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Old 07-01-2009, 07:22 PM   #41
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If the TRUE costs were factored, the personal windmill might be a worthy challenger.

1) The cost of oil, including troop deployment.
2) The cost of the copper wire running to your house (assuming off-the-grid).
3) The cost of OPIC insurance.
4) The cost of illnesses from coal plants.
5) The cost of CO2 emissions.
etc., etc.

Until we know these, we can only take the guaranteed route -- use less, and the list clifp posted.


A PhD candidate in California examined all of these issues for transportation. It's an interesting study but not too surprising. An SUV is better than an empty bus.

"Life-cycle Environmental Inventory of Passenger Transportation in the United States"
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:10 PM   #42
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A PhD candidate in California examined all of these issues for transportation. It's an interesting study but not too surprising. An SUV is better than an empty bus.

"Life-cycle Environmental Inventory of Passenger Transportation in the United States"
More California taxpayer dollars being put to good use on important research tasks??
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:25 PM   #43
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If the TRUE costs were factored, the personal windmill might be a worthy challenger.

1) The cost of oil, including troop deployment.
2) The cost of the copper wire running to your house (assuming off-the-grid).
3) The cost of OPIC insurance.
4) The cost of illnesses from coal plants.
5) The cost of CO2 emissions.
etc., etc.

Until we know these, we can only take the guaranteed route -- use less, and the list clifp posted.


"
I don't know about the rest of your list but lets look at the cost associated with the two biggest. Lets say you allocate every single dollar the US spends on Defense $515 billion and divided by every drop of oil (20.8 million barrels/day * 365) =7.6 billion barrels. The defense tax works out to be less than $68 per barrel.

The worse, recent study of coal plants deaths (fund by an environmental group) was no higher than 22,000/year,most estimate where a fraction of that. If we value these at $8 million per death as the EPA does that is another $176 billion. (If you gave $176 Billion to the Gates foundation they could save a million lives easily).

There is about 2 trillion KWH of coal electricity generated each year. So add about $.09 KWH due to pollution deaths and illness.


The problem is virtually no renewable energy is currently competitive with oil less than $100-150 barrel without government subsidies. The personal windmill maybe price competitive when oil hits $300+ a barrel.
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Old 07-01-2009, 08:46 PM   #44
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The problem is virtually no renewable energy is currently competitive with oil less than $100-150 barrel without government subsidies. The personal windmill maybe price competitive when oil hits $300+ a barrel.
And don't forget that as the price of oil increases, the cost of producing those windmills will increase. There won't be cheap oil to fuel the mines, smelters, transportation of materials and just about every process step involved. It's not one-for-one, but it ain't nothin' either.

I recall people talking about the price of lettuce going up due to the price of oil, and lettuce isn't made of oil. It definitely has an effect.

edit/add - but I do agree with eradanus's premise - the true cost of oil, coal etc not included in it's price.

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Old 07-01-2009, 09:43 PM   #45
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If the TRUE costs were factored, the personal windmill might be a worthy challenger.
How? Even leaving out the whole issue of comparing wind power to oil/coal, this little whirlygig is not a "worthy challenger" to a larger windpower setup (better use of materials, better siting, taller masts, far lower cost per installed watt). It's might be a good partial power source for a windy off-the-grid location. That's a niche market-- probably more demand than for micro-hydro installations, but far less than for solar (PV). We can't really know just how bad this idea is until they come up with one set of performance stats.
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:36 AM   #46
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How I built an electricity producing wind turbine

[that is not my web site]
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:10 AM   #47
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[that is not my web site]
Did you put this disclaimer in due to the "Click on a lady to learn how to meet her" ads?
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:02 PM   #48
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I spent several minutes on that site before I figured out the guy did all that to recharge batteries for his laptop and such. I thought he was going to power up an AC for his trailer.
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:24 PM   #49
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If you don't want to fool around with these puny things, eBay has this refurbished 40KW windmill with its own 60ft tower for $45K. The blades are 17ft long! Why fool around?

PS. I wonder why they were disassembled, refurbished and sold? On the drive to LA from Phoenix the last 35 years, I have been driving by the thousands of windmills near Palm Springs. Every time, I saw many (>25%) not turning even in the fairly strong winds. It appears that they require quite a bit of maintenance, and the operator couldn't keep up.


40KW Wind Turbine Generator Refurbished with Tower - eBay (item 160345874989 end time Jul-11-09 07:19:28 PDT)
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:50 PM   #50
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I spent several minutes on that site before I figured out the guy did all that to recharge batteries for his laptop and such. I thought he was going to power up an AC for his trailer.
I don't know if he ever got around to figuring out how much power it actually delivered, I ended up skimming some of it. Interesting though.

Once you are talking about power away from the grid, economics and efficiency isn't that big a deal, he just wanted some power (I wonder how that thing compared to solar cells and a battery?).

This whole thread got me thinking again about a crazy idea I had - I've got six solar marker LED-lamps up to about 100' from "the grid". I didn't want to run power out there, got the cheap variety and they work OK. But a few overcast days in winter, with long nights, short days, and some trees now blocking one, they sometimes don't go very long into the night. So I was thinking about the cheapest possible wind powered device to just get a little extra juice into those things. I thought about little propellers, turbine blades and such, and figured they would get jammed with leaves, snow, ice, etc. Then I started thinking, what about a little pendulum like a wind chime rod? Those blow back/forth in a light breeze. Put a magnet on it, have a coil of wire around the magnet (that could be under a little shroud to keep the elements out)... I wonder if I could get enough current out of that slow swinging movement to charge the AA NiMH batteries in there?

My guess would be.... NO! But I should experiment someday.

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Old 07-02-2009, 05:14 PM   #51
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So I was thinking about the cheapest possible wind powered device to just get a little extra juice into those things.
The magnet on a pendulum might work, but I don't think this would produce much juice (and in perfectly steady wind it would, theoretically, produce zero power). For cheap, simple, reliable results maybe a small savonious rotor would do the trick--it works regardless of the wind direction, there's no need for a mechanism to keep the thing turned into the wind(one less movinmg part) , and being drag-style devices they are tough to overspeed (they never turn faster than the wind speed). There's no critical airfoil shape, so they continue to work in ice as long as the bearing isn't actually frozen up. They aren't very efficient, but they are reliable.
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Old 07-02-2009, 06:39 PM   #52
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For LED lawn lights, how about using one of these lawn decorative windmills and add your own little generator? It will provide endless hours of tinkering for an ER'ed guy with time on hand, and if it does not work, well you still have a lawn ornament.

- Harbor Freight Tools - Quality Tools at the Lowest Prices

It may even lead one to build a larger one for real! On the Web, there are guys building their own conventional wind generator from scratch, i.e. carving the blades from wood stock, using a car frontwheel hub/bearing to mount the blades, and even making their own generator from strong magnets and hand-wound coils. These are big, with rotor diameter greater than 15 ft and mounted on mast up to 60ft high, generating several KWs.

I spent quite a bit of time on these Web sites, then decided that if I wanted to make my own power, solar cells would be cleaner and less maintenance due to no moving parts. PV panels would also be better for my AZ location, where it is sunny most of the time, even in the winter.

The price of solar cells has dropped from $5/Watt down to $3 something. It may not be cost effective, but would keep me busy and self-entertained.

Even so, before I looked into generating electricity, a solar air heater for warmth - to supplement my large south-facing windows - would be something I tackle first. Solar air heaters have the lowest cost and are the most efficient. Duh! Sun ray to heat? All one needs is a black surface.
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