Posts about wind power

Home Engineering: Windmill for Electricity

photo of windmill

William Kamkwamba’s Malawi Windmill:

I built my first windmill when I was 15. Over the next few years I kept refining the design. I made many modifications to the plans i found in the book. For example, I increased the blades from three to four to provide more power output. The windmill now powers lights for 3 rooms and a light over our porch outside. I also use it to power my family’s two radios. I also can charge mobile phones that the neighbors have.

Two weeks ago I used a computer for the first time. I learned about Google and searched for “windmill” and “solar energy.” I was amazed to learn how many entries there were for both subjects. My friends showed me how to create an email address and now I am on Gmail. Now I am practicing sending and receiving emails when I have access to a computer.

On Sunday, my friends from National Solar and I completed the next phase of work on my electrical system. You can see a compete set of (my first) digital photos at my new site on Flickr. I had the following goals:

1. Upgrade the power generation in the windmill
2. Upgrade the battery technology and capacity, to provide more even power for more hours at a time
3. Increase the brightness of the lighting (lumens) to make it easier for my family to accomplish tasks at night, especially to read…

Photo: Back in November, the windmill was only 5 meters (15 feet) tall compared to 12 meters (36 feet) today. I raised the height because I discovered that the best wind was just over the top of the shorter windmill.

Related: Building an Electricity Producing Wind TurbineMicro-Wind Turbines for Home UseFloating Windmills

Wind Power

Wind Power graph

Graph of wind power capacity in the USA from 1981 – 2005 (from 10 Megawatts to 9,149 megawatts).

From the American Wind Energy Association:

The only other countries around the world that have more wind power installed are Germany (19,140 MW as of the end of June), and Spain (10,728 MW).

AWEA expects the U.S. to pass the 15,000 MW mark by the end of 2007 and can have 25,000 MW installed by the end of 2010, with the proper policies in place. At this growth rate, the U.S. could have 100,000 MW installed by 2020, which would provide the nation with approximately 6% of its future power needs, about as much as hydropower provides today.

Related: Wind Power Technology BreakthroughGE’s Edison Desk BlogSolar Tower Power Generation

Wind Power Technology Breakthrough

China Makes Huge Breakthrough in Wind Power Technology by Zijun Li:

Chinese developers unveiled the world’s first full-permanent magnetic levitation (Maglev) wind power generator at the Wind Power Asia Exhibition 2006 held June 28 in Beijing, according to Xinhua News.

The Maglev generator is expected to boost wind energy generating capacity by as much as 20 percent over traditional wind turbines. This would effectively cut the operational expenses of wind farms by up to half, keeping the overall cost of wind power under 0.4 yuan (5 cents US), according to Guokun Li, the chief scientific developer of the new technology. Further, the Maglev is able to utilize winds with starting speeds as low as 1.5 meters per second (m/s), and cut-in speeds of 3 m/s, the chief of Zhongke Energy was quoted as saying at the exhibition. When compared with the operational hours of existing wind turbines, the new technology will add an additional 1,000 hours of operation annually to wind power plants in areas with an average wind speed of 3 m/s.