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Vertical Axis Wind Turbine With Push and Pull

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the not-just-hot-air dept.

Power 374

Sterling D. Allan writes "After 10 years of prototyping, wind tunnel testing, patenting, and tweaking, Ron Taylor of Cheyenne (windy) Wyoming is ready to take his vertical axis wind turbine into commercial production. Design creates pull on the back side contributing to 40%+ wind conversion efficiencies. Because it spins at wind speed, it doesn't kill birds, and it runs more quietly. It also doesn't need to be installed as high, and it can withstand significantly higher winds (can generate in winds up to 70 mph, compared to ~54 mph tops for propeller designs). Generating costs estimated at 2.5 cents per kilowatt-hour, putting it in the lead pocket-book-wise not just of wind and solar, but of conventional power as well. Production prototype completion expected in 5-7 months."

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ALLAH be FUCKED if I let Muslims run MY country! (0, Troll)

The_Fire_Horse (552422) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977791)

Fucking Islams and their medievil tactics using force to spread the holey word of the koran - doesnt it just piss you off?
This is now the 20th century and yet they continue to use 14th century strong arm terror tactics to spread the word of their virul brainwashing.

Hi, I'm The_Fire_Horse [slashdot.org] and you might remember me from such posts as
IsPorn - the 5 pillars of masturbation, and
Muslem Women - YUK - cover up your face, biatch - YOU UGLY!

Today, we will continue our investigation into this so called "Religeon of Peace" that is IsSLUM.

Without rehashing the lists here, it is clear that over 95% of all riots, terror attacks and religous based murders have been conducted by muslims in the last 25 years. Dont get me wrong, Christians were absolute pricks during the crusades and just about ALL religeons have been arseholes at some point during their existance. The thing is, we are not talking about the dark ages, or medievil times - this is 2005, and we as a people should know better.

People who talk against muSLUMs are often killed (taco - please dont post my IP - ktx), for example Salman Rushdie and that poor bastard in the netherlands. You just cannot seem to talk about islam without fear of retribution - all other religeons, for hundreds of years have at least tolerated debate - Hell, just yesterday the fucking vatican stated that 'Intelligent Design' isnt all it cracked up to be (HA - take that Bush!)

So, what can the average Slashdotter do to fix this situation?
ANSWER
1. Keep an on the the patterns of violence mathematically (I may be a troll, but you cannot argue against the sheer volume of news reports) so that you see that it is muSLUMs causing all the trouble

2. Be aware that discussions about the downsides of isSLUM can be hazardous to your health. Try a simple argument with a muslim person on a non serious topic - then say "ALLAH IS A CUNT" and watch your learned friend hit the roof and pull out a knife from the teatowel on his head. Duck and cover.

3. Vote 'HELL NO' to having islam control YOUR country (that is their target, and the core purpose of all the jihads - to have islam based governments and their 'own' laws [shudder]

Stand united fellow slashdot geeks - together we can spread the word that we DO NOT WANT ISLUM IN OUR GOVERNMENT thank you very much


Always remember the slogan: "ALLAH be FUCKED if I let Muslims run MY country!"

whatever (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977823)

its not muslims that are the problem, its assholes like you.

i just had anal sex with your Mom.

Re:whatever (1)

firehorsey (867123) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977856)

its not muslims that are the problem, its assholes like you.
i just had anal sex with your Mom.


Ahh, spoken just like a true Islamic fuckhead.

Nevermind the stats, nevermind the evidence - when someone says something bad against you, its straight to violence and rape.
Thanks for proving my point.

Re:ALLAH be FUCKED if I let Muslims run MY country (-1, Troll)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977925)

Congratulations, I had no idea how to foe people. But I learnt just so I could foe you. Now I won't need to ever read your racist drivel.

Re:ALLAH be FUCKED if I let Muslims run MY country (1)

SomPost (873537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977966)

Turbine? What turbine?? Oh.. that turbine! Yeah, sure! Cool turbine!

Re:ALLAH be FUCKED if I let Muslims run MY country (-1, Offtopic)

Raithmir (916779) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978100)

Me neither, so I looked. You seem to have rather a lot of foes to say you only just discovered it.

Re:ALLAH be FUCKED if I let Muslims run MY country (-1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977975)

2. Be aware that discussions about the downsides of isSLUM can be hazardous to your health. Try a simple argument with a muslim person on a non serious topic - then say "ALLAH IS A CUNT" and watch your learned friend hit the roof and pull out a knife from the teatowel on his head. Duck and cover.
Try the same with a christian conservative, only replace "ALLAH IS A CUNT" by "JESUS IS A CUNT". Watch him go for the shotgun. Duck and cover ;-)

Muslims invaded Spain in 711AD (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13978023)

They attacked first. If it weren't for the Crusades, the Muslims would have invaded through Serbia and Germany, conquering all of Europe. There would be no America right now, because Benjamin Franklin would have been executed for apostasy and immoral conduct (eating French pussy).

So, you can thank Yahweh that the Pope called for the Crusades. The only thing we did wrong during the Crusades is we didn't wipe their filth out for all eternity.

They'll do it to us, so I'd rather we do it to them, first.

Well (1, Funny)

Astronomypete (794675) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977798)

Well blow me down!

Sorry... (5, Insightful)

utexaspunk (527541) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977800)

...but I don't take anything "Open Source Energy News" posts seriously anymore. It seems like every post that comes from them is a crackpot.

Re:Sorry... (1, Funny)

evil-osm (203438) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977814)

Yeah they do seem to let off alot of hot air don't they.

Re:Sorry... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977818)

Yes, but the slashdot creedo forces you to worship anything with the words "open source" in it. You want to be part of the slashdot groupthink, don't you? DON'T YOU!?

Re:Sorry... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977827)

I'll see you that and raise you one.

I don't take "Open Source Energy News" posts OR "ScuttleMonkey" posts seriously anymore.

Re:Sorry... (1, Funny)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977848)

...but I don't take anything "Open Source Energy News" posts seriously anymore. It seems like every post that comes from them is a crackpot.

Gee, ya think? Next you'll tell me that the interesting newspapers in the supermarket checkout don't perform rigorous fact checking. And I was so hoping to meet Elvis and bigfoot.

Re:Sorry... (1)

Silver Sloth (770927) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977868)

Whilst this has a large amount of vapourware about it they do at least have working prototypes. Given the high profile of windfarms in the UK I can see more efficient designs being taken up in a big way. It may be a bit early to bet the farm but I wouldn't be surprised to see these on an off shore site near you in the next few years.

Re:Sorry... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977905)

I think you're right,
It does cover Mills again.

Re:Sorry... (1)

torpor (458) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977940)

you shouldn't take any news source so seriously, dude. all sources are false.

Re:Sorry... (2, Interesting)

tgd (2822) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977967)

Whats really bizarre is the sudden influx of them.

This has been an epic last few weeks for the ability of crackpots to get pseudo-science posted on here. I suspect its actually just a game the editors are playing -- trying to see how riled up they can get everyone. I suppose, though, its possible its just another example of why Slashdot either needs new editors or story moderation.

More Quiet? (1)

Chapter80 (926879) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978017)

From TFA: Kind to the Birds; More Quiet

ok, so you have something that's quiet (which means that it makes no noise - also means calm and unmoving, as in "a quiet lake"). Can you have something that's more quiet?

I suppose if quiet means that it makes little noise, maybe. hmm seems like a poor choice of words. How about Quieter?

Reminds me of a question my son asked me. "Dad, if there's a fire in the kitchen, and I make the fire better, what did I do?"

Doesn't kill birds? (0)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977812)

I think that if a bird gets caught in there, he can still be killed easily?

Re:Doesn't kill birds? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977853)

The entire device looks like a solid structure to passing birds, hence they fly around it. Birds don't fly into solid walls.

This is unlike conventional wind turbines that chop through air too quickly for birds to see them.

You haven't RTFA have you? No, of course not, this is Slashdot after all.

Re:Doesn't kill birds? (0, Offtopic)

Killjoy_NL (719667) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977930)

Actually I have read the F-ing article, don't be so presumptious and have the balls to post with your name instead of anonymous.

Pussy

Re:Doesn't kill birds? (1)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977854)

Yes, moving parts can always kill a careless animal of course, but I think their point was that this is easier to spot and looks like a building, so it is less likely that a bird flies into it. Nice, but from what I have heard it is actually very rare that propeller wind turbines kill birds either.

Uses up the wind (4, Funny)

backslashdot (95548) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977861)

Yes, and even worse, it uses up the wind.

Re:Uses up the wind (2, Funny)

Gadgetfreak (97865) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978107)

Though you'd have to appreciate the fact that if these were implemented in power generation for public utilities, some of that power would be used for cooking poultry...

Though I'd assume more of it would also go towards powering many, many fans.

Re:Doesn't kill birds? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977885)

I think that if a bird gets caught in there, he can still be killed easily?

Yeah, but don't worry, it only targets the male birds

Birds... (5, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977892)

I'll be honest, I really have to wonder about the whole windmills-killing-birds business. It always gets dragged up, but does anyone really know how many birds those propellers actually kill? I'm willing to bet it's very low; I also suspect way more birds are killed by flying into vehicles on the highway, or into the sides of highrise buildings (I had one kamikaze into my house last week, and that's not even a high rise).

The whole bird thing sounds like a convenient excuse invented by people who really oppose windmills because of noise or land use issues, but want a fuzzier, more PR-friendly excuse. The kill zone on a windmill is basically going to be the circle described by the rotor tips as they go through the air, so it's not a huge zone (as you get towards the center they're not moving as fast, tangentially) and at any given time it's not as if just flying into that ring would result in death, you'd have to be at a point at the particular moment in time when the blade moved through it. Last time I checked, birds don't hover, so you have two moving objects that would have to compete against some long odds to end up in the same place at the same time. Also, the turbines are noisy as hell -- something which is a legitimate criticism -- and I find it hard to imagine that birds wouldn't be scared off by the sound, air currents, and motion. (Actually they wouldn't make a bad large-scale scarecrow over farmland...)

Call me overly cynical but I find that particular objection dubious.

Re:Birds... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13978015)

Actually, the tangential velocity is higher the farther you get away from the center of rotation.

Re:Birds... (5, Informative)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978067)

It always gets dragged up, but does anyone really know how many birds those propellers actually kill? I'm willing to bet it's very low; I also suspect way more birds are killed by flying into vehicles on the highway, or into the sides of highrise buildings (I had one kamikaze into my house last week, and that's not even a high rise).

If you google for Altamont Pass, you will find reports of what is apparently the most deadly wind farm for raptors in the U.S., and kills about 800-1300 birds of prey a year. It's the farm's location in this pass, a migration path for other birds which makes it a great home for many raptors such as golden eagles, that makes it high risk. It's the small size, tight placement, and old design of the turbines that turns that risk into actual dead birds.

Your intuition is correct here, in that this is a tiny amount compared to the number of birds that crash into windows of buildings in your average city. On a per-turbine basis, cell phone towers kill more birds.

However, many people have taken the issue seriously (the makers of the Altamont Pass turbines were taken to court to force them to reduce the danger of their farms to birds), people like my father who as a bird watcher and conservationist is most concerned about predator populations due to their important role at the top of the food chain. It turns out that these concerns are being addressed, and newer turbines are much less dangerous to birds, in particular raptors. New designs discourage perching on the supports (electrocution of perching birds being a problem apparently), and larger turbines with commensurately slower blades, have proven to reduce bird fatalities.

This is an issue I care about, loving as I do large animals that eat other animals, and I feel it is being duley considered and addressed. Wind farms do less damage to the environment than any other form of power generation other than solar, and kill fewer birds than the windowed office building that would be built to house the adiminstration for any form of power plant. That's no reason not to pressure the makers of the farms to continue to address bird deaths by improving their turbines, but it's also no reason to discourage the construction of wind farms. People who are against wind farms due to bird deaths have in my experience fallen into two categories: concerned environmentalists who aren't aware of the scope of the problem, and industrialists who just want to have something to put in the "negatives of alternative energy" column to line up with "releases more radiation than Three Mile Island on a normal day of operation" in the "negatives of coal" column so they'll both seem equally bad.

Re:Birds......sucked into rotors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13978084)

The birds get sucked into the propeller of course!

You don't know anything about windmills obviously, just talkin' that smart person techno jargon to make your post sound smart.

Re:Doesn't kill birds? (3, Funny)

slamkoder (929436) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977929)

Is it really an advantage that it doesn't kill birds in these H5N1 times?

Re:Doesn't kill birds? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13978129)

Well, the current design may kill birds, if they manage to get inside the central rotor. However, it is very possible to design a protection around the generator, like grillage, which would prevent the birds from entering the wind-generating area.

Could be useful for microgrids (5, Informative)

Colonel Sponsz (768423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977816)

While vertical axis wind generators aren't new - the Soviets utilized vertical designs for the most part - this design is. Wind power usually isn't practical or environmental for large-scale deployment (land usage/kW is too high), and I expect this design won't change that, but it could make wind an even better choice for microgrids [wikipedia.org] .
Shame the article reads like Yet Another Slashvertisment (someone wants venture capital I guess) - I'd like some more details.

Re:Could be useful for microgrids (5, Informative)

otter42 (190544) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977875)

This design isn't new. It's bunk. As he describes it, it's a Savonius windmill, which is nothing if not inefficient.

Although your comments about microgrids are very apt. And since what we truly need in this world are microgrids (encourage conservation of energy, reduce fossil fuel use, provide energy to Africa), I'm very excited about wind's possibilities in this arena.

(Which is why I just started a PhD. in solar and wind microgeneration cells.)

Re:Could be useful for microgrids (3, Interesting)

Kadin2048 (468275) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977956)

Thanks for the info. I had never heard of Savonius windmills before -- or at least not heard the name. I've actually seen one before though, but not for any practical purpose: one of those annoying moving-lawn-ornament type things.

In case anyone else is interested in what a Savonius windmill is, there's a page with a little simulation of one here [picoturbine.com] . I think they're selling something (model turbines maybe?) although I didn't really check it out.

I have to wonder though whether one of these is really as efficent as a propeller-type windmill, given that a propeller type one can alter its blade pitch and keep the rotational speed relatively constant in different wind speeds. Is there a way to do that with a Savonius design? It doesn't seem like the airfoils are really anything that you could easily change in flight.

I'm not sure if it's true, but I once heard an interesting factoid about Dutch-style propeller windmills, and how they were among the first mechanical devices to implement a "feedback loop"; you have a tail rotor mounted perpendicular to the main rotor, which drives the mechanism that orients the windmill. If the wind isn't blowing at the mill directly from the front, it causes the small rotor to turn, turning the mill into the wind. When the mill is pointing in the right direction, there's no wind on the small rotor, so it stops. Pretty brilliant, for the 17th or 18th century.

Re:Could be useful for microgrids (3, Interesting)

otter42 (190544) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978020)

I have to wonder though whether one of these is really as efficent as a propeller-type windmill, given that a propeller type one can alter its blade pitch and keep the rotational speed relatively constant in different wind speeds. Is there a way to do that with a Savonius design? It doesn't seem like the airfoils are really anything that you could easily change in flight.

From my readings, and as a pilot, I can hazard a guess that this is because of the enormous complexity both in manufacturing and in maintenance of having a variable pitch prop. The money that you save (earn) through increased efficiency might be gobbled up the first time you have to higher a technician to climb to the top of a 200m tower and fix a faulty blade. Don't know if this is the only reason, but it's certainly a major one.

I'm not sure if it's true, but I once heard an interesting factoid about Dutch-style propeller windmills, and how they were among the first mechanical devices to implement a "feedback loop"; you have a tail rotor mounted perpendicular to the main rotor, which drives the mechanism that orients the windmill. If the wind isn't blowing at the mill directly from the front, it causes the small rotor to turn, turning the mill into the wind. When the mill is pointing in the right direction, there's no wind on the small rotor, so it stops. Pretty brilliant, for the 17th or 18th century.

Never heard that before, but it sounds pretty cool and feasible. It makes sense if you consider that bearings would have been pretty difficult back then, and thus you might not be able to rely on a little tail flap a la weather vane for orienting the mill.

Re:Could be useful for microgrids (3, Insightful)

BlowChunx (168122) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978037)

Just looking at the prototype from the article, it looks to me like they have "inlet guid vanes" which would direct the incoming air so that it hits the rotor blades at the correct angle, so there would be no need for variable angle of attack (as there is with propellers...).

Re:Could be useful for microgrids (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13978068)

"This design isn't new. It's bunk."

You're the future of wind and solar science? Great, we'll be stuck with oil forever with that attitude...

Re:Could be useful for microgrids (1)

Colonel Sponsz (768423) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978128)

I bow to your superior knowledge. :)

That's what I get for speaking out with only a superficial knowledge of turbine design I guess...

Re:Could be useful for microgrids (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977908)

Grid density is the key. One sitting in the middle of a paddock may show good numbers, but if it acts like a building the others behind and to the side may have low performance stats, just like bad air in sailing comps. Would be useful to know if prop and verticals work together.

Not stated was variable pitch propellers have lots of advantages too - no clutch. His design implies a clutch, and we know both brakes and clutches wear out.

In the meantime, cows, dog, cats and rodents who try this revolving door will get what they deserve. With propellers up high, you dont need a fence.

Re:Could be useful for microgrids (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977918)

plenty of room in the sea for offshore usage surely?

Re:Could be useful for microgrids (1)

NardofDoom (821951) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977947)

Large-scale solar deployments can be in places like ranches or farms and can be used to suppliment a farmer's income. Explain how this isn't practical or environmental.

Re:Could be useful for microgrids (5, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978057)

yes and no. the best wind generator is the vertical axis generator. it removes a significant amount of complexity and can be easily made from junk lying around most farms. 55 gallon drums cut in 1/2 make the blades easily(plastic ones are best) and a belt/pulley system to a car alternator makes an inefficient version, you can make a highly efficient version that will produce usable power at only 6-8mph winds if you make your own coil pack and greater your permanent magnet stators with the surplus high power jobbies available most anyplace.

I helped erect one in northern Michigan, it can generate 106 watts in the calm days from the natural constant wind going up their hill and generated almost 1.8Kw peak during a storm before it threw the belt off.

no complex wiring to couple a spinnable generator to the power coming down, dirt simple and works at only 40 feet off the ground. if you paint them white they look pretty nice and can be built in a day if you don t build the alternator yourself.

personally I am surprised there are not more of them compared to the highly complex spinning blade setup that must pivot to follow the wind.

Who cares if the more complex is more efficient, if I can build 20 of mine for the price and effort of 1 typical wind generator I'll end up ahead.

Re:Could be useful for microgrids (5, Informative)

Clueless Nick (883532) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978085)

Well, here's blowing a razberry at you, kid. Are you a votary of the oil lobby?

Land usage / kW for wind turbines is NOT too high. You only actually need half an acre/MW. The rest of the land is for wind easement, and you can carry on farming/horticulture without much interruption on it. And this is true only for Europe and N. America.

In developing countries, windy land is mostly arid, mountainous, or coastal - nothing much grows there.

Large scale wind developments are economically viable. Wind gets the minimal of governmental support, and look at how it's growing. Lots of free tools are available on the web to see it for yourself - various HAWT models, various sites around the world.

Large scale developments starting from 50 MW parks or higher can enable the manufacturer/service providers to provide efficient erection and commissioning services, on-site round-the-clock Operation and Maintenance services, SCADA operation and data communication to the investor/utility, etc.

Distributed development of wind power projects over geographically distant areas can theoretically reduce intermittency, which is the usual FUD against wind these days. Avian kills are another FUD: what is the extent of ecological damage being caused by your conventional power plants? What is the submergence being caused by hydropower?

About TFA, well, there is a huge amount of development taking place in both HAWT and VAWT technologies, with competition between generator and/or drivetrain philosophies. /. can randomly mention anything - maybe somebody is fishing for funny comments.

HAWTs have a distinct advantage of exploiting the swept area and the power law index by increasing rotor diameters (blade lengths). VAWTs may evolve into simple designs without much need for regulation - there are some that offer inbuilt speed regulation by design. They can generate at any wind speed that the supporting structure can withstand. However, I am yet to see VAWTs catching up with HAWTs having rated capacities of decade-old standards.

Some of the VAWTs of the type in TFA can be well suited for use in defence installations - I've myself suggested one design to a defence research official for distributed, arctic-condition, radar/thermal/sonic neutral generation needs at the world's highest battlefield. I don't know if they have researched it further, but they won't tell :-)

-clueless

Disclaimer: I work for a wind turbine manufacturer. However, I have stayed with them because I like the industry.

Re:Could be useful for microgrids (1)

hador_nyc (903322) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978091)

Wind power usually isn't practical or environmental for large-scale deployment (land usage/kW is too high),

Can't you put these things on farms, and make the bottom of the blades high enough off the ground so a farmer can get a combine around it? Wouldn't that make sence?

Safer to birds? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977820)

"Because it spins at wind speed, it doesn't kill birds..."

Birds don't move at wind speed. Sounds like a recipe for a collision!

Worse than that (4, Insightful)

ishmaelflood (643277) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977867)

if the downwind blade is travelling at windspeed, it is generating no force (and admittedly killing no birds who are flying with the wind, ie balloons). But, that implies that the upwind blade is travelling at twice the windspeed, relative to the wind.

So that little argument is rubbish.

Actually, the whole article is not too bad overall, we certainly see worse in real papers (eg the Guardian's coverage of that hydrogen atom fraud).

Re:Worse than that (1)

The Philosophers Cat (893500) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978006)

i think the argument goes that the birds can see this device more clearly (FTA) and therefore go around it.

a propeller turbine sometimes spins so fast that birds dont always see the blades till, its dinner time for the maggots :)

Re:Safer to birds? (2, Informative)

Rinnt (917105) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977870)

I think the idea is that it doesn't move as fast as a propeller: From TFA:

One of the primary environmental drawbacks of the propeller wind turbines is that they kill birds. The tips of the blades spin much faster than the wind speed, chopping through the air sometimes at speeds of 200 mph. The birds generally just don't see them coming.

The TMA vertical axis design flows with the wind, at the speed of the wind. "It looks like a building to the bird," said Taylor. "We've never seen a dead bird at our test site." Likely this is because birds don't normally fly into solid walls.

Re:Safer to birds? (1)

thevoice99 (881959) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977953)

This would be like taking a home fan and removing cage around the fan blades. That doesn't sound very safe. Maybe this is too simple but why not put some sort of screen or mesh around the turbines? Wind can get through the mesh and the bird might get stuck on the mesh until the wind gust dies down. I'm sure the bird would survive though.

What /is/ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13978003)

the average flight speed of an unladen sparrow?

Directionless (3, Informative)

LarsWestergren (9033) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977821)

Another obvious advantage of this design is that unlike a propeller, you don't have to turn them around when the direction of the wind changes...

A couple of years ago I talked with an engineer friend about this when we got on the subject of alternative energy. This isn't a new idea of course, variations have been used above chimneys [fluesystems.com] for a long time for instance. He told me then about the large number of advantages to this design. I don't remember if I asked him the question that pops up in my head now - why did the propeller design become the norm?

Re:Directionless (2, Informative)

gnu-generation-one (717590) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977883)

"Another obvious advantage of this design is that unlike a propeller, you don't have to turn them around when the direction of the wind changes..."

Of course, turning turbines around has been a solved problem since forever. The disadvantage of vertical turbines is that the wind is so much faster at the top than the bottom, which makes half of the turbine essentially useless.

Propeller design as the norm (3, Informative)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977884)

That is because airospace engineers are the main designers of these kind of machines. They know propellers, have all the systems to calculate what is possible with it, and through old designs of windmills (from 1400AD or even earlier) the principles pretty much stayed the same.

Re:Directionless (5, Informative)

otter42 (190544) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977906)

A lot of it has to do with materials. VAWTs suffer from two notable stresses that are inexistant on HAWTs. 1) centripital forces and 2) vibration.

1) These things spin *quickly*. Far faster than the windspeed. Now, that's not so much a problem in a propeller blade because all the mass is on the inside and the blade happens to be strongest here, too. But on a VAWT, all the mass is on the outside, meaning that there is a significant amount of energy stored as they spin round and round. This pull can quickly destroy the windmill, and apparently has caused a couple deaths (Or so I have read in the windmill forums. Caveat reader.).

2) Because of the way the VAWTs spin, the mill is subject to pulsing as the blades change their angle of attack and speed with respect to the wind. Of course, this is reduced by having more blades which are thinner, (the ideal propeller being made out of an infinite number of infinitely thin blades) but the materials have limits and it seems that 2, 3, and 4 blades are all we can reasonably do. So the pulsing motion fatigues the support and can lead to failure.

HAWTs don't suffer from these problems, although they do have other problems-- such as torque applied by gyroscopic precession, torque applied by higher windspeeds at the top of the mill than at the bottom, orientation into the wind-- but they don't seem to be as difficult to overcome as the VAWT ones.

Re:Directionless (3, Informative)

Weh (219305) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977934)

Propeller designs have the advantage that the propellor is generating power in every part of it's revolution. The blades of vertical rotors will always have a position in which they move against the wind, which causes drag or tricky aerodynamics at best. My uncle already worked on machines like these back in the 80s, the aerodynamics of these machines are not so easy I think.

For some values of "ready" (4, Insightful)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977822)

Ron Taylor of Cheyenne (windy) Wyoming is ready to take his vertical axis wind turbine into commercial production......Production prototype completion expected in 5-7 months.

Now being the old fuddy duddy I am (at the tender age of 21) I'm obviously using an old and outdated definition for "ready for commercial production." See, the definition I'm using is one where the prototyping stage is over, and these things are being made in some factory and are about to be sold to companies/people. Now obviously not being up-to-date with the latest definitions, I was quite excited when I read it was ready, only to have my hopes dashed by the end of the summary.

Why don't you call us old-timers when you actually have a commercial product?

Re:For some values of "ready" (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977877)

It isn't ready as commercial product when they've got something working and tested and ready for production, it's ready when they've got all their patents and investors lined up and locked in .. and their competitors locked out.

If you've got solid money behind you, you can usually buy the innovators when they run out of cash or their business plan fails.

Re:For some values of "ready" (2, Informative)

LaughingCoder (914424) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977938)

Actually, the term Production Prototype *usually* means the first version actually built by manufacturing (as opposed to a hand-built version by R&D) ... so this suggests to me that they are pretty far along - they actually have a manufacturing facility in place, people trained, material lists finalized, procurement contracts, etc. Of course they could just be *calling* it a production proto ...

Re:For some values of "ready" (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977957)


Actually, the term Production Prototype *usually* means the first version actually built by manufacturing


I didn't know that. But even so, it's 5 to 7 months before the production prototype is even built, and they're claiming it's ready to become commercially available NOW. It isn't ready to become commercially available now. It might be ready in 5 to 7 months, but that isn't now.

That was my beef ;)

Re:For some values of "ready" (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977964)

Bill - you need to get in touch with us immediately! Aunt Emma left you over one million dollars in her will! I can't post with my real identity right now for legal reasons, but PLEASE call me right away!

Bob

Re:For some values of "ready" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977973)

In the software world 'ready' means it is ready to be tested by the end-consumers..
And he is using THAT definition.
Sheesh... Looks like you never used any software in life. Don't you use ever use MS Windows or whatever.. The latest definition is 'Its ready when some really big guy like BG says it is'.

Re:For some values of "ready" (1)

X-ite (674345) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978014)

The production prototype is for testing the manufacturing process, not the product itself. The product itself has passed the prototype stage. Maybe you do need to rehash your definitions.

Let's get this all out of the way at once (4, Funny)

lheal (86013) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977826)

No, this guy is not full of hot air. He's not all bluster.

The technology does blow everything else away.

Yes, it will succeed, and not just in vertical markets.

It really took some gust to work on this.
----

Now I have to go back to bed in a fit of self-loathing.

Re:Let's get this all out of the way at once (1)

David Horn (772985) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977839)

I'm trying really hard not to get into a spin about all this, but it blows all the competition away.

Re:Let's get this all out of the way at once (0, Redundant)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977849)

It's a breath of fresh air in a stagnant marketplace. I'm feeling bright and breezy about its prospects. I think it should go ahead with great gusto, and hopefully it won't be long before production models are on sail.

Re:Let's get this all out of the way at once (1)

Sheridan (11610) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977897)

At last! A product mentioned on /. that doesn't suck!
--
I'm always serious, never more so than when I'm being flippant. -- Cr. Ziller

Re:Let's get this all out of the way at once (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977939)

So if someone brings Mega-Maid to market, will that be cool or not?

And does it depend on her operating mode?

Miguel De Icaza (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977828)

Mono assumes that .NET *has succeeded* and it claims to be an open source alternative to save our poor ass. But .NET will *never succeed* if it's a windows-only thing because it's supposed to be a portable runtime by definition. Therefore Mono is microsoft's backdoor in making .NET portable in the open source domain.

Novell funds Mono with millions of dollars while good projects like valgrind, qemu, mplayer, etc get 0 cash. And Novell sells CDs that contain those programs.

Think about who is you friend and if you should deliver top quality software to an industry that doesn't pay back...

Harness Hurricanes? (-1, Troll)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977834)

With the ability to generate power at winds up to 70mph, this gizmo
might even work during a hurricane! Just what we need in Florida!

Re:Harness Hurricanes? (1)

Arbin (570266) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978094)

Hmm... If you were from Florida, you would perhaps know that it is not energy production thats a problem, but rather it is the power delivery at issue. ie. electrical lines that get snapped/cut/stretched/thrown around in the midst of a hurricane.

I dont get this part.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977838)

The result is that the turbine spins just slightly faster than the wind speed -- 1/100ths faster on average, beginning with winds of about 5 miles per hour.

How does that work? Doesn't that break some sort of physics law? No really, I am asking. I have no clue.. It just seems counter intuative to me.

Re:I dont get this part.. (1)

blkros (304521) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978011)

Isn't all Physics counter-intuitive anyways?

Re:I dont get this part.. (1)

brufleth (534234) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978089)

"Regular" wind turbines spin faster than the speed of the wind so it isn't that hard to wrap your head around. They're getting effects to help. The pressure exerted by the wind on an object in its path and the lift effect (used by planes) where a fluid moving at a given velocity exerts less pressure than a fluid at a lower velocity. I believe it is also possible for those "ice-boats" that are propelled by wind power to go faster than the wind too. In this case its only a very small bit faster than wind speed. The article states 1% faster.

Re:I dont get this part.. (1)

Rigrig (922033) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978093)

The 'speed' of the turbine depends on what you measure: the edges might be going faster than the wind, while the center isn't moving at all.

Windside has something similar (for twenty years) (5, Informative)

Paul Fernhout (109597) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977859)

From: http://www.windside.com/ [windside.com]
"Windside works, when others don't, with gentle summer breeze and in a violent winter storm. It works, when others are in deep frost. Windside produces electricity at least 50 % more in a year than traditional propeller models. All the year round. Many things make it extraordinary. And therefore it gives the best value for the money."

Not sure what the differences might be. Winside apparently has been producing these vertical axis windmills for extreme environments for, they say, about twenty years. But they do seem costly. They use a helix type design for the blades, see: http://www.windside.com/products.html [windside.com]

Re:Windside has something similar (for twenty year (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977899)

That link just crashed firefox for me, careful with that link.

Re:Windside has something similar (for twenty year (-1, Offtopic)

kimmo (52756) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977986)

> Not sure what the differences might be. Winside apparently has been producing these
> vertical axis windmills for extreme environments for, they say, about twenty years.
> But they do seem costly. They use a helix type design for the blades, see:
> http://www.windside.com/products.html [windside.com]

Differences, hmm..
Windside, 1979, Risto Joutsiniemi, Finland.
Linux, 1991, Linus Torvalds, Finland.
TMA vertical axis wind turbine, 2005, USA.

The two first entries come from Finland, and two last entries are open source. Maybe they would all be open source had the concept been known in 1979.. :)

bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977863)

This is just a modified savonius rotor. Why is it that all the dorks always apply for patents and claim 40%++ efficiency improvements -- maybe because they spend all there time polishing their shit and filing patent applications.

Another fucking patent scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13978061)

I agree, with oil priced so high, these people crawl out of the woodwork to apply for worthless patents and raise funds against those patents only to create nothing of value at the end.

It's a big fat scam, there were thousand of these guys crawled out of the woodwork when OLED's appeared, then thousands more making Fuel Cells using off the shelf parts, none of them do any inventing or make any new products. It all relies on people not knowing what the state of inventions already are, and being fooled that if the patent office issues a patent on an invention, that it's a new invention.

These rotors have been around in various forms since before the second world war and the twin vertical (autotilt) blade version you can buy now off the shelf cheaply.

In Solviet Russia.... (1, Funny)

W3BMAST3R101 (904060) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977864)

In Solviet Russia.... Wind Turbines Turn You.

Lots of details (5, Informative)

otter42 (190544) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977865)

And it's all... horseshit.

What he's proposing is a Savonius windmill. A fancy aenometer. Which we already do much, much better with the Darrius approach. The maximum possible energy that we can get out of the wind is 59%. Savonius windmills are far, far less efficient, as they rely on drag, and not lift.

Of course, he claims that it works off of lift, which-- if his mill even exists in reality-- it probably does, but the fact that it only gets "a little" boost from lift means that it is almost completely drag based.

One problem that people have when visualizing a windmill is the question, "Why not do it like a paddle-wheel? Like on an old steam-boat?" Well, do you still see those old steam-boats tooling up the river and across the ocean. No? Maybe you should wondered why. It's because... surprise, surprise, it's less efficient.

Not to mention the ridiculous claims about hurricane/tornado proof design. And the centripital forces it's have to undergo at these speeds. (Real VAWTs tend to be able to spin at such high speeds that they are explosively dangerous.) And the torque exerted on the bearing coupling of a several story high building when there's 150mph of wind pressing on the top.

opensourceenergy.com seems to be nothing more than a shrewd attempt to make fun of the /. crowd, by pulling us all in to wow at the latest, greatest power generation technique that's going to revolutionize our world.

For some real information on VAWTs, check out otherpower.com. For instance, http://www.fieldlines.com/story/2005/10/7/63930/55 58 [fieldlines.com] , or http://www.windstuffnow.com/main/vawt.htm [windstuffnow.com] .

Re:Lots of details (1)

putko (753330) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977937)

So I guess you won't be lining up to invest in this great new design?!

[Just kidding. Thanks a lot for your thoughts on the new approach. It looks like you think it is more dubious than "Cold Fusion".

Negatives to Vertical WindMills (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978029)

I was reading about this company a few days ago & I dug a little deeper because the info was sketchy.

What I found (and this article leaves out) is that there are a few negatives that need to be considered.

1. To do maintanence, you have to take the entire sucker apart in order to get at the bearings.

2. Height: Wind speeds are not even across various heights. There is a serious potential for nasty stresses when the wind is going faster at the top of this turbine than at the bottom.

3. I don't remember the others, but a balanced article should talk about the good and the bad

Re:Lots of details (1, Funny)

Dracolytch (714699) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978088)

Did you say centripital force?

(Has a heart attack and falls over dead)

I'm sorry, you're using correct terminology and appear to know what you're talking about. I'm afraid I'll have to show you the door.

~D

Rotating doors to light the bulbs (2, Funny)

jurt1235 (834677) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977898)

Maybe I could adjust rotating doors in shops to this design. Than it can power the lights or something like that. With enough wind, people will get sweeped into the store by this system too.

Looks like a TurboSail to me. (2, Informative)

MajorDick (735308) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977922)

Anyone Remeber the Cousteau Turbo Sail, same principal.

Everything old is new again ? or just a case of two people reaching the same conclusion through trial and error.

Note to critics and skeptics (2, Interesting)

danharan (714822) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977924)

If not this particular company and technology, the prices they are giving are in line with most analysts' expectations.

Like a lot of other technologies, this one is going down in price in a predictable way. Check out the wind energy data [earth-policy.org] at earth-policy.org, especially that last figure.

The sector has recently been experiencing Hockey-stick growth [worldchanging.com] in investment. It's pretty much inevitable that this is going to be cheaper than coal- and likely cheap enough to make hydrogen for when wind is low. Cheap, guaranteed price, non-polluting.

Judging from nuclear's track record, it won't come close to wind. These turbines might not be the ones to put nuclear out of its misery- but wind certainly will play a large part (don't discount solar just quite yet).

Re:Note to critics and skeptics (2, Insightful)

tgd (2822) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978032)

I remember a time when stores that sold pet supplies online, and stores that delivered what you ordered online in an orange sack within an hour were experiencing hockey stick growth.

So your point is?

Re:Note to critics and skeptics (2, Insightful)

hotdiggitydawg (881316) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978109)

For the sake of argument, let's believe the hype just for a moment. From TFA: ...the approximate sixty claims between the two U.S. patents awarded and a third pending, and numerous international patents secured as well. "Our patent attorney is very pleased with how broad our patent protection is," Taylor said.

If the design is so revolutionary, more financially viable than conventional power, and better for the environment, then no doubt they'll make a killing financially whether they patent it or not, as they're the experts and have the lead on manufacturing it. Why bury it under years worth of patent protection, instead of releasing it to all and saving the planet?

Not new (1)

ccozan (754085) | more than 8 years ago | (#13977941)

I remember seeing this design, with 3 pales, on a smaller scale, maybe 30cmx30cm, on top of frigo-wagons. When the train moves with high speed, the rotor will turn, thus generating power for keeping the wagon cool. I think they were backuped by batteries, or so.

Can someone confirm this, as it's more that 20 years since i've seen such wagons moving around ;)

This is offtopic, but ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13978009)

... are you german?

Re:Not new (1)

SomPost (873537) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978024)

I remember seeing devices like the ones you mention on tram carriages. However, they were used to ventillate them, and not for driving generators. When rotating the rotor "sucks" air through holes around the axle like a rotary pump [wikipedia.org] of similar design

Been there, done that (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13977982)

The National Research Council of Canada did a lot of work on Vertical Wind Turbines in the 'seventies. They even built some quite large turbines. It didn't work for a variety of reasons none of which seemed to be dealt with in tfa (but IANAAE). The following is an attempt at the one google hit that I found for "National Research Council" Canada "vertical wind turbine":

http://www.control.auc.dk/~zinck/papers/SoA%20WT%2 0control/other/Progress%20and%20recent%20trends%20 in%20wind%20energy.pdf [control.auc.dk]

Betz's law and effeciency - (4, Informative)

Starker_Kull (896770) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978010)

This link is the nicest derivation I have seen online of Betz's law regarding the maximum effiency (16/27 ~= 59%) of any non-compressible mass flow capture device. At least the article doesn't claim to exceed it (40%, I think). But as for high drag-devices getting a better effeciency than a variable-pitch propeller? That sounds pretty suspicious.

http://www.windpower.org/en/stat/betzpro.htm [windpower.org]

On the other hand, if it can endure much higher winds than a prop installation, its OVERALL effeciency might be higher, because the energy in a mass flow is proportional to the cube of the wind-speed; so the 1% high wind speed tail of the distribution contributes a large portion of the total energy captured by the turbine. Of course, having a bit more REAL info would be helpful in determining if this is just slick FUD or something real. And when significant data is not mentioned, it does make one tend to think there is something to hide.

Vacuum doesn't pull. (2, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978028)

This design does not create "pull" on the leeward side. There is no such thing as a negative aerodynamic force.

-jcr

Flawed (4, Interesting)

wasteur (889134) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978036)

The energy you can take from the wind is proportional to the area of the device, and the cube of the wind speed. Three-bladed wind turbines are tall and big because wind is faster higher up, and so they can sweep a huge area. A three blade arrangement is aerodynamically optimal, getting closest to the Betz limit of about 59% (not 20-30% or whatever the web page said).

Also, bird death is about 1 per turbine per year for current technology. This is about 9 orders of magnitude less than bird death from buildings/vehicles/airplanes etc., and that's not considering the enviornmental consequences on bird life of NOT using renewable sources...

Dumpy little vertical axis machines may have limited uses in isolated installation, and for revolving advertising, but they are not practical for large scale generation. The rotor of a modern 5MW wind turbine is about the same size as an athletics track. Imagine how big this vertical axis machine would have to be to match the wind capture of this. If the alternative is to have many small devices, there would be a very large number indeed: this carries costs of electrical interconnection, massive maintenance overhead from trillions of puny alternators and gearboxes, all of which was probably ignored in arriving at the 2.5 cents per kWh.

The only way to make money with this turbine is to be the poor guy's patent attourney.

no more "Open Source Energy" (2, Insightful)

dr. graefy (802665) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978050)

I would like to call a halt to posting links from Open Source Energy. The site is run by crackpots and kooks who espouse completely insane ideas that have absolutely no basis in reality. It takes about 5 minutes of browsing for any reasonable person to determine this. Promoting this site is bad for slashdot. I do not joke when I say that posting links to this site is no better than posting links to some "intelligent" design site about new theories of evolution.

Re:no more "Open Source Energy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13978078)

Sounds perfectly suited for slashdot.

how about wind powered.... clockwork! (1)

cyclomedia (882859) | more than 8 years ago | (#13978076)

a lot of electricity is used to power motors... e.g. the motor in your refrigerator.. so how about someone works out a clever way to use a rotating thingy (wind turbine or stirling engine) to wind a clockwork spring (or succession of, that wind each other) so that the mechanical rotational energy can be directly converted into ... mechanical rotational evergy !

or how about the fact that you might be using a WIND turbine to power the FAN in your air conditioning unit...

cue: lots of ducting, cogs, axles and grease. heh

sod it, i'm just gonna buy an old school windmill http://www.windmillworld.com/mills/forsale.htm [windmillworld.com]
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