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Windmills general

Windmills, a good idea?

(Click to enlarge photo)

I have already explained why large, heavy, expensive, inefficient windmills should not be connected to the grid (Nuclear, Fracking and windmills) and why they are mostly a self-defeating technology! When the output is used for the benefit of the local community or a local commercial enterprise I can just about see some point but, for the rest, they are the wrong technology, motivated by misguided political objectives, with no chance of achieving the aims claimed for them, where only a minority of very wealthy people appear to be the beneficiaries! It doesn't have to be this way and I am convinced there is a place for the correct design of wind machine.

Without getting to involved with the technical aspects of the design of windmills there are a few points that should be made that are unlikely to be reported in the media, possibly because it might spoil the myth! Whether that is ignorance, deliberate or conspiratorial I really have no idea. First of all, to claim that windmills must be high to take advantage of greater wind-speeds is nonsense if the inherent design means they must turn out of wind and waste the very energy they were put there to capture? Particularly as it is the height and size of windmills that appears to upset people the most. It would be much cheaper and more efficient to make smaller windmills that can cope and can run all of the time instead. Next, what is the point of a windmill that can produce more energy than can be used when it is windy but nothing when there is no wind? A windmill without a storage system that requires the user to burn traditional fuels when it is not windy is about as much use as a one-wheeled car! A small windmill with a large energy storage system is worth far more than a big windmill without. Next, why are we so blinkered into thinking that a windmill can only produce electricity and must go round and round? In many situations the expensive gearbox, generator and complicated power conversion equipment could all be discarded in favour of a simple hydraulic heat-producing system at a fraction of the cost, and there are also much cheaper alternatives to high-tech rotary turbine blades too. Heat, by the way, is much cheaper and easier to store than electricity, and a hydraulic system is hugely more efficient at taking energy from the wind as the power ratio between them remains in step, unlike electricity. Heat production doesn't tie you to rotary motion either.

When I first started experimenting with windmills I thought it would all be very simple and I would have free power in a jiffy! I have since discovered that I can have free energy but it is a lot more difficult than it first seemed. Sure, it's easy to put up a windmill and see it go around but, to keep one going for a period of five years and able to cope with the worst of the weather without repair or maintenance, that's a much more difficult proposition. I can now claim to have done that and, above all else, it has convinced me that a group of small windmills (low down and painted the same colour as trees) win over one large windmill in just about every important consideration. For that reason, I am only interested in the development of smaller wind machines and all of my experiments have been aimed towards finding the best possible solution.

One last point. You will see much information about highly detailed analysis of the efficiency of a particular design of windmill, usually the main concern appears to be what percentage of energy can be extracted from the wind compared with the total available at the propeller. I understand the preoccupation with this and, obviously, we want our machines to be as good as possible but, a more realistic calculation is the cost per Watt. After all, this is what actually determines the price you are paying for the energy.


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