problem was that it was almost impossible to determine how far raw materials are shipped, and then the final product shipped again, plus people and equipment moving around to install them and so on. What they did do was assign a range to each of these variables, and in the end they could definitely come up with a range of years a solar panel has to operate to pay back its embodied energy. In the United States, for domestically produced units, solar panels earn back their embodied energy between 1.5 and 6.25 years. After that, they are ahead environmentally. For wind turbines, the numbers are similar, but ending with a wider range which is owed to the fact that wind tends to be more variable and less predictable over the long range than sun.

Things became more clear when the funding for this original argument against further funding of solar power actually came from several coal producing consortiums. You can draw whatever conclusion you like from that.

The second thing to remember here, and probably more important that the first, is to examine the question from a more practical standpoint. Electricity has been around for over a century, and its use expands daily on our globe, so it isn’t going away any time soon. The better question is, “What is the best way to produce it?” Take the embodied energy of a coal plant, huge structures taking years to build and literally tons of raw materials, yet the facility pumps out tons of electrons once it is running, is it possible that a coal plant earns back its embodied energy faster? The answer is no, it never does. We forget that once you build a conventional plant, and it doesn’t matter if it’s coal, oil, natural gas or even methane, you then have to feed it fuel for the rest of its life, which it converts to electricity at a conversion rate somewhere less than 100%. So it actually digs itself a deeper and deeper embodied energy hole that it can never crawl out of. At least a solar panel, wind turbine or water wheel can one day get even. This is why all the utility companies are busy putting up turbines as fast as they can, once it is running, it looks really great on the balance sheet because nobody ever has to feed it again. They require maintenance, but last time I checked, so did the coal plant. You have to remember this if you find yourself in a discussion about it one day in the future, facts can be turned around pretty easily.

I’ve clipped a couple sources below, and I apologize that they do not get to the core of what you are asking, but they might help. Try doing some research of your own, looking for, “Embodied energy of a wind turbine,” for example. Good luck Peter, and take care, Rudydoo

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Renewable Energy Companies

Steven asks…

Should we have a law in place where the oil companies have to reinvest in renewable energy&not buy back stocks?

The oil companies take the money they make and buy back there own stocks so the value of the stocks go higher.. Shouldn’t they reinvest the money in renewable energy

Windmill Farms answers:

Oil companies would not willingly work toward research renewable energy, because once a low cost solutions are made available they would be out of work, even we enact a law require them do it, they would find ways to work around it, remember the low efficiency wind power turbines? That was a total waste of money.

It’ll be more efficient to tax oil companies heavily, drive the price of oil up. Once oil is very expansive (like now), investors will begin looking into developing renewable energy. Because the investors are putting their OWN money in, the projects will be better monitored, more efficient. Also, when oil price is high, consumers are more willing to switch, demand for renewable energy will be up, driving price up, supply will naturally move up.

Alas the world will be saved by capitalism

Michael asks…

Confused about renewable energy?

So I’m tryng to understand how these companies actually transfer or harvest renewable energy. How does it work for solar and hydro energy? How does it transfer to energy we can use?

My big question is how can we harvest kinetic energy? I know we’ve been able to do it through footsteps….but how? And can we use this revelation to harvest the kinetic energy of falling rain for example?

Windmill Farms answers:

Harvesting the kinetic energy from anything faling, rain in your example, could easily be converted. For rain just build a large paddle wheel type structure with half of it underneath a structure so the the rain would not hit it. The rain falling on the exposed surfaces of the paddle wheel would cause it to turn and then the shaft could be attached to a generator to produce electricity. If you do not cover half of the paddle wheel then the rain would fall equally on both sides and cancel out any movement. This would not be very efficient unless the rain is falling at a very high rate for a long time but it would work. Grist mills use a stream of water to do the same thing only they turn grinding wheels instead of generators.

Straight from wikipedia=======

Kinetic energy may be best understood by examples that demonstrate how it is transformed to and from other forms of energy. For example, a cyclist uses chemical energy provided by food to accelerate a bicycle to a chosen speed. On a level surface, this speed can be maintained without further work, except to overcome air resistance and friction. The chemical energy has been converted into kinetic energy, the energy of motion, but the process is not completely efficient and produces heat within the cyclist.

The kinetic energy in the moving cyclist and the bicycle can be converted to other forms. For example, the cyclist could encounter a hill just high enough to coast up, so that the bicycle comes to a complete halt at the top. The kinetic energy has now largely been converted to gravitational potential energy that can be released by freewheeling down the other side of the hill. Since the bicycle lost some of its energy to friction, it never regains all of its speed without additional pedaling. The energy is not destroyed; it has only been converted to another form by friction. Alternatively the cyclist could connect a dynamo to one of the wheels and generate some electrical energy on the descent. The bicycle would be traveling slower at the bottom of the hill than without the generator because some of the energy has been diverted into electrical energy. Another possibility would be for the cyclist to apply the brakes, in which case the kinetic energy would be dissipated through friction as heat

Richard asks…

Which are the best renewable energy companies in the US?

Windmill Farms answers:

Coop American lists many renewable energy companies in their “Green Pages” (Ref 1).

One that develops wind energy is “Native Energy”:

http://www.nativeenergy.com/Splash/Coop.html?Coop

Another that sells home energy and solar systems is Sierra Solar Systems:

http://www.sierrasolar.com/

You might want to check the Green Pages listings for something that is local to you or matches the particular kind of renewable energy that you are interested in.

David asks…

Renewable energy policy?

Another answer got my attention;given the amount of land,water,(and labor) required for agri-based renewable energy,is it really a viable option?
Asked this in the Politics section because the countrys energy policy will play heavily in the upcoming election cycle.
To all,
Ethanol production uses the fermentation process to break down plants sugars using yeast.By-product is CO2 and alcohol.(brewing 101) Call me silly,but we are fermentating plant sugars to make alcohol (and releasing CO2 as a byproduct) to mix with carbon based fuels to decrease CO2 emissions,Am I missing something here?

Windmill Farms answers:

Yes.
Renewable esther’s are a viable option. Those that don’t think so are stuck on thinking only about ethanol.
Ethanol is now just past a negative yield at 1.3% of fossil.
Brazil does better because they use sugar. Sugar demands less processing so they are at a significant positive yield.
We could do the same with cane in the south and beets a little father north.

The better option is BioDiesel. While corn grain is needed for ethanol, BioD can be made from the rest of the plant that is strewn about and left lying on the field now. It can be made from used frying oil, vegetable oil, human waste, animal waste, garbage, used lubricating oil, food waste, food processing by products, animal fat, burned coal emissions and any number of agri and industrial wastes already being produced. No new acerage is needed.
There are many acres of land where the only profit comes from drive-by insurance claims subsidized by the government. Ask any farmer over a few beers in a back room and you will hear about it. All that land is really not being used. It’s a back door government agricultural subsidy. The insurance company makes it’s money on administration charges. That land could be covered with switch grass that only needs one watering and no fert. It’s a weed. (prarie grass). You can get two or more harvests from it and not have to replant. It just keeps growing. You could do even better with Hemp.

The EPA made its emmissions restrictions on the auto industry based on sales of their entire fleets. In other words, to be compliant, for every Lincoln Town Car that was produced, Ford had to sell a number of escorts to compensate before they could sell another Town car. The MPG is measured in the aggregate. They could take the same approach with Diesel cars and trucks insisting that a minimum number be sold along with flex fuel before a number of gasoline vehicles could be sold. The oil industry would follow along by dedicating some of their infrastructure to delivery.

Please enjoy the sources: The second one is 26 minutes long. Some of the others are just for fun.

Yes Amos:

You are missing something.
Everything you just said is true. However, the CO2 that is released is in direct proportion to the CO2 that was absorbed by the plants during their life time. There is no addition to the tonnage of CO2 in the atmosphere. Well not really. There is a little added when the fuel is burned but no where near as much as with fossil fuels.
Getting back to bioDiesel:
It can be used in any diesel engine right away. No alterations are needed. The imediate problem is that filters will need to be changed at shorter intervals at first but, the problem goes away. BioD gels in extreme cold conditions but that can be solved with a fossil blend or computer controlled heaters.
The emmissions are drastically reduced. In an engine that is made for bioD, the emmissions only exist in theory and can not be measured with conventional equipment in the field.
The strategy solves a lot of issues. Don’t get me started on the national defense implications. We could close up shop in the middle east and send the Saudis back to herding goats at the oasis.
Oh, one other problem with BioD vehicles. If you let them stand and idle, bees are attacted to the tail pipe and your neighbors get hungry.

Robert asks…

Renewable energy?

Why isnt there a massive program to include the ocean waves as a source of renewable energy? there are trillions of gallons pushed upon american shores everyday. There is no way to deplete this because the waves are cause by the pull of the moon. If there was a way to turn those waves into energy, then why hasnt man, with all the technology done it? And P.S. i know they have done it in a small way but in talking a massive!
P.S. not all of american shores have a beach.

Windmill Farms answers:

There’s a company from New Jersey that just put in for permitting to build a 50 MW tidal flow plant off the Oregon coast. Several more are proposed from Maine to Massachusetts and and Washington and California.

Tidal flow generation is similar to wind power in terms of mechanics, just translate the birds getting thumped into fish getting thumped.

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Micro Wind Power Generation

Steven asks…

What things are currently technologically possible but for whatever reason aren’t yet in place?

Windmill Farms answers:

Full scale Micro power generation
(small home and office multiple power generating units which will be connected together to implement the grid and reduce demand of traditional energy sources)

Thus creating autonomous towns and cities which produce their own energy.

It’s now only a question of investment!

NewScientist 21 Jan 2006
EVERY HOME SHOULD HAVE ONE
A revolution in small-scale roof-top generators could turn the electricity industry on its head and soon even outstrip that of the world’s nuclear power industry. The attraction of these personal microgenerators is that they are very suited to renewable sources – in the form of wind turbines, photovoltaic panels or water wheels – helping to slash carbon emissions while taking the strain off overloaded distribution grids. FEATURE Pages 36-39

http://www.micropower.co.uk/

Mark asks…

How to wire an alternator to hook up to a inverter?

The alternator i believe has a built in regulator has 3 prongs coming out of it. I am hooking this up to a micro hydro power to create some power from a creek on my property.

Windmill Farms answers:

Have the alternator charge “a battery”. Then the the inverter draws current from the battery’s capacity.

An average lead acid car battery has hundreds of “cold cranking amps” to supply to a load. (A Load is a starter motor, OR an inverter.)

The average alternator can supply maybe as much as 20 amps (briefly).

Without a battery the inverter will probably just keep tripping out every time you try to start it.

A single lead acid battery has much more capacity than the output of “an alternator”.

For micro hydro, wind , or solar voltaic power generation you’d do best to have a “bank of batteries” so as not to have so much demand on one single battery all of the time.

Chris asks…

Up to 70% of electricity is lost in transmission through the power grid…?

… so why don’t we create more incentives for locally based micro-renewable generation projects?

Some plus points:
– If we’re responsible for generating our own power, it would probably make us far more responsible in our consumption.
- Communities are often atomised, people isolated from their neighbours; creating an important common purpose would foster co-operation and help rebuild communities – that’s how they got formed in the first place.
- If neighbourhoods were organising and taking on such responsibilities, then they might gain the confidence to take on other roles – e.g. custodianship of their green spaces and other heritage.
- Such initiatives could go a long way to reversing the trend for bigger, more centralised government, and help counter the power of multi-national energy brokers.

Ay, there’s the rub: Power‘s crucial to their power.

Will they let us?

Do we need their permission?

Whaddya think?
The idea would be for a mixture of renewables within one neighbourhood – solar, wind and biomass, plus better insulated houses and more efficient applicances.

And to the respondent who questioned the loss of electricity through the grid, it’s well established – the power companies were forced to admit it can be “up to 60% in some instances” before a parliamentary inquiry.
I agree the wind generators on retail sale are Mickey Mouse – I’m suggesting communities purchase several Proven, state-of-the-art mini-turbines and have them strategically placed through the neighbourhood, with solar panels on every roof, and ground heater and/or biomass in every backyard. That would help with some economies of scale, especially if an enlightened and truly green government incentivised the process with progressive grants.

Windmill Farms answers:

Hi,
Goodly question.
Some losses do occur in power transmission, due to resistance of conductors, thus giving off thermal energy. Your local sub-station transformers will be oil cooled, as they too prodice a fair bit of heat in the process.
It is estimated that for every 1kW produced at the power stations hooked up to the National Grid, about 10-15% is lost in transmission, depending on where you live, so about 850 – 900 W actually arrives. Which is not bad.
Unless we spend billions on super cooled conductors, such be the unavoidable physics.
I assume therefore that you refer to losses occuring after delivery to a property.
As you say, there’s the rub.
Par Ex. This little office upstairs at home has it’s radiator turned off, as the heat generated from this computer, monitor, printer, scanner, router, along with the TV, lighting, sound system, and especially the set-top digibox, which is almost too hot to keep your hand on produces such an ambiant temperature that I often have a window slightly open
I am wasting electrical energy, but what to do ?
To mellow my guilt, I am installing a micro-hydro power system at our local water mill, and feed back a bit of energy onto the grid.
OK, it will only be about 20 – 30 kW, depending on the time of year, but there wull be no water extraction, it will power up the electrical requirements of the restored mill, which now even has a disabled lift for four floors, but when the doors are shut to visitors, will spin the outgoing meter nicely.
At home I have doubled the loft insulation, bunged in as many low energy long life light bulbs as is feasible, microwave food if the electric oven is not required, and even installed a digital read-out of the current wattage being used, with a family game of how low can we get it !
I agree that wind is a bit hopeless, unless done a very large scale. Solar is never going to pay for itself in our lifetime, however one can improvise.
A freind of mine has bolted a black painted old radiator to the roof of his allotement shed, and rigged up a shower in shed No.2. Works a treat.
If the lights finally go out in the UK, well I don’t think that many folks would be able to cope.
I am used to power failures, having lived in the Mid-East for many a year, so I had paraffin lamps, gas bottles for the cooker, and a battery bank for the TV etc via a static invertor.
The supermarkets and petrol stations would pack up.
The implications are endless.
I shall endeavour to install more hydro systems.
All the best,
Bob

Ken asks…

Tidal / Estuary / River produced Power. To me it seems daft that we don’t make………………….?

more use of this sustainable energy source.

I just posted a Q re Wind Farms and one of the answers reminded me that we have other renewable and sustainable sources. No pollution, efficient energy exchange (mechanical turbine to electricity in one step, aesthetically friendly and can be suited to mass production or local requirements.

Of course we do have Hydro-electric plants, but surely there is a big opportunity to utilise the tides, estuaries and rivers in a similar manner.

What are your views?

Windmill Farms answers:

The problem currently with harnessing wave power is the waves to not have the same horse power as a gravity fed hydro electric dam.
However there is a very vast ocean and much energy to be harnessed from it…
They have invented floating sea bobs that generate electricity by pushing a liquid back and forward in it.
Also there may be plans in the future to harness the tides of the sea using huge turbines beneath the sea, but this is also unviable….
In my opinion and I study Engineering in Renewable Energy is that wave power is not very viable as I mentioned before as there is not enough horsepower behind a wave as compared to a windmill…..
Many may disagree with me on this but this is my views that were also influenced by Nichola Tesla on Wave Power in The Problem of Increasing Human Energy……..
I can see there is energy there to be harnessed, but I think research should be going into things like harnessing the winds of the upper atmosphere before tidal wave……. Too many reasons for tidal wave not to be viable…..
But where there is a will there is a way, I wouldnt put my money near a wave power company yet.

Also large scale dams built for electricity generation are no longer considered “Green” as they often damage the environment in building it and take too long to pay back in energy….
Most of the world’s sources of hydro have already been tapped.
However microhydro is certainly a boom industry as it only diverts part of the river and doesnt do any local environmental impact……
So really micro-hydro is in the spotlight everything else is just research and development, prototypes or speculation……..

Helen asks…

Would our current electrical infrastructure support a switch to EV’s?

If EV’s catch on, and the United States starts installing charging stations, could power companies keep up with demand?

Windmill Farms answers:

Yes
electric cars will optimise the grid by storing off-peak electric and buying back at peak periods http://www.udel.edu/V2G/
This is essential as we move from fossil power plants that can be swiched on and off to meet demand and have to rely on renewables and nuclear that are less flexible.
And it provideds an instant benefit to micro generation at home, solar pannels, CHP, wind… Whatever works for you -for less than the cost some people pay for leather seats you could get enough energy for your normal daily use

Think of all the cars like a big uninteruppted power supply (UPS)
A car with a 100mile range but only does a typical 20 mile commute has a lot of power to spare – have you ever been in a supermarket when it loses power? With all the cars in the car park it can keep the tills and freezers and lights running

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Advantages Of Wind Power Articles

Lizzie asks…

Why are horizontal wind turbines chosen over vertical axis wind turbines?

VAT Vs. HAT:1)works more efficiently with excessive wind- RPM is regulated using some type of brake/ 2)can be placed side by side- need room for blades to rotate 60′,80′ or more I’m not sure 3)can be positioned any number of places parks,beaches,rooftops why not large ships.VAT’s can provide shade when grouped together.there is probably more pros’s than cons.

Windmill Farms answers:

Hey Marchelli, there are good reasons that the vertical axis, VAT, or Darrieus rotor type of wind turbine has not caught on. The main one is that they are horribly inefficient in terms of swept wind area or material to energy conversion rates. I’m guessing you’ve been checking out some websites touting the advantages of the VAT, such as, “Bat and Bird friendly, efficient, can catch wind in all directions…” and so on. The short story is that the science of wind energy does not support any of these claims. There is no evidence that a VAT will not kill a bird as easily as a horizontal turbine. What causes most of these tragedies is not the rotation of the blade, but the acuostical signature the turbine gives off when running. Both types do make a noise when they run, it doesn’t matter which direction the shaft is pointed. The VAT is one of the most inefficient types of wind turbines, generally converting less than 5% of the winds energy to electricity. Horizontal units use wind from any direction as well, by simply turning into the wind with the use of the tail. This is exactly what makes them so efficient. A Darrieus Rotors blades only produce torque on the downwind side of the rotor, most of which is used up forcing the upwind blade back into position for the next cycle, so little is left to produce energy. Most horizontal models operate at efficiencies in the 25 to 30 % range. There is a theroetical limit to the conversion rate for any wind turbine, about 37%, which is referred to as the Betz limit, named after the engineer that discovered it.

We live in a home that is powered by the wind and sun, our turbine is a horizontal model a little larger than a ceiling fan, producing up to 1000 watts on a windy day. It is our third turbine, the other two didn’t operate according to our expectations. Over the years we have learned a great deal about wind power, some of it the hard way. But you don’t have to take our word for this stuff, go to the source, The American Wind Energy Association, I will include the link and a few others as well. Mick Sagrillo is considered the modern day guru on wind power, he has a great article at that website discussing the outlandish claims some of the VAT websites are making. It’s all basic science, and once you start looking into it, you’ll notice what technical information is missing from many of these VAT websites, such as energy production over unit time and wind power curves. If you travel frequently, whether driving your truck or flying in an airliner, look over the countryside for wind farms, they are popping up everywhere, mainly because the utility companies have figured out that they work financially. You won’t see any VAT’s at those farms, there is a reason, they really don’t work as well as they’re claimed to. Good luck Marchelli, and take care, Rudydoo

James asks…

how many solar panels do i need to power up my house?

does anyone know how many pannels, batteries and the rating for charge controler and power inverter needed to power up a 3 bedroom house, meaning to run all your electrical lights and equipment?

Windmill Farms answers:

Hey Martin, Shane may be close on the numbers, but it is all just a guess without knowing more about your house and your weather. You see, asking a question like yours is no different than asking, “How much gas does it take to run a car?” It depends on the car, the miles it is driven, driving habits, and so on. We have a home in the Northern Great Lakes that is completely powered by the wind and sun. The solar array is our primary power source, probably providing about 80% of our needs, more in the summer. Although our house is small, about 1200 square feet, and fairly efficient, our array fits nicely on the roof of our single car carport, maybe taking up 180 square feet, nothing nearly the size of a football field. All of our equipment cost just under $15,000, including the batteries. Today, if you can take advantage of net metering in your area, you don’t need batteries or charge controllers, but you do need utility power. The grid becomes your battery in this arrangement. The only drawback is if the power grid goes down for any reason, you solar array goes with it. So you might find yourself in a situation where the sun is out, and you do not have access to the power in your own solar array. This can be frustrating to new owners.

My best suggestion is you get a subscription to Home Power Magazine, they are the only periodical that get into the nuts and bolts of what you are asking about. There are some good websites as well, I will list a few below. Don’t waste your time asking hacks like me online for information, you get answers like football fields and barrels of money which distort the real facts. You can read about people who have done exactly what you are trying to do in the magazine articles, check out suppliers websites that advertise there and learn a great deal. In the end, you might decide not to get involved, and that’s fine, but at least you will be well informed.

If you’re a handy type and can do some basic wiring, I would suggest you start by getting one panel, a couple golf cart batteries and some DC breakers and switches and set up your own 12 volt power system. We did 12 years ago, even put 12 volt outlets in all the rooms. They still work today and continue to be handy for small electronics and lights. If you subscribe to Home Power, you can go online to their website and look up archived articles from years past. Our home was even featured in one some time ago. Use their search engine to look up, “Starting Small First,” if you want to see it. I would also suggest going to an energy fair if you’re really interested after looking all this up, they are listed in the magazine as well.

For comparison purposes, I will give you the specs on our homes system you were asking about above. This is the equipment necessary to run our home, with a little help from the utility company. Our electric bills average just under $5 per month.

Solar: 14 Kyocera KC-120 panels, total solar power 1.6 KW
Wind: Southwest Windpower H-40,. Peak power 900 watts
Inverter: Trace Engineering SW-4024 4000 watts continuous, 10,000 watts surge limit
Batteries: Trojan L-16 model 360′s, 20 total storing 1800 amp hours at 24 volts DC

Take care, and good luck, Rudydoo

Richard asks…

what are the items needed to get power generated from solar energy?

i want to go for solar energy system of electricity.

Windmill Farms answers:

Hey Sanusi, always good to hear someone is interested in this. We have a home that is completely powered by the wind and sun. It’s been 10 years now since we started, and we have made plenty of mistakes. My suggestion is you start small, something on the order of a hobby sized system, and learn from it first. You really only need a few things. First is the solar panel of course. A good starter size is something in the 50 to 75 watt range. That way it is large enough to take advantage of the critical size for the best price to power ratio, but not so large it has to be delivered on a truck. That size panel in the US should cost about 200 to 400 dollars. Next is a battery. The best bang for your money is in a pair of golf cart batteries. You need two because they are 6 volts each, and the panel and most DC appliances are 12 volt. If you manage to buy a panel with diodes built into the back, then all you need after that is a wire to connect the panel to the battery. A diode is an electrical check valve, it allows power to flow in one direction, but not in the other. This is necessary so the panel can feed into the battery in the daytime, but the battery will not feed back into the panel at night.

Many solar systems use a charge controller, but here is a good rule of thumb. If the maximum amp rating on the panel is less than 2% of the amp hour rating on the batteries, then you don’t need a charge controller, the panel will never overcharge the battery. Golf cart batteries are typically 220 amp hour, and a 75 watt panel will only have an amp rating of 4 amps. The most important thing is you connect the panel to the battery correctly, positive to positive, and so on, then you can leave it hooked up all the time. We have a similar arrangement at our place we put in first, and it is still working today 10 years later. In fact, it was featured in an article in Home Power Magazine once, you can look them up online and use their search engine to find, “Starting Small.”

I would suggest doing a little reading, then shopping for parts and trying your hand at growing your own electrons, it’s fun and rewarding, and when you are done, you will have a small backup 12 volt power source. Good luck, and take care, Rudydooo

Chris asks…

What are the advantages of going to the Moon?

So there I was, posting about an article on Space.com about the Moon when droves of people came posting that going back to the Moon will be a waste of money.

So what are the advantages of going to the Moon?

There might be water at the poles from which hydrogen and oxygen used for rocket fuel instead of transporting all of it from Earth. There is also supposed to be significant amounts of H3 on the Moon making it a prime spot for fusion research in the future. The “dark side” of the Moon also offers a prime location for radio telescopes. Is there anything else?

IMO:
Human kinds only chance of long term survival will be to spread beyond the finite limits of Earth. To do this we must begin creating a space infrastructure that takes advantage of the resources space offers. If we skip the Moon and go straight to Mars we will most likely pull another Apollo, go there a few times and then never go back. However if we go to the Moon and build a permanent base beyond low Earth orbit we will develop the technology to create off world establishments and start creating footholds in the universe instead of just footprints.

Windmill Farms answers:

The Helium 3 is what is getting China and India interested in going to the Moon. Blown there by the Solar Wind, it should not be too difficult to harvest and it has the potential for nuclear fusion reactors that could power interplanetary travel and could begin to meet the energy consumption needs back on Earth, as we start to run out of fossil fuels over the next 300 years.

The fusion reaction proposed would mix deuterium (heavy hydrogen with one proton and 1 neutron) and helium 3 (two protons and 1 neutron) at high temperatures and produce stable helium 4 (two protons and two neutrons), eject a proton and release energy in the process.

The products weigh less than the initial components; the missing mass is converted to energy. 1 kg of helium-3 burned with 0.67 kg of deuterium gives us about 19 megawatt-years of energy output.

In a 2000 article on Space.com it was argued…

“Researchers and space enthusiasts see helium 3 as the perfect fuel source: extremely potent, nonpolluting, with virtually no radioactive by-product. Proponents claim its the fuel of the 21st century.

Helium 3 fusion energy may be the key to future space exploration and settlement,

Scientists estimate there are about 1 million tons of helium 3 on the moon, enough to power the world for thousands of years. The equivalent of a single space shuttle load or roughly 25 tons could supply the entire United States’ energy needs for a year.

Helium 3 could be the cash crop for the moon. Today (2000) helium 3 would have a cash value of $4 billion a ton in terms of its energy equivalent in oil (NB that was at oil prices of 8 years ago!)”

Donald asks…

Wind generator for science fair help?

Okay.I’ve been having trouble with this project.

What is the best propeller design for a wind generator?
Would you maximize the surface orthogonal to presumed wind direction? How would this affect long term wear? As we look for alternate energy sources, the design of alternative energy generators will become increasingly important.

I don’t understand what the control and variables would be.

Windmill Farms answers:

Hey Cheese, here is an answer to a previous question I answered some time ago. I cut and pasted for you to check out. Below are some other sources for you to check out online.

Hey Young, good question. If you take a moment to read through all these different answers, you’ll see that there are a lot of different positions on this subject. The short answer is the most efficient wind turbine design is the horizontal axis single blade turbine. Most people have never heard of or seen one in North America, they were common years ago in many parts of Europe where the winds were very light, and so efficiency was a chief concern. The single blade extended only in one direction away from the hub, and on the opposite side was a large bowling ball shaped counter weight. The reason this type is most efficient is that the one airfoil has complete use of the passing air. When you add a second blade, you can capture the wind twice as often, but the combination of two blades to swing through the air, and the turbulence left behind from one blade interferes with the second one in its path, much like a boat leaving a wake behind for another one to pass through. The next most efficient design is the 2 blade, but it is nearly as efficient as the single blade, better for slightly higher and less steady winds. They work best in areas where the wind blows mainly in one direction all day and the rotor head does not have to change direction often. When you are in a situation where the wind changes direction frequently, like the upper midwest, the three blade units are the best, because no matter what orientation the blades are in, the gyroscopic moment on the tower is steady while the unit is turning to a different direction. This is the main reason the 3 blade units are so common in North America. The 5 or 10 percent loss in efficiency is more than offset by the longer longevity of the tower and equipment, they run much smoother. Once you get beyond the 3 blades, additional blades do not offer any additional advantages, but each additional blade costs a bit more in efficiency losses. For this reason, most wind turbine manufacturers today primarily make 3 blade units. There are a few 2 blade units out there, Southwest windpower has one I believe for home use. There are also a few very small units for remote applications with 6 or 8 blades, but these are made purely for extremely high wind applications, like an artic weather station or onboard an ocean going vessel. One thing worth mentioning is that even the most efficient wind turbine design in the world will not be more than about 50 percent efficient, meaning only about half the energy that blows through its blades will be converted to electricity. There is also a lot of hype today for the vertical rotor. They really are about the least efficient, but are popular because they eliminate the tower complications.

The two people who are considered the gurus on this subject are Mick Sagrillo and Paul Gipe. Paul has written a book called, “Wind Power for Home and Business,” and Mick has authored several papers and articles and written several books on renewable energy as well, and continues to teach workshops in Wisconsin on the subject. We were fortunate enough to go to one of his classes at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair several years ago. I would suggest looking for Paul’s book at the library, or anything by Mick, or surfing to one of the websites below, it’s all very interesting reading, and you’ll be getting better information on the subject this way. Take care, Rudydoo

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Wind Energy Conversion System

Carol asks…

Which Type of Ocean Wave Energy Converter Produces the Most Power? ?

its for my science fair project.

Windmill Farms answers:

Searched
Ocean Wave Energy Converter
found a large database of many designs,operational and theory.
It should be a good start

http://peswiki.com/energy/Directory:Ocean_Wave_Energy

Directory:Ocean Wave Energy
From PESWiki
Jump to: navigation, search
See also PowerPedia:Ocean Wave Energy
Methods for harnessing the undulating action of waves to generate usable energy. From research and development to presently implemented solutions that harness the power of waves for energy production.

Contents [hide]
1 Overview
2 Wave Buoys
3 Companies
4 For Propulsion
5 In the News
6 Platforms
7 Testing
8 Backing
9 Related Technology
10 Research and Development
11 Comments
12 Directories
13 See also
Ocean Energy Potential – Ocean energy is mostly in an experimental stage but some of its component technologies have the potential to become mainstream energy sources and are now being trialed. Elementary primer on three basic ways to tap the ocean for its energy. We can use the ocean’s waves, we can use the ocean’s high and low tides, or we can use temperature differences in the water. (EnergyBusinessReports; June 25, 2007) [Don't forget current and salt/fresh mixing.]

Electricity from the sea – In a world addicted to fossil fuel, turning waves into watts might seem far-fetched, but ocean power is gradually joining the ranks of wind and solar as a source of renewable energy. In less than three years, U.S. Energy regulators have received nearly five dozen applications for water-related energy projects from South Florida to Washington state. (LA Times; Mar. 10, 2007)
Ocean Energy Report for 2005 – “Without a doubt, ocean energy made a splash in 2005. But in 2006, here’s hoping for a tidal wave.” — Carolyn Elefant, OREC. (Renewable Energy Access; Jan. 9, 2006)
Oceans may hold an answer to electricity production – Wave action could power as much as 10 percent of the world’s electrical demand someday. The potential along the West Coast could match all renewable energy systems presently deployed in the U.S. (The Columbian; Washington – Dec. 13, 2004)
Wave Energy News: USA, UK and South Africa – There are multiple ways to tap the energy of the ocean, including its tides, thermal features, and salinity. But wave energy appears to be the most promising and closest to commercial production. A new report from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) suggests that generation of electricity from wave energy may be economically feasible in the near future. (TreeHugger; Feb. 7, 2007)
US Cities Eye Ocean Waves For Power Supplies – Energy companies and coastal cities like New York and San Francisco are aiming to tap ocean waves and tidal currents as abundant sources of electricity. (Reuters; Feb. 24, 2005)
Ocean Power Fights Current Thinking – Ocean waves provide a predictable source of energy that is easily tapped, and will likely have minimal impact on the environment. Wave energy could soon compete with other renewable sources. (MIT Technology Review; March 28, 2005)
Putting It All In Perspective – Renewable energy may hold the key to both national security and economic stability. Ocean energy can be tapped via offshore wind, wave power, current and tidal power, thermal energy conversion and even salinity gradients. (Renewable Energy Access; April. 18, 2005)

Indian wave energy device patented 2007 A near shore floating device facing incoming waves. Similar to the oscillating wave column except that there is no turbine. The rise and fall of the waves is converted to mechanical motion by heavy buoyant piston driving an overhead crankshaft. This in turn drives a gearbox and alternator. See animation and patent details in web page.

Betty asks…

Why doesn’t geothermal energy cause pollution?

Also, does solar and wind energy cause pollution. Please explain.

Thanks in advance :)

Windmill Farms answers:

Geothermal energy can be used in two main applications. The first is on a large scale – generating electricity by injecting water into a geothermal heat source and using the resulting steam to drive turbines. The second is on a building or household scale: using a loop of tubing that goes into the ground, to extract heat from the house and pump that heat into the ground (during hot weather, for air conditioning) or to extract heat from the ground and pump that heat into the house (during cold weather, for heating).

Geothermal electricity generation does involve a small amount of pollution in that the steam coming up from below ground carries some toxic gases, but in most plants these gases, as well as the steam, are condensed and reinjected into the ground so the effect on the environment is negligible. There are no CO2 emissions from geothermal energy so it is a much better source of electricity than coal or natural gas or nuclear (or even large-scale hydro generation which requires the flooding of large areas of land).

Geothermal heating and cooling only causes pollution to the extent that the electricity source required to run a geothermal heat pump may come from a polluting source such as coal. However, the amount of electricity used for geothermal heating and cooling is typically about a quarter the electricity that would be required to heat or cool the same space with electrical heaters and conventional air conditioning. And if you install a home geothermal heat pump and buy your electricity from a green electricity supplier, then you don’t have to worry about any pollution from either the heat pump system or the electricity used to run it.

Solar and wind energy do not cause any pollution in their operation because they simply convert photons or the kinetic energy of moving air into electricity. Again, no CO2 is released in the conversion of solar or wind energy into electricity, or in the conversion of solar energy into home heating – or even air conditioning, as you can actually use the heat from solar energy to run an air conditioner!

Robert asks…

Why is wind power heating optimal in cold regions?

Windmill Farms answers:

Because its the most efficient use of wind generated power. You just pass the power directly to a resistive heater to add heat to the home or heat water. No expensive inverter or need for batteries would be necessary. Especially if the wind powered heat supplimented the total heating requirement of the home then the heat load would be able to accept all the energy provided by the wind turbine.

Anytime you can use energy directly you save the conversion losses. For example its easy to charge DC batteries for later use but you need inverters to convert DC to AC. However if you could use that DC power in devices that can use DC like a seperate 12V DC light system or use the batteries in an electric car then you don’t have to convert the DC in to AC. This saves the expense of the inverter and eliminates the losses associate with the inverters operation.

William asks…

Is there any MS in power systems and power engineering here?

I am a first year electrical and electronics student.
Can you tell me something about the course content and the nature of work?

Windmill Farms answers:

I will be starting a master’s program this fall in electrical engineering. I plan to do a good portion of my coursework and likely my thesis in power systems and high voltage engineering.

Any other question aside from that?

*******
edit:
Courses in this area are mostly about large scale three phase power systems, generator/motor operation, power electronics, industrial/commercial power systems, energy conversion and possibly high voltage engineering. You will likely learn about the theory and practical uses for each of those systems or devices.

On the theory side, you will need a good amount of knowledge in electromagnetics and circuits (so pay attention to your introductory emag/circuits/power courses). On the practical side, you might learn quite a bit about how the devices are used in practice, how they are rated and how to design power systems to meet certain needs.

Power might not be a sub-field of electrical engineering that students are flocking towards nowadays, but it has a lot of neat job opportunities and research options that might not be apparent at first glance (eg: designing generators to get the most out of wind power, researching high voltage sparking/discharge effects, designing lightweight & high efficiency motors). There are also many stable jobs available in industry designing substations, monitoring power distribution plants/networks, or designing/maintaining a manufacturing plant’s power distribution circuits, etc.

Sandra asks…

Which is best for renewable energy minor, Electrical or Mechanical engineering?

I wish to work with renewable energy; for that I searched which career to study in the university. I found that many universities stated that a mayor in renewable energy is not the right choice but instead as a minor with either Electrical or Mechanical engineering. I have read how each mayor does but I can’t still decide.
Could someone help me please.
P.S. I wish to work on big projects for the generation on energy like the “Andasol Solar Power Station”

Windmill Farms answers:

Most people actually doing work in “renewable energy” are doing either electrical or mechanical engineering. It depends where your interests lie.

Electrical engineers work on things like inverter technology… Changing out of phase alternators to in-sync SC power, things like power re-generation in car braking, power distribution… Etc.

Mechanical engineers design the wind & water turbines (along with fluid/aeronautical engineers), solar following systems, and such.

Chemical engineers are working on more efficient batteries (very very important), more efficient conversion from solar to electricity, high temp fluids for focused solar arrays, fuel cells.. And such.

Megatronics Engineers are both electrical/mechanical and work on the new technology of hybrid electrical/mechanical mechanisms, like solar aiming systems, turbine’s dynamic pitch control… And so on.

As you can see, renewable energy uses a lot of engineering backgrounds, and unless you want to get pigeonholed into one little job, your best bet is to get both electrical & mechanical backgrounds, then study, on your own, the areas that interest you. You won’t really take off in the industry until you get a job and your hands dirty.

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Is Wind Power Green Essays

Mandy asks…

Renewable energy essay help?

I’m writing an English essay about how Renewable energy is only part of the solution to climate change. However, I can’t think of anything to write! Please,please,please help? Thanks in advance :)

Windmill Farms answers:

If you understand the conservation of energy, then you know that technically all energy is renewable since it just changes form. Renewable energy to which you refer would be wind powered turbines, solar panels, and ocean current powered turbines, and so forth? Climate change happens when the burning of fossil fuels puts greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, thus changing the composition of the atmosphere. You can try to use these renewable sources of electricity instead of using steam (from burning coal) powered turbines for electricity, but the demand is still very high. Better forms of insulation or less rampant use of electric machines for everything would cut down on the demand for electric power. More importantly, most fossil fuels are used for transportation. It would be easy to revert to sailing ships and horse-drawn wagons, but the world is so imterconnected people cannot stop demanding creature comforts and immediate gratification. It would be very difficult to slow life down. Just imagine however such a world. So you would have to cut down on demand, and you would cut down on demand by changing people’s minds, by showing them another way of life.

The climate has sustained us until now, and we are resilient as a species, but perhaps we live in a more vulnerable world now. Everything is spread thin and interconnected, dependent on trade and transport of food and goods across vast distances in short amounts of time. Perhaps we could make areas more self-sustainable, or evacuate regions dependent on resources, instead of shipping grain thousands of miles from Indiana to Russia or putting water in giant plastic bags from glaciers to be pumped into the Greek isles. But NO, the world never changes. People will always want more, and the world is so in-your-face these days that people just bite instead of being patient and don’t take time to think critically. Look at traffic jams in cities. Are individual desires placed so high that everyone suffers? We see pedestrians killed so easily by indifferent cars which run on fossil fuels. Just imagine that the problem as to why we have seatbelts when we have people pass tests to be able to drive and get a license and on the other hand allow resources to be gobbled up and countries exploited for individual and collective comforts? Where is the license there? Renewable energy would only help part of the problem if implemented, and it would only be implemented if the attitude of society changed. Only if individuals could mature and admit that they were wrong! Climate change is caused by many causes. Some industrial processes (mostly powered by fossil fuels) ruin the environment where 500 years ago–only 500 years ago–such activites did not EXIST! The reason that they exist is because people want more comfort and safety. 500 years ago people got by all over the world. Life was not easy, but it will never be easy. It is an illusion to try to make life easy. So that is why people have to suffer before they can improve. Okay? People have to die before the BIG PROBLEMS are taken seriously by world governments, nations, and individuals themselves. Otherwise, life will go on when nothing can change people’s minds.

Perhaps our problems just change form, too, and never will disappear. Anyhow, any solution to climate change will involve stabilising the levels of gases in the atmospheric composition. Probably the cotaminents in the land and ocean would have to be cleaned up as well. Just getting renewable or green as they say energy wouldn’t help. Maybe some kind of genetically engineered bacteria microbe could be released into the atmosphere to use up methane and carbon dioxide and release nitrogen and oxygen. That would be many years in the making, since nature itself hasn’t provided that! It would be unnatural and who knows, might even make things much worse in the long run. Then a new organism would have to be made. There’s also a problem with the biofuels, pursued by countries like Brazil. You can only grow so much before you run out of land and need more land for food, or have to cut down forests. Perhaps the population growth will level off. People that we have now could be fed, but people want to much comfort and are too greedy or afraid, so people die of hunger or disease. Really, there has to be suffering or else no one would want to improve.

Helen asks…

what is green power?

im doing a essay on green power enger i cant find very much info on line can any one tell me whaat it is and some detail

Windmill Farms answers:

In practice green power comes from sources that do not utilize fossil fuels, and/or are renewable in nature.

A power plant burning coal emits oxides of nitrogen and sulfur, particulate matter, and CO2.

Solar cells simply collect energy from the sun. Wind farms utilize native wind to drive turbines. These don’t damage the environment to the same degree/

Maria asks…

i want a topic for essay???!?

i want a superb, unique topic for my essay plz sugest plz pleaseee……..requesting you’ll please.
thnk u..
need it urgent..

Windmill Farms answers:

Hello-

Wind energy is a superb, unique topic for your essay and I’ve included some pros and cons for you:

Pros:

Good Private Potential: People can generate their own electricity with wind power in much the same manner as people do with solar panels (photovoltaics). Some companies specialize in residential installations and there are also several DIY wind power kits on the market. It is possible to save money in the long run with residential wind turbines. Then there’s the feeling of contributing towards fighting global warming on a more personal level.

Residential wind turbines open up for the possibility for people to become completely energy self-sufficient (often in combination with other solar power and geothermal heating and cooling systems). This means that you are not reliant on electricity from the utility grid, which protects you from blackouts and fluctuating energy prices.

Abundant: Although some places are better suited than others, harnessing wind energy can be done almost everywhere. However, whether or not a resource is financially viable, comes down to the following question: “Can we generate cost-competitive electricity with current technology in this particular area?” Offshore wind turbines expand exploitable resources even further, but then potential environmental impact to the ocean habitats need to be explored.

Prices are Decreasing: While still extremely expensive to produce on a large scale, rices have decreased significantly (as much as 60% since the 1980’s according to some sources). Technological advancements and higher demand is expected to continue to push the prices down even further.

Green Energy: Wind energy is a green energy source. Harnessing wind energy does not pollute the environment as fossil fuels, coal and nuclear energy does. Other than construction and installation, generating electricity with wind energy does not involve any emissions of climate gases whatsoever.

Renewable: Wind energy is a renewable source of energy. Wind is naturally occurring and there is no way we can empty the resources (it naturally comes back).

Cons:

Costs: The cost-competitiveness of wind power is highly debatable. In most cases, projects rely heavily on government incentives to give wind power a fair chance to compete against already well established the power sources such as fossil fuels and coal. Wind generated power ranks second highest only to solar generated power in terms of initial and maintenance costs. Without government subsidies, large scale wind generated energy would be cost-prohibitive.

Noise Pollution: The wind turbines create a lot of noise. This alone is the reason that wind farms are not built near residential areas. People who live nearby often complain of huge noise that comes from wind turbines.

Threat to Wildlife: Due to large scale construction of wind turbines on remote location, it could be a threat to wild life nearby. Few studies have been done by wind turbines to determine the effect of wind turbines on birds and animals and the evidence is clear that animals see wind turbines as a threat to their life. Also, wind turbines require them to be dug deep into the earth which could have negative effect on underground habitats.

Wind Can Never Be Predicted: The main disadvantage of wind energy aside from cost/kwh is that wind can never be predicted. In areas where large amount of wind is needed or winds strength is too low to support wind turbine, there solar or geothermal energy could prove to be great alternatives. That is one of the reasons that most of the companies determine wind turbine layout, power curve, thrust curve, long term wind speed before deploying wind turbines.

Suited To Particular Regions: Wind turbine farms are suited to the coastal regions which receive wind throughout the year. So countries that do not have any coastal or hilly areas may not be able to take any advantage of wind power. The location of a wind power system is crucial, and one should determine the best possible location for wind turbine in order to capture as much wind as possible.

Visual Impact: Though many people believe that wind turbines actually look nice but majority of them disagree. People consider wind turbines to be undesirable to live next to. Petitions usually come before court before any proposed wind farm development.

Hope this helps!

Ken asks…

List of topics for a commentary essay?

I have to write an essay but need help with finding a topic.

Here is a list of Topics i CANNOT do:
?Capital Punishment
?Global Warming
?Religion and Education
?Abortion
?TV Shows such as Jersey Show, Reality TV, etc. (unless you are focusing on a specific, unique phenomenon across several television shows)
?Marijuana
?Sex Education
?Universal Healthcare
?Global Warming
?Military Spending
?The Recession
?Affirmative Action
?Gays in the Military
?Gay Rights
?Affirmative Action
?Tenure
?Media Bias
?Second Amendment Rights
?Vegetarianism/Veganism
?Immigration

Please help me with any list you can make up.

Windmill Farms answers:

Hello-

Wind energy is a superb, unique topic for your essay and I’ve included some pros and cons for you:

Pros:

Good Private Potential: People can generate their own electricity with wind power in much the same manner as people do with solar panels (photovoltaics). Some companies specialize in residential installations and there are also several DIY wind power kits on the market. It is possible to save money in the long run with residential wind turbines. Then there’s the feeling of contributing towards fighting global warming on a more personal level.

Residential wind turbines open up for the possibility for people to become completely energy self-sufficient (often in combination with other solar power and geothermal heating and cooling systems). This means that you are not reliant on electricity from the utility grid, which protects you from blackouts and fluctuating energy prices.

Abundant: Although some places are better suited than others, harnessing wind energy can be done almost everywhere. However, whether or not a resource is financially viable, comes down to the following question: “Can we generate cost-competitive electricity with current technology in this particular area?” Offshore wind turbines expand exploitable resources even further, but then potential environmental impact to the ocean habitats need to be explored.

Prices are Decreasing: While still extremely expensive to produce on a large scale, rices have decreased significantly (as much as 60% since the 1980’s according to some sources). Technological advancements and higher demand is expected to continue to push the prices down even further.

Green Energy: Wind energy is a green energy source. Harnessing wind energy does not pollute the environment as fossil fuels, coal and nuclear energy does. Other than construction and installation, generating electricity with wind energy does not involve any emissions of climate gases whatsoever.

Renewable: Wind energy is a renewable source of energy. Wind is naturally occurring and there is no way we can empty the resources (it naturally comes back).

Cons:

Costs: The cost-competitiveness of wind power is highly debatable. In most cases, projects rely heavily on government incentives to give wind power a fair chance to compete against already well established the power sources such as fossil fuels and coal. Wind generated power ranks second highest only to solar generated power in terms of initial and maintenance costs. Without government subsidies, large scale wind generated energy would be cost-prohibitive.

Noise Pollution: The wind turbines create a lot of noise. This alone is the reason that wind farms are not built near residential areas. People who live nearby often complain of huge noise that comes from wind turbines.

Threat to Wildlife: Due to large scale construction of wind turbines on remote location, it could be a threat to wild life nearby. Few studies have been done by wind turbines to determine the effect of wind turbines on birds and animals and the evidence is clear that animals see wind turbines as a threat to their life. Also, wind turbines require them to be dug deep into the earth which could have negative effect on underground habitats.

Wind Can Never Be Predicted: The main disadvantage of wind energy aside from cost/kwh is that wind can never be predicted. In areas where large amount of wind is needed or winds strength is too low to support wind turbine, there solar or geothermal energy could prove to be great alternatives. That is one of the reasons that most of the companies determine wind turbine layout, power curve, thrust curve, long term wind speed before deploying wind turbines.

Suited To Particular Regions: Wind turbine farms are suited to the coastal regions which receive wind throughout the year. So countries that do not have any coastal or hilly areas may not be able to take any advantage of wind power. The location of a wind power system is crucial, and one should determine the best possible location for wind turbine in order to capture as much wind as possible.

Visual Impact: Though many people believe that wind turbines actually look nice but majority of them disagree. People consider wind turbines to be undesirable to live next to. Petitions usually come before court before any proposed wind farm development.

Hope this helps!

Susan asks…

What mass-energy storage systems are available to store energy from wind-power??

By way of example, if a two-tier reservoir system was constructed and during times of excess wind energy the surplus was used to pump water from the lower to the higher reservoir, and the water was then used to run hydro-turbines during times of lower wind energy production.
Would some type of ‘green energy battery’ like this, be one answer to the drawbacks with wind-power?

Windmill Farms answers:

Yes

It’s so tempting to write an essay on this in here… Must resist…. Resiiiiist….

(1) Wind Is Not The Only Fruit

Pumped storage already exists – the UK has four stations. But they were built to balance off conventional power generation. Sizewell B nuclear PS is UK’s biggest indigenous balancing problem – if one of the two units flicks off, that takes 1320MW off the system instantly. The cross channel interconnector can take 2000MW off. Wind doesn’t do that – each turbine is autonomous, and even the largest offshore machines are never bigger than 5MW each. They don’t all flick off at once.

(2) Time Matters

Electricity balances at all instants. Http://www.dynamicdemand.co.uk for more. System Operators must cater for imbalances on all timescales. They do this by:

- “instantaneous”: large consumers able to switch off if frequency drops too low.
- sub-second: spinning intertia
- seconds: head of steam
- a few more seconds to a couple of minutes: pumped storage
- minutes: reserve (standing) generation
- hours: warming instructions to large generators
- days->years: “The Market Shall Provide”…

(2) Pumped Storage

Pumped storage is the cleanest, greenest of batteries, and you get 70-80% of the energy back that you put in. It costs a kings’ ransom to build one.

(3) Compressed Air Energy Storage

USA and Germany have one plant each; think there are more in the post. Basically they divert the hot compressed air halfway through its travels through a gas turbine into a disused salt mine. It is part of a fossil power station though so it’s tricky to say how much you get back for what you put in. I’m not sure of the numbers.

(4) Deferred consumption

Industrials can stop consuming during peaks or say in the first hour after a storm-driven wind turbine shutdown to allow other plant to get going. This type of energy storage is very efficient. Http://www.flexitricity.com/

(5) District heating with hot water storage

Lots of examples, mostly in Denmark. District heating takes waste heat from generators to heat hot water. If there’s a nice big hot water reservoir, then the generator can generate mostly when the wind is low while still allowing people to consume heat when they want to. Http://www.emd.dk/

(6) Hydrogen and associated uses.

Http://www.pure.shetland.co.uk/ – this is a really nice project involving a wind turbine, an electrolyser, some hydrogen bottles, a fuel cell, and a vehicle. The energy just nips from one to the other depending on where it’s needed.

There are other uses for hydrogen, and if you make it opportunistically when the wind is up, you’re storing energy. Http://www.anglesey-wind.co.uk/ is an enterprising outfit with lots of ideas on that score.

Transport is the very obvious alternative use scenario for renewables – you just fill up the stock of H2 bottles at filling stations when your wind farms are at full tilt, and then swap them for the empty ones of passing motorists bottle by bottle. Renewable cars, howzat?

(7) Batteries

Don’t knock ‘em! Off grid power at a Youth Hostel up in the highlands of Scotland relies on hot water, lead acid batteries, and a single wind turbine. Bliss (trust me I know, I arrived there very wet and cold one day). Plus there are other batteries – http://www.pacificorp.com/Press_Release/Press_Release36434.html is a Canadian system built in Utah

(8) Fossil fuel

And this is what we actually do rely on as an energy store, and would continue to rely on if wind had never been thought of. Unconverted fuel is energy storage. Don’t blame wind for needing storage to back it up – it all needs that!

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Uses Of Wind Energy Pdf

William asks…

What airfoil can i use for blades of wind turbine?

I want to design a 500kW wind turbine for my project. For the blades part, what airfoil number can i use..?

Windmill Farms answers:

A 500 kW wind turbine isn’t a project; it’s a substantial engineering undertaking. Have a look at

http://gcep.stanford.edu/pdfs/energy_workshops_04_04/wind_van_rooij.pdf

which refers to just one airfoil. Sorry, but if you already understand the discussion in that paper there would be no need to ask the question here.

Donna asks…

Wind power Renewable Energy?

Waht is likelyhood of wind power as being an important source of energy in the next 3 to five years.

Windmill Farms answers:

Like Bella just said. Wind power is already being used. One commercial example is, Sydney Water will use wind power to power it’s new desalination plant.

Http://www.sydneywater.com.au/EnsuringTheFuture/Desalination/pdf/RenewableEnergy.pdf

Wind power technologies are also still developing and will have a greater role in the future.

However, this being said. Wind power alone does not have the potential to replace current energy requirements. An effective combination of multiple green energy sources is required to meet energy demands. Green energy does have the potential to meet all our energy needs.

Ruth asks…

What people use Wind turbines?

Do people in the middle east use wind turbines?
Farmers?
People in rural areas?
Even the people that live in places where there isn’t a lot of wind?

Windmill Farms answers:

“In 2010, the market for small wind systems grew 26% with 25.6 megawatts (MW)
of new sales capacity, nearly 8,000 units, and $139 million in sales. Sales revenue
grew sharply at 53%, while the number of units sold continued to decline.” [in USA]

http://www.awea.org/learnabout/smallwind/upload/2011_turbine_market_report.pdf

Wind turbines are not typically used by individual people, such as farmers, but are bought by corporations who then sell the energy to consumers or other companies, etc..

People in the Middle East have indeed begun to instigate wind energy programs in their countries: http://www.evwind.es/noticias.php?id_not=11037
The leader in wind energy is probably Germany (USA in 3rd) [National Geographic]

Typically, wind turbines are built in places that are windy, simply in order to increase efficiency and profit, though they can be built anywhere (it’s just not very feasible).

Robert asks…

Wind Engineering?

When did Wind Engineering degrees first become available to obtain? Please post a link to where the information was found. Thanks so much for your help.
To Dan — you can receive a Ph.D. in Wind Engineering. It hasn’t been available for very long. I need to know how long. I work for an attorney who represents some big cases in Hurricane Katrina litigation. One of the Civil Engineers for the Defendants said he does not have a Wind Engineering degree because it was not available when he got his degree. Why this is important to our case, I don’t know, but we need to know how long the degree has been available.

Windmill Farms answers:

Wind engineering is not complex enough to encompass a whole bachelor of science or engineering degree program. I do know that Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) offers a bachelors program in renewable energy resources. See here:

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/Xplore/login.jsp?url=/iel5/4116829/4116830/04117103.pdf

This would be very similar to a degree in electrical engineering (not electronic, but power engineering).

If you are interested in this, a general degree in electrical engineering (power engineering) would serve you better than a degree in just renewable engineering as it can be used in many places. Wind engineering is not as wide a field and cannot offer you as many jobs. Note that wind engineering is not just for windmills, but would also cover finite element analysis for putting planes through wind tunnels and things like that (quite a complex science that involves supercomputers and so forth).

I have not heard of a wind degree only as, like I said, I cannot imagine there being enough material to cover this as a real degree program….it’s too specialized. Now you could get a bachelors in renewable energy or an electrical power engineering degree and then do a masters where you specialize in wind energy (or PhD).

I hope that helps.

-D

Mary asks…

Can i use any inverter for my DIY wind turbine?

I was wondering if i need a modified inverter especially for a windmill. Won’t any available inverter in the market suite that purpose?
i am trying to biuld a windmill and im running into the most difficult part…of procuring an inverter and charge controller.
if i’m not wrong the inverters that we get in the market come along with an inbuilt charge controler…right?

Windmill Farms answers:

Wind turbine inverters these days rely on several different types of technology. The newest models typically make use of high frequency transformers, but the low frequency transformer models are still more commonly used. The high frequency models use a computerized, multi-stage process for converting the DC energy into usable AC energy at the proper frequency. However, there are also models that do not even use transformers, and as a result they have a lighter weight and higher efficiency. The negative aspect is that these models are not typically compatible with the US utility grid.

Http://jennyxu2009.en.ec21.com/Wind_Turbine_Inverter–3636385_3636383.html

http://atg.ga.com/EM/energy/hpi-energy/Wind_Inverter_Data_Sheet.pdf

http://www.power-inverter-reviews.com/wind-turbine-inverters.html

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Micro Wind Turbine

Daniel asks…

Wind turbine controll and monitor ?

So basicly i have 4 wind turbines currently i control them with switches and monitor there power output with meters which is fine but im going to university next year and my parents …just can’t manage them what kinda of system can i get to computerise this so i can turn the turbines on and off from a computer and monitor power outputs from a computers ……preferibly a system thats not super expensive

Windmill Farms answers:

There are a lot of systems that could be purchased to do this. But you probably want to do with a cheaper system. You could get a Ethernet serial server for about $30.00 each, and connect to a relay to switch power on or off. Or buy an Arduino Uno micro controller that could collect voltage and current data and output it to Ethernet via the Arduino Ethernet shield and also activate a power relay (about $26.00 for both through ebay, Chinese seller. You would need to write a program for the Arduino to do this. One set for every windmill would work, wiring Ethernet back to the Router/AccessPoint. The router needs to be configured to open a port for your data, and you need to set up a Dynamic DNS service (free) to inform the remote PC at the university as to what the actual IP address is of your home router’s WAN IP address. Finally, you need some sort of software for your university PC. You could go cheap and just use a free terminal program as that software, though not very user friendly.

Helen asks…

How can I compare the the total net energy when using small wind turbines on the grill of a car?

I’m working on a science research project that involves replacing the grill of an automobile with micro wind turbines of equal surface area and im not sure how to measure the energy gained from the turbines. I simply planning on, in the future, connecting the turbines to an external battery, not rerouting it back into the car.
Also could anyone could help tell me how i could related the decrease change in MPG, as a result of the new drag from the new grill, to the gain in energy from the turbines to see if i get a net gain?
I understand that the law of conservation of energy clearly comes into play but that is why I am not putting the turbines on the top of the vehicle. I will be replacing the grill, an object whose function is to allow air to pass through to the engine to cool it off and protect the engine from foreign objects. I am taking the wasted energy (the drag on the grill) and turning it into something more efficient while maintaining the primary function of the original grill.

Windmill Farms answers:

This is pretty complicated. You can measure the output if the turbines with a voltmeter and ammeter to get watts. That part is easy. Make measurements at various speeds and altitudes. You will need load resistors, their value picked for optimal power transfer.

To measure the change in MPG you need a reference, an exact measurement without the turbines, ie, with the standard equipment installed. But the differences will be small, and depend on temperature, humidity, altitude, and lots of other factors, down to how smooth the paint job is on the cars.

Since the numbers have so many variables, you will need two autos, identical in every way, running the same path, the same day, when the wind is still. One with the turbines, one without.

You might be better off with a wind tunnel.

I realize all of this is outside the scope of this experiment, but your goals are very ambitious, and you need to match that with rigor of the experiment.

.

.

John asks…

can anyone help list down the methodology to design a hydro-turbine?

Windmill Farms answers:

Micro-hydro Basics

Canada and many other countries depend on large-scale hydro developments for electricity.

Most machines that make electricity need some form of mechanical energy to get things started. Mechanical energy spins the generator to make the electricity. In the case of hydroelectricity, the mechanical energy comes from large volumes of falling water. For more than 100 years, the simplest way to produce the volumes of falling water needed to make electricity has been to build a dam. A dam stops the natural flow of a river, building up a deep reservoir behind it. However, large dams and reservoirs are not always appropriate, especially in the more ecologically sensitive areas of the planet.

Micro-hydro systems can provide clean, environmentally friendly electricity in rural communities.

For making small amounts of electricity without building a dam, the small-scale hydroelectric generator is often the best solution, especially where fast-flowing streams on steep slopes are close by. A small-scale hydro system usually consists of an enclosed water wheel or turbine, which is made to spin by jets of high-velocity water. The water is taken from the stream and moved down slope to the turbine through a long pipe called a penstock. Water flowing through the penstock picks up speed, and is directed at the blades of the turbine by nozzles. The turbine spins continuously, as long as there is water to drive it. The turbine is connected to an electrical generator, and the electricity is then available for running appliances or charging batteries. The spent water is returned to the stream. This kind of system is called a “micro-hydro” system, “run-of-stream hydro” or “low-impact hydro.”

In this activity, you will use plastic spoons to build a model of a simple micro-hydro system. It generates surprising amounts of electricity, provided you have a supply of pressurized water, such as from a lab sink. This model closely resembles real micro-hydro designs, and can produce enough electricity to light a small light bulb.

Making electricity

The completed micro-hydro turbine.

We are surrounded by hundreds of appliances that use electricity to do work. But what is electricity? Basically, electricity is a flow of electrons in a metal wire, or some other conductor. Electrons are tiny particles found inside atoms, one of the basic building blocks of all matter. We call the flow of electrons through any conductor a “current of electricity.”

Each electron carries a tiny negative charge. When electrons move through a conductor, they produce an invisible field of magnetic force, similar to that found around a magnet. The strength of that field depends on how many electrons are in motion. You can concentrate this field by winding the wire in which the electrons move into a tight coil with many turns. This causes many more electrons to be in motion in a small space, resulting in a stronger field. If you then place a piece of iron in the middle of the coil, the electromagnetic field will turn the iron into a powerful magnet.

While it is true that electrons moving through a conductor produce a magnetic field, the reverse is also true. You can make electrons move in a wire by “pushing” them with a moving magnet, which is how an electrical generator works. Electrical generators usually contain powerful magnets that rotate very close to dense coils of insulated wire. The coils develop a flow of electrons that becomes an electrical current when the generator is connected to an electric circuit.

You will be building an electrical generator as part of this project. It uses moving magnets to create a current of electricity in coils of wire. This generator is technically called an alternator because the electrons move back and forth in the wire, rather than flowing in just one direction as they do from a battery. A meter connected to the wire would show that the charge of the wire switches or alternates between positive and negative as the electrons change directions. Such an electrical current is called alternating current or AC. Household electrical current is alternating current. Appliances have to be specially designed to use it. The other type of current is called direct current, because the electrons move in one direction only. Most battery-powered appliances such as calculators and portable CD players use direct current.

Safety Precautions

Electric drills can cause serious eye and hand injuries. Eye protection is required, and leather gloves are recommended when drilling small parts such as corks. A cork borer can be used as a substitute but it also has risks for injury.

Hot glue guns can cause superficial burns. Be sure glue guns are warmed up only when needed, and unplugged immediately after. Hot glue can stick to skin and clothing.

Utility knives can be hazardous. Expose only as much blade as you need to cut the material, and fully retract the blade when not it’s not in use.
Build It!

Test It!

The Pembina Institute

If all has gone well with your construction, this turbine should be able to produce significant amounts of electricity, depending on the speed of the water striking the spoons.

Place the neck of the plastic container under a faucet and turn on the water. The rotor should spin quickly!

Connect your micro-hydro turbine to a multi-meter and set the dial to read volts of alternating current. Measure the voltage generated by the operating turbine.

Build It!

The Pembina Institute

Important note:

Please read and follow these instructions carefully, step by step! Have a one member of your group read each step aloud to be sure the instructions are clearly understood. Do not proceed until each step has been completed.

Tools

Electric drill, with ??” drill bit
Scissors
Electrical tape
Ruler
10 cm (3.5 inch ) nail or awl
Hot glue gun, with 3 glue sticks
White glue
Utility knife
Pencil sharpener
Permanent felt tip marker
Magnetic compass
Wire cutters
Gloves
Safety glasses

Materials

Micro-hydro template sheet (see bottom of page to download)
4L plastic jug (rectangular style, from vinegar, windshield washer fluid, or similar-see illustration)
10 plastic spoons
1 large cork (3.5 to 5 cm)
Enameled magnet wire, 24 gage (approx. 100 m)
Foamcore or heavyweight corrugated cardboard (approximately 22 cm by 30 cm)
6 mm (1/4 inch) wooden dowel (20 cm long)
4 ceramic or rare earth magnets (18mm or larger)
clear vinyl tubing (6 cm long, ??” inside diameter)
4 brass paper fasteners

Safety Precautions

Cover the back of the template with a thin, even layer of glue.

Use caution when cutting with the utility knife.

Prepare the Disks
The generator we are building has two basic parts-the rotor and the stator. The stator is the part that remains stationary and has coils of wire to collect electricity. The rotor is the part that moves. It is equipped with powerful magnets that will induce current of electricity in the coils.

Glue the template sheet to the cardboard with white glue. Be sure to spread a thin layer of glue evenly over the entire back of the template.

When the glue has dried, use the utility knife to cut the rotor and stator disks from the cardboard sheet. Carefully trim the edges. Also, be careful not to damage the tabletop with the utility knife. Work on a piece of scrap wood or a cutting board.

Using an awl or sharp nail, punch a small hole through the rotor disk at its exact center, as shown. Using the utility knife, make a larger (1 cm) hole at the center of the stator disk.

The Stator

Check to make sure you have good connections between the coils.

Prepare a jig for winding your coils by cutting a 3 cm by 16cm piece of cardboard, folding it in half and securing with a small piece of electrical tape.

Cut 8 short (4 cm) strips of electrical tape and set these aside.

Leaving a lead of about 10 cm, start winding the first coil on the jig. Wrap the wire neatly onto the jig, forming a tight coil. Use 200 wraps or turns.

Carefully slip the coil off the jig and secure it using two pieces of the electrical tape you set aside in step 2 above.

Using a small patch of emery cloth or sand paper, remove the enamel insulation from the ends of each lead, exposing about 1 cm of bare wire. Be sure the wire is completely bare!

Repeat steps 1 through 5 to make three more coils.

Lay the coils loosely on the disk in the position shown by the template. Arrange the coils so their windings alternate between clockwise and counterclockwise, as shown on the template. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT! Arrange and connect the coils so that an electron would follow the path shown by the arrows, starting with the counterclockwise coil on the left hand side.

When you are sure you have them arranged correctly, connect the coils by twisting the bared ends together, covering the connections with small pieces of electrical tape.

Check your connections: Set your multi-meter for measuring electrical resistance (ohms). If your connections are good, there should be little resistance to the movement of electrons, and the meter should produce a reading of about 10 ohms or less. To check this, touch or connect the probes to the two free ends of the wires from the coils. If the coils are not properly connected, the reading will be a very large number, or infinity.

Once you are confident the coils are properly positioned and connected, glue them to the stator disk. Lift each coil up a little and apply a large blob of glue to the template where the coil touches. Let the glue solidify before gluing the next coil.

With the utility knife, cut 4 slits through the cardboard between the magnets as shown on t

Carol asks…

Converting rpm to mph for a wind turbine?

Ok I am buying a small 24v permanent magnet motor and I intend to use it as a 12v wind turbine.I wanted to keep the voltage at 12v so what device would I need also What sort of wind speed would I need to keep it at 12v and producing a few amps.The motor is a 24v 120watt so it would be 240watts at 12v right.

What type of wind speed is needed to produce a 12v at around 5amps or more

Here is the description of the motor

You are bidding on a 24 volt dc / 120 watts permanent magnet motor in very condition.

This motor can also be used as small a dc generator will produce 2 to 3 volts when spun by hand and is capable of producing around 14 volts dc when rotated at 2500 rpm. It will also generate electricity at lower speeds but voltage and power will be less.

This motor could be used to make a human powered generator with the addition of a bicycle and some imagination, or possibly a small wind generator if geared up sufficiently,or it could just be used as a motor to drive a scooter,bike,robot it’s up to you.

I have tested this motor myself by rotating it with an electric drill whilst using a digital tachometer to measure the rpm and a multimeter to monitor it’s output.These figures are approximate as it is very difficult to keep the motor rotating at a constant speed reading the meter.

The length of the motor is 110 mm x 65 mm diam approx it is fully enclosed with two sealed bearings inside.There are three threaded holes in the front end which could be used for mounting it.

Windmill Farms answers:

Hey Server, sounds like you’re using an electric scooter motor there. We have a half dozen of them around the house here. Don’t worry about the voltage, just get a large diode to put between the PMG and the battery so the battery doesn’t back feed into the generator in calm winds. Once you start spinning the shaft, you probably noticed the voltage went up with the rpm. This will happen until the voltage exceeds the battery voltage. At that point, the voltage curve flattens out almost entirely, and only the amps increase, try it with your drill, you’ll need two multimeters for this, one for voltage, and one for amps. As the speed increases, the charge current goes up, but the battery will act as a voltage regulator in the circuit, so the voltage only goes up slightly with corresponding increases in amperage. This will occur until you reach the battery overvoltage state, around 16 volts, and the battery is gassing at its maximum. Beyond that, you might do damage to the battery, but it will probably take more power than your drill, or your turbine will develope.

There are lots of direct drive wind systems out there that work this way. Did you know if you buy a 12 volt solar panel by the way, it puts out 18 volts? As soon as it is connected to the battery though, the voltage drops to match the battery’s charging curve. Your wind turbine will do the same as long as it is not too large for the battery, and you don’t run it weeks on end while you are away and not using the power. If it were me, and I had your wind turbine and battery setup, I’d let it loose and use a load controller to maintain the proper battery voltage instead. This type of device makes no attempt at regulating the wind turbine output. Instead, when the battery voltage reaches a predetermined voltage, say 15 volts, it turns on a relay, that energizes a dump load, like a small string of incadescent light bulbs, then when the voltage falls below say 14 volts, it turns off again. Many commercially available turbines actually use this type of regulator today, our turbine, the Southwest Windpower H-40 is a good example. Next to the controller box in the garage is an electric heater box, which turns on whenever the wind contoller senses voltage above a preset maximum, but the turbine keeps driving energy in, not knowing where it is going. The real beautty to this setup is that same controller will also protect your batteries from other charging sources too, like a solar array or micro hydro generator, never letting the battery above 15 or so volts for any reason. Take care, Rudydoo

Sharon asks…

does turbulent air make much of a difference to wind turbines?

Windmill Farms answers:

Yes absolutley tons of difference. That’s why they only have three blades because if they had more then the turbulence from the blades would interfere with one another. On the other hand micro turbulence is essential for any aerofoil. If an aerofoil is too perfectly smooth then laminar flow will cause drag and reduce efficiency. The biggest source of turbulence for wind turbines is the velocity gradient caused by their proximity to the ground. 300m up would be the ideal height but you need a big stick for that.

I had an idea that the ideal wind generator for turbulent air might be a washing line attached to a ratchet winder.

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