For more than a hundred years, wind turbines have been converting the prevailing winds into electrical energy, by, like helicopters, “beating the air into submission.” Aside from the noise pollution and slaughter of a significant portion of our migratory bird population, they have become ever-larger and more destructive than creative.
Consider a new, innovative technology that rather than beat the air, merely redirects the stream of airflow, transfers the energy from it and then sends it back on its way without the noise, without the slaughter of migratory birds and without any soiling of the atmosphere.
We start out with a problem to solve. Out problem is a technology that is more than a century old. The advancements in wind turbine technology has consisted mostly of building a bigger turbine. The result is a plethora of turbine farms across the American landscape that produce more electricity than their predecessors. But along with the electricity, we must endure noise pollution, and the slaughter of our large migratory bird population. Not exactly an elegant solution.
The diagram on the left shows a 21st century alternative to those giant murderous propellers. Look ma! No propellers!
How does it work? As Albert Einstein suggested: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” We listened! It’s not rocket science. Here’s how it works . . .
See that big funnel at the top? That is where the prevailing wind goes in. Since the prevailing wind is not always coming from the same direction, that large (gray) vane behind the snout assures that the funnel mouth is always aimed into the wind. It rotates on a ball bearing joint just below the mouth.
Once the wind goes into the mouth, it makes a 90º turn toward Earth. You’ll notice that there is an inner pipe and and outer pipe. So the air is pushed down the inner pipe because there is always air from the wind behind it pushing the already caputered air further down the pipe. This is not like building a space shuttle. Once the air reaches the bottom of the inner pipe, you’ll notice that the bottom is rounded.
What happens inside the pipe is what causes the conversion of wind to electrical energy.
Follow along with the numbers on the diagram. It’s easier than it looks.
- The wind pushes air into the mouth of the funnel.
- The directional vane forces the mouth of the funnel to be aimed at the wind direction.
- The air makes it 90º turn earthward, within the inner pipe.
- The ball-bearing joint allows the funnel to turn 360º so it will always point to the prevailing wind.
- The air is pushed down the inner pipe by the wind forcing air behind it.
- There is a cone-shaped affair that compresses the air by forcing it to wall of the inner pipe.
- The air is compressed by being pushed into a smaller space giving it much more energy.
- There is a turbine with many small blades at the outer edge that will be forced to spin by virtue of the air trying to push through below.
- A transmission ensures the regulation of turbine speed to be constant.
- Below the transmission is the electrical generator that by spinning, creates electricity, which is fed into a battery or the electrical grid.
- The rounded bottom forms a donut shape that will redirect the air back up the outer pipe.
- The air by virtue of the donut assembly comes out the bottom of the inner pipe and can only escape through the outer pipe.
- The air is forced up the outer pipe.
- The sun will cause the rising air to heat up and speed up, acting as a booster force. The air is forced up the narrow space of the pipe, escaping into the atmospherre at the top of the outer pipe.
- The outer pipe is painted black to absorb more heat from the sun as it heats the space between the inner pipe and the outer pipe.
The result? Wind is converted to electrical energy with the help of a solar booster that heats the escaping air. No noise pollution. No slaughtered eagles. No giant propellers obscuring your view.
Welcome to the 21st century!