Wind Power gets a facelift

June 11, 2008 at 9:26 pm 1 comment

Solar power usually gets all of the headlines but there have been several stories lately showcasing the advances in wind power technology.

The most spectacular is the giant wind farm being created in Texas, land of all things large…. First publicized over a year ago T. Boone Pickens of oil fame proposed a 200,000 acre wind farm that cover s parts of 4 counties and could generate enough power for 1 million homes. Well on May 20, 2008 the company Mr. Pickens founded for this endeavor, Mesa Power placed an order for the first phase of 2 billion dollars worth of wind turbines from GE. The initial order is for 667 1.5 megawatt turbines.

Full Story at Ecogeek.org: http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1656/1/

Several other recent stories concern making the wind turbines smaller, better looking and more accessible to the average homeowner. One product is the Small Wind turbine being marketed by Quiet Revolution (http://www.quietrevolution.co.uk/). Another is the trend toward making these smaller turbines architecturally compatible with the building. (http://www.ecogeek.org/content/view/1747/86/)

The next item I found was one mention in Popular Science Magazine (http://www.popsci.com/scitech/article/2008-05/ten-times-turbine) This is where an inventor went against the common wisdom where a bigger rotor is better and instead he has figured out how to use a lot of smaller rotors to generate more power. The design is a little scary looking to me as it is this line of madly spinning rotors on a cable supported on one end by a balloon.

Lastly we have 2 concepts to talk about. The first by Magenn Power Inc. (http://www.magenn.com/)

This is the Magenn Air Rotor System (MARS) and it is a tethered balloon structure. Excerpt for the company web site: “MARS is a lighter-than-air tethered wind turbine that rotates about a horizontal axis in response to wind, generating electrical energy. This electrical energy is transferred down the 1000-foot tether for immediate use, or to a set of batteries for later use, or to the power grid. Helium sustains MARS and allows it to ascend to a higher altitude than traditional wind turbines. MARS captures the energy available in the 600 to 1000-foot low level and nocturnal jet streams that exist almost everywhere. MARS rotation also generates the “Magnus effect” which provides additional lift, keeps the MARS stabilized, and positions it within a very controlled and restricted location to adhere to FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) & Transport Canada guidelines.”

Very interesting concept which would allow power generation in remote areas with small amounts of infrastructure. Lastly there is the MAGLEV, a magnetically levitated wind turbine. In the story via Inhabitat.com (http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/11/26/super-powered-magnetic-wind-turbine-maglev/) this device is supposed to power 750,000 homes and the pictures scale it as a very large device. I am somewhat skeptical that there will be a consistent market for such large devices. However I have been surprised before.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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Entry filed under: Technology, wind power. Tags: , .

Solar, Solar everywhere….. Conferences for Facility Professionals

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Russ  |  June 28, 2009 at 10:35 am

    MARS is a great idea. But wouldn’t the wind tend to blow the balloon sidewise and off the vertical position of the tether?
    I think this could be solved by mooring the ballon at three points spread as wide apart as possible.

    Regards Russ

    Reply

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