Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Personal Windmill, anyone seen this?
Old 06-30-2009, 04:09 PM   #1
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Bimmerbill's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,631
Personal Windmill, anyone seen this?

Looks pretty cool!

Personal Windmill

I like how it turns even with a small kitchen fan pointed at it.
__________________

__________________
Bimmerbill is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 06-30-2009, 04:49 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
bbbamI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dallas 'burb
Posts: 9,039
I like it! I do wonder what code enforcement would say though....
__________________

__________________
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
bbbamI is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 04:58 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rambler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,250
cool, I gotta get me one of these...even if just for the cool factor,

R
__________________
Find Joy in the Journey...
Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 05:06 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Four words:
Neighbors
Pitchforks
Kids
Slingshots
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 05:12 PM   #5
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,531
Looks like it will cost ~$3000 uninstalled after the fed tax credit and save around $200/yr with 10 cent per kWh electricity. 6% return on investment. Depending on state or utilities credits, it could have a rather short payback period. Maybe with cap and trade we will see $.20 or $0.30 kWh electricity to make this sucker pay back quickly.
__________________
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 05:16 PM   #6
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rambler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,250
Quote:
Originally Posted by samclem View Post
Four words:
Neighbors
Pitchforks
Kids
Slingshots
One word:

SHOTGUN

R
__________________
Find Joy in the Journey...
Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 05:17 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,288
From that "energy savings w/o the hot air" thread ref:

Bad: Roof-mounted micro-wind turbines are another waste of re-
sources. They never pay for themselves.


$4,500 to generate 2000KW a year? That costs me $200. $4500/200 = 22.5 years, not counting the cost of the money (you are only getting 4.4% return), and not counting maintenance, (installation?).

Oh yeah, there are subsidies - what's the rate of return for the taxpayer who pays for his neighbor's windmill? Argggghhhh!

The next argument I often hear is "but, it saves energy!! That is good!!!". Oh yeah? How much of that $4,500 represents the cost of energy to make the darn thing? Iron, copper, etc has to be processed - that takes energy. I bet it's is a net energy drain, just based on the poor economics.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 05:33 PM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
ls99's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,792
I love the specific performance information provided Like watts per mph of wind speed. Or current output at x mph wind. Oh you did not see it either?

Yeah it turns with a kitchen fan blowing on it, did not say how much load was on the generator.

Other that a great product. Put a couple of mickey mouse ears on it then paint the face.

We should be seeing tons of these new energy products that are designed to make a buck for MFG as long as there are gummint subsidies.

It does look neat though.
__________________
There must be moderation in everything, including moderation.
ls99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 06:26 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Leonidas's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Where the stars at night are big and bright
Posts: 2,847
He says something along the lines of the turbine can produce 15% of the average home's electricity needs, but nothing about what kind of sustained wind is needed to produce that in 24 hours.

I think there are good reasons why the folks building all the wind farms in Texas are trucking them out past Fort Stockton to the West and up on top of the Llano Estacado up North. That's where the wind blows steadily and reliably, but even there sometimes it just doesn't blow at all.

I think this thing is just Green Snake oil.
__________________
There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it. - Andrew Jackson
Leonidas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 06:45 PM   #10
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Brat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Portland, Oregon
Posts: 5,914
That could be a real eyesore in a suburban neighborhood but in rural areas where neighbors aren't an issue it could be really useful.
__________________
Duck bjorn.
Brat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 07:18 PM   #11
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
I surfed a little for a site with more specifics on the engineering/energy production of this thing, but I didn't have much luck. I'd be interested to know how it stays pointed into the breeze (a tail assembly) and how it prevents overspeeding in strong winds (most of these designs automatically use the tail to turn the face of the turbine out of the breeze in case of strong winds, but I suppose it would be possible to feather the vanes, too). It would have to have a very low-friction mount to allow it to be turned into the breeze at the very low wind speeds they claim to be able to utilize.
With my luck mine would spend it's whole life pointed backward, sucking 'trons out of the grid and doubling my energy bill.

I think the vertical axis wind turbines are a lot less of an eyesore.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 07:39 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
NW-Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 19,438
The maker of this is Earthtronics. They only license the Honeywell tradename for publicity. I went to the following link, and found several pdf files with a bit more info on this design. Still a bit skimpy on real technical data, but a bit more description to help us guessing how it works.

Introducing the Honeywell Wind Turbine from EarthTronics
*What happens in high winds?
All functions of the HTW are controlled by a computerized Smart Box connected
to an anemometer, constantly reading wind speed and direction. The HWT Smart Box
interacts with the turbine’s motor, optimizing the turbines’ positioning, maximizing wind
capture (up to 40mph) and turning into the wind, when exceeding 40mph.

The HWT is rigorously tested and certified to all safety stress and electrical standards.
HTW will unveil another first in our industry: declaring energy output levels in low wind
speeds, not something the competition wants to talk about.

My 2nd home in the high country of AZ does not have steady wind, but frequent strong gusts up to 60+mph (I think), enough to peel shingles or metal roofs off houses. I doubt if this system would react fast enough to such gusts, which were enough to blow my patio furniture and heavy sisal door mats off the deck!

That said, I can see this gizmo being useful in remote areas of CO, AZ, and NM where people may not have access to the electric grid. Couple this with some solar panels, and you can live in solitude like Robinson Crusoe, yet can still surf the Web and post in this forum via satellite Internet.
__________________
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leon Trotsky
NW-Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 09:06 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,288
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bimmerbill View Post
Looks pretty cool!

I like how it turns even with a small kitchen fan pointed at it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbamI View Post
I like it! ....
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rambler View Post
cool, I gotta get me one of these...
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brat View Post
... it could be really useful.
OK, please help me out here. I'm not trying to be contrary, or trolling or anything, I'm trying to understand why so many people are "smitten" with a presentation like this.

The thing isn't cost effective for 99.99% of the US population (it might be if you choose to live far from the grid). So no, it isn't useful, and what makes it cool? It most likely consumes more energy in its production than it ever produces, why is that "cool"?

It's important, because our representatives respond to people saying "Wow, cool - there should be subsidies to promote this!", but that is a waste.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ls99 View Post
Yeah it turns with a kitchen fan blowing on it, did not say how much load was on the generator.

.... designed to make a buck for MFG as long as there are gummint subsidies.
Exactly - the interviewer is soooo impressed that a kitchen fan makes it turn - but that means nothing, nada, zip. But let's jump up and down.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leonidas View Post
I think this thing is just Green Snake oil.
If that is all it was, I would not be so concerned. If someone wants to buy one, fine - go ahead, it's a free country, caveat emptor, etc, . But this snake oil qualifies for govt subsidies, so *I'm* paying for snake oil. Gets me mad. Listen to the clip - the State with the 100% subsidy? Are you ready? It's that State that has so much money that it is ready to shut down because they can't pay their bills - that's right, the Great State of California.

So, why in the world is CA paying using taxpayers $ to fully funds something with such a poor return? Don't they have better uses for their money (well no, they are using their money to buy votes - good enough reason for them, poor reason for the public though)?

It stinks. Wake up people - if we want to save energy we gotta be smart about it, not jump on some silly presentation with one fan moving another fan. [/rant].

see the documents linked in this thread:

Sustainable Energy without the Hot Air- Great Read



-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 09:16 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 11,615
Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
Gets me mad.
You think this is maddening now--just wait until the federal gummint bails out CA with our money.
__________________
"Freedom begins when you tell Mrs. Grundy to go fly a kite." - R. Heinlein
samclem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 09:37 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
bbbamI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Dallas 'burb
Posts: 9,039
Hang on ERD50... I said I liked it..I'm not smitten. I didn't dissect it, research it, calculate it, or look at tax ramifications and I haven't signed up for it.

I just like the idea of getting power from nature.

I'll bow out now as I don't want anyone else to pop a cork....
__________________
There's no need to complicate, our time is short..
bbbamI is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 09:47 PM   #16
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Northern IL
Posts: 18,288
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbbamI View Post
Hang on ERD50... I said I liked it..I'm not smitten. I didn't dissect it, research it, calculate it, or look at tax ramifications and I haven't signed up for it.

I just like the idea of getting power from nature.

I'll bow out now as I don't want anyone else to pop a cork....
Sorry, I was maybe extrapolating those early responses to the general public and media, which does seem "smitten" with anything that appears to be "green". I just saw so many, "cool, I want one" responses in the first batch, it just gets me to thinking and wondering what other people are thinking.

I get excited like that when they trot out an electric car and say "look everyone, it is a Zero Pollution vehicle!". When I see an electric car, I see the coal plant and strip mines that produce the power to "fuel it".

So, more calmly this time - why do people say they "like it", if they have not analyzed it? You really are not "getting the power from nature" - it takes energy to make one of those things. And with such a poor payback, it is likely using more energy than it sucks out of the wind.

I guess I would just encourage people to analyze it first, and then decide if it is likable or not.

-ERD50
__________________
ERD50 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 10:03 PM   #17
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 542
Skystream 3.7 Compact Wind Turbine and Wind Energy System

I looked at this one. Found a site that I could enter my address and get wind info. Would produce about 65% of my monthly need on average. Local co-op was paying 1/2 of the turbine costs. With tax credit It was about $7500 total in my area. I really wanted some of this PORK spending for myself. Researched the HOA issue and the county zoning. Got the preliminary this would work. Break even was 8-9 yrs.

Owner came out to do a site visit and said no way he would install. He figured the other neighbors on the golf course would have a fit. He said it was too noisy for where I live. I figured I could put up with the negative externality if I was saying 65% of my bill. Besides I really am not interested in being friends with the neighbors anyway and just think how I would be helping the neighborhood cats with the birds



Tomcat98
__________________
JDARNELL is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 11:05 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Rambler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,250
ERD50

I like it because:

-I have always had a fascination with solar and wind power (I have solar installed)
-I have a big back yard (2 acres) with nice mild wind for most of the year
-my wind may not be strong enough to power the Skystream 3.7 which I have been considering
-the startup speed and generation speed of this device are much lower than anything else (granted I still need to look into more specifics)
-I have a backup power system supplied by solar, which would be more reliable with a wind addition
-acquiring something like this would probably promote research into future developments which would be even better, reducing the need for subsidies...again in the future.

NOTES: I do believe in sustainability. I do believe we have responsibility to future generations. That said, I am definitely NOT what I would consider a tree hugger (there is little that p'sses me off worse than tree huggers in their Hummers and private jets, complaining about all the energy the little guy uses while they are off jetting around...if ya wanna be a tree hugger, walk or ride a bicycle).

Also note that with the installation of this device or one like it, you are reducing your electric bill by the marginal rate, not the starting rate. Solar takes care of all of my power right now, since I am not there most of the time. However, our base rate is somewhere around 13 cents an hour, but the highest marginal rate, which most folks around here achieve is more like 26 cents. If they shaved off the top 15% of their electric usage, it would shave off perhaps as much as 25-30% of the bill, depending on where the marginal rates start and end in the individual area.

So, I would ask, if you are so against this device as step (though small) in the right direction, what alternatives do you offer? (I did not go back to the thread you referenced, I will when I get a chance...).

R
__________________
Find Joy in the Journey...
Rambler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 11:16 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Leonidas's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Where the stars at night are big and bright
Posts: 2,847
Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
If that is all it was, I would not be so concerned. If someone wants to buy one, fine - go ahead, it's a free country, caveat emptor, etc, . But this snake oil qualifies for govt subsidies, so *I'm* paying for snake oil. Gets me mad. Listen to the clip - the State with the 100% subsidy? Are you ready? It's that State that has so much money that it is ready to shut down because they can't pay their bills - that's right, the Great State of California.
I wasn't even thinking along those lines at the time, but you're absolutely right. Some politician bows to pressure from misinformed environmentalists, writes a misinformed law giving credits for the wrong stuff, and then the hucksters swoop in selling snake oil and take advantage. It's not the first time.

Low Tech Magazine likes to poke holes in tech myths and misconceptions with facts:
Quote:
The fundamental problem of urban windmills is that they harvest electricity from an inferior energy source. On a rooftop in a built-up environment, wind speed is low and freakish. And while you can think of a thousand ways to change the design of an urban windmill, it is impossible to change the wind itself...However, if you combine these figures with the rotor diameter, it becomes clear that the concept of small windmills is fundamentally flawed. The turbines that score best, are simply the largest ones...Wind power rules, but small windmills are a swindle. Bigger is, in this case, better...According to a recent report by the UK Carbon Trust, windmills in urban environments will almost always have an energy payback of more than 20 years. In other words: small windmills in cities will never deliver as much energy as was needed to manufacture and install them. Installing an urban windmill will actually harm the environment.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ERD50 View Post
I get excited like that when they trot out an electric car and say "look everyone, it is a Zero Pollution vehicle!". When I see an electric car, I see the coal plant and strip mines that produce the power to "fuel it".
Fuel cells is another example. They're expensive to make and producing hydrogen creates more emissions than gasoline fueled cars.
__________________
There is no pleasure in having nothing to do; the fun is having lots to do and not doing it. - Andrew Jackson
Leonidas is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-30-2009, 11:22 PM   #20
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
NW-Bound's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 19,438
Politics aside, I wonder how this thing works...

From some close-up photos and the descriptions on the maker's Web site, I figure the basic design is the following. The turbine blade tips are joined to a ring. This ring rotates inside the prominent shroud that we see. Mounted on the ring are permanent magnets, which move past fixed coils mounted on the shroud. Motion of the magnets past the coils induce a voltage on the latter.

At low speeds, the only drag on the rotor is its center hub bearing. Hence, the turbine can spin with very low wind speeds. At higher speeds, as one extracts power from the coils, the induced currents in the latter produce a magnetic field that acts as a drag force to slow the rotor down (How does one extract energy from a moving object without slowing it down?). At very low speeds, there is no power produced however, and the turbine can move very freely with little wind.

Compared this to the conventional air generator that requires 7mph wind to startup due to friction of the gear and the generator, this new design probably can generate power with winds of only a few mph. It also has a lot more blades than the traditional 2 or 3-blade design of small wind generators of this size. This obviously enhances its ability to produce power at low speeds. But where is the windspeed-to-power chart or curve?

I have a few questions to ponder. First, how tight a magnetic coupling can they have between the magnets and the coils? It seems to me it is difficult to make it as strong as the magnetic coupling between the field coils and the armature of the conventional rotary motor/generator. This may limit the efficiency in converting mechanical power to electrical power at higher wind speeds.

Secondly, if my hypothesis is correct of the mechanical design of the rotor, this turbine has a much higher moment of inertia than the conventional wind generator. At high winds, the typical generator is designed to "side-furl" to the wind. This turbine uses an active control system to turn it sideways to the wind. I wonder how fast it can be turned to respond to wind gusts.

Anyway, for a time, I did entertain the idea of living off the grid in my 2nd home. So, I looked into something like this. It is about the same as the Skystream posted by Tomcat.

Whisper 500 Wind Turbine - Southwest Windpower

This Whisper 500 with a 15ft diameter rotor produces 538 kWh/mo at 12 mph. That's $1000/yr at $0.15/KWh. At 24 mph, it generates 3KW, or 26280KWh/yr, or $3900/yr. At the cost of $7K, the payback is short and sweet at only 2 years. Of course, I would need to use all that power, or have access to a grid so I can pump it in and get paid for it.

Now, where can I find a place with 24mph wind 24hr/day? Well, you would not want to live on such wuthering heights. So, that wind must be at some height above the ground, hence these generators are usually mounted on poles. Depending on the location, location, and location, I believe these things can work and be economically feasible if mounted high in the wind. I have reservations about the low-speed turbine, however.
__________________

__________________
"Old age is the most unexpected of all things that can happen to a man" -- Leon Trotsky
NW-Bound is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
My own personal depression old woman FIRE and Money 52 09-23-2008 10:42 PM
Looking for windmill plays.... Art G Stock Picking and Market Strategy 16 08-06-2008 01:03 PM
Personal Milestone !! David1961 FIRE and Money 25 10-04-2007 08:28 PM
Personal FIREcalc rigel FIRE and Money 0 03-13-2007 06:43 PM
Personal Umbrella versus Personal Excess Liability policies ? Linney FIRE and Money 25 11-28-2006 08:06 PM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 06:24 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.