Friday, August 27, 2004

Low Speed Wind Turbines

"Energy increases by the cube," says Andy Kruse quoted in the Oakland Tribune, vice president of Southwest Windpower. "If you double the wind speed, you get eight times the energy."

One way to generate more electricity in low wind speeds is to use larger blades. Southwest makes wind turbines that can be equipped with 7-foot or 10-foot diameter blades.

Southwest also is working on lighter, cheaper fiberglass blades with foam cores, he said.

Jim Dehlsen, co-founder of Clipper Windpower Inc., said his company has developed a massive 2.5 megawatt wind turbine with a custom-designed gearbox that's suitable for areas with lower wind speeds. The turbine uses a blade with a 305-foot diameter. That means the blade turns more slowly than those on smaller wind turbines, but also generates more torque.

Clipper's custom-designed gear boxes distribute the power from a wind turbine's blades to eight different generators. That helps the company's turbines generate more electricity even in varying wind speeds, and operate for 30 years instead of the 20-year industry standard, Dehlsen said.


Blogger Derek said...

State of the art for gear boxes is 98.5% efficient. Any guess what happens to the other 1.5% of 2.5 MW? That's right: Heat. 37.5KW of heat. That's like 30 space heaters at full power hitting you in the face. Gives a real hard time to bearings, lubricating oils, seals, or just about anything in the neighborhood. 30 year lifespan? Lets check this up, in say, about 21 years. Sigh.

Southwest wind power is actually in my backyard (Flagstaff), nice group of guys over there. They're making a difference, but nobody's making any serious money doing it which is a same, because you just can't make the same kinds of technological advances of the big boys where you're science staff is filled with summer interns.

12:30 am, September 02, 2004  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hear you, buddy. Wind Power is more difficult, mechanically speaking, than it looks.

But being undeveloped means that opportunities are still there for whoever can crack this or that problem. And plenty of backyard inventors have had good ideas.

Perhaps instead of relying on interns to do their research along set lines, Southwest would get more bang for their buck by looking for new ideas in wind power and helping develop them.

5:00 am, March 25, 2006  

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