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Wind Power

PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 2:01 pm
by kelty
We have no electricity at all. Can a household be run on wind power alone? - How would you charge the batteries that store the energy collected from the wind power?

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 1:54 pm
by windgat
Hello Kelty. You need to do an energy audit before your question can be answered. If you have an electric stove and water geyser, then probably not. For lights and a computer or TV some of the time, then probably yes.

A wind generator maybe connected directly to a battery (or battery bank). When the battery is fully charged, either power should be used, or the wind generator should be disconnected (and braked).

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 11:19 pm
by Cyara
What would one wind power generator be able to power at 240 watts? If I understand correctly that is the maximum? I am very interested in this generator and wish to see if I can use it in a large aquaponics setup. I would appreciate any help here as I know nothing about the subject beyond a fascinated read of the home page.

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2008 7:09 pm
by windgat
Welcome Cyara. The power depends mainly on the size of the blades. I guess you could get 500W from this design.

What would be the power needs of your aquaponics? You may want to consider 'solar' pumps, which are basically high efficiency DC (direct current) pumps. Most other pumps are AC, and not designed with minimising power use in mind.

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Fri May 08, 2009 11:42 am
by Greystoke
Hi Guys,
Came across this bit of news . . .

Home Wind Turbines Mostly Useless, Study Finds
By: Al
Published: January 15th, 2009

A study funded by the British Wind Energy Association and U.K. government found that contrary to claims that micro turbines can suffice for a household’s 30 percent electricity needs, on an average they only generate 214 watts hours per day, or less than 5% of electricity a household requires. Some can’t even generate enough power to run their own electronics.
And Britain is a pretty windy place.

Sounds like bad news. Any comments?????????????

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Sat May 09, 2009 9:00 am
by windgat
A few comments:
Some areas of the British Isles are windy, particularly some areas of the coast, but others are not. Also, in huge cities like London, there are very few 'bungalows' (1 story homes), so the wind is very disrupted, meaning a very tall pole is needed to find clean wind. So I would expect the average performance for the country to be poor. Remember, that study you quote looks at the average, and the other claim is an 'up to' marketing-speak figure, i.e. the maximum.

Also, I think if the same study was conducted for say Cape Town, or Port Elizabeth, or the South coast of SA, the results would be very different.

On the other hand, its certainly true that a domestic wind turbine is not a plug in replacement for grid power, and that some manufacturers make pretty wild claims.

The are three people in Cape Town that I know of who are determined to generate 100% of their own power, using a combination of wind and solar on the production side. This needs to be combined with looking at the consumption side, water heating, efficient lighting etc.

So as an exercise, take a household using 30kWh a day. Say half is for hot water heating, and a solar geyser is installed, leaving 15kWh. Lets say a further 5kWh is saved by more efficient cooking methods and space heating, lighting etc, leaving 10kWh a day. To generate 30% of this, 125W needs to be generated continuously, or 375W for 30% of the time. So if one looks at an overall strategy, including consumption reduction, 30% is not unrealistic. If you keep the original consumption rate, then the percentage drops to 10%. I am in no way defending the deceptive market speak - its not honest. So its necessary to learn how to analyse claimed figures to unpack the assumptions behind them, and to look at the words carefully, so that you don't end up comparing averages with maximums.

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 7:55 am
by Greystoke
To be honest . . I don't get it.

I can understand the use of wind generators for specific conditions (remote areas, etc), but . . .
Whenever I read about wind energy, I get served-up warm fuzzies and “jam tomorrow” stories about wind farms being the best thing since sliced bread, and the saviour of the earth and humanity. Some governments are committing billions of dollars proposing to populate vast expanses of land and sea with turbines. Turbine, turbines everywhere!
How come these governments are so short-sighted?

For instance:
I am told that – contrary to popular belief - the wind does not blow on command, and that therefore the sustained levels of energy output is only a fraction of the installed capacity, i.e.: practically ZERO (sorry, no wind today!), while the average output – depending on design – is less than one third of the installed capacity. In Germany wind generators only operate at full capacity for about 1400 hours a year – just over 58 days’ worth, while windy Britain still only manages about a third of its wind-power capacity.

I am also told that maintenance to these turbines – particularly at sea – is horribly expensive, i.e.: many times that of an equivalent land based gas turbine.
Yet, Germany produces about 3% of its electricity from wind energy, at an annual subsidy of about €4bn. They claim that wind power has created 45000 jobs in Germany, but with a large subsidy anyone can create jobs, and at about €90000 per job, per year, it would be cheaper to send workers on a permanent holiday.

What wisdom justifies the spending of billions of dollars on the most expensive and unreliable way of generating electricity?
I suppose it lies in the popular appeal of the wind mill. After all, the wind blows for free. Wind has been used as a source of power for centuries. Wind propelled the great ships of the past that conquered the world. Wind has kept Holland dry for centuries. Everyone knows that, and everyone understands it. And so the promotion of wind energy is used by big corporations and governments alike to woe the “greens” under the guise of fighting global warming.

To be sure, wind power has its uses, but I think for that money, there are more deserving methods out there. Wind is not an alternative power source. It is – at best – a contributory source.

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Mon May 11, 2009 2:57 pm
by turning green
I had to make a decision for me so all options like nuclear, coal, gas just don't apply and I was left to decide between photovoltaic panels and wind. Just as an aside my son works with nuclear in the USA and so I have no major objections in that direction, however, on my personal scale that simply does not compute.

I decided on wind.

I have four 14 watt 12V panels and they together never produce more than 2 amps so they are more like 6 watt panels and that at R350 / panel. I dealt exclusively with Communica and maybe there are better prices to be had but I've never been disappointed with their products or services. For every six panels I would have needed another regulator. The panels I bought were the cheapest on offer at Communica and they had 50 watt panels at that time for about R1000 each with better and more expensive regulators. Still and all I calculated that if I ever wanted to run my fridge (that was my goal at that time - it no longer is so the goalposts have shifted somewhat) then I would need at least 300 watt 24 hours a day and so that would be 600 watt because the sun don't shine at night. I built in some leeway and decided that 800 watt would satisfy my application. That was R16 000's worth of panels and let's say a further R4000 for regulators and wiring etc. I rounded my budget to R20 000.

This all assumes that batteries etc would work out the same for wind or solar. I'd learnt my lesson with the under-specification panels that I have and so I sort of increased that to R25 000.

That's not all there is to it. I'd also learnt from my existing panels that the panels have to be have adjustable frames so that they can be optimised to point at the sun in winter and in summer. That's not cheap and placing some 16 panels or a lesser number of bigger ones on my roof would have required some engineering. I thought and pondered and pondered and then looked at wind.

I got quotes from various manufacturers and that was also a lesson in humility. Man I've had so many in my life it seems I have a season ticket to that place. Basically wind came out to be more expensive than the solar panels and as far as I was concerned the facts were in, however .............

I looked at this site and was intriqued. The cost of the turbine could be less than the panels and wind had some advantages. I only had one mast to worry about and not some 16 frames (or at least four big multiple frames) - that was a big plus. The wind is not predictable but then the solar panels are also affected by clouds. The turbine has all night to turn as well as the day and so I only had to find some 400 watt on average for the 24 hour day. I contacted windgat through this site and actually went to see the turbine he had rigged up at his place.

Somewhere in the discussions I had with him my goalposts shifted. The fridge thing was a bad premise to base my decisions on. A fridge is really the most difficult appliance to run with green energy. The problem can be solved with a smaller fridge (run with an inverter) or a gas fridge or replacing the compressor unit with it's own DC motor and a separate compressor and other options but why start on the most difficult problem - why not solve the easier ones first.

To cut a long story a bit shorter I decided to go with wind. I'm still going to sit with my fridge problem but I look forward to something that moves and I can feel the breeze. My decisions are no longer totally logical - I thought I'd share them anyway.

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Wed May 13, 2009 6:42 am
by turning green
My friend opposite the road from me has a "wind turbine" - it's for show and it's an old (ancient) one that's still rigged for 6VDC and has two blades with two stubby scoops at right angles to them that automatically advance and retard the brushes depending on the wind speed. On the fin is "wind charger" in bold letters with a bolt of lightning and the fin is the shape of an arrows feathering. Man does that thing spin and attract attention !!! OK it has no load and the blades have to be replaced periodically because they break off when the wind gets pumping but it is a really successful ornament. He installed it on it's mini-tower - the mini-tower was designed to bolt on to a bigger tower - anyway it was too low and it clonked him on the head one day while he was mowing his lawn. Fortunately the wind was mild that day else that could have been the end of the story - needless to say the mini-tower has had a base put on so that the blades are out of range of his head.

He has the most amazing house - it is built in tiers because of the slope. The canal runs through my back yard - I've had to move my fence nearer the house because that area is useless to me after the floods we've had these past few years. I still pay the rates on that area but that's another story. I'm at the lowest part of a valley that runs east west and so my "prevailing winds" are also east west. That turbine of his stands dead still if the winds are north south and so will mine eventually.

I think I have chosen to use wind in one of the worst situated places and I wonder just how much my decision to go with wind was based on that turbine. I grew up with one EXACTLY like it. I only now start to appreciate how much effort my father went to to give us electric lighting on our farm just after WWII. We were packed off to boarding school and the farm for us children was a holiday resort. If only I could go back in time and be with my father again - this time I would appreciate the wind turbine and the lighting.

We are WORMs - we can only Write Once Read Many. I hope to enjoy the turbine (a much more modern one) and the lighting (ditto) this time round.

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Sun Feb 28, 2010 11:05 pm
by turning green
The case for alternatives.

Greystoke, I know you know why and it's frustrating !

There will be no more fossil fuels one day, maybe sooner than we expect and maybe not, but it will come. I think what brought the situation home to me is the standard line of Richard Heinberg "Have you ever pushed your car 10 kilometers ?? (he deals in miles but you know what I mean).".

I have.

It's a sad story but I had just been retrenched from the military establishment and made a failure of running my own truck - I was in serious financial trouble. I was cutting everything close to the bone and so my old 1971 Datsun 1500 bakkie was running on fumes and it refused to go any further. At the time I still had some youth left (very little) and still had the courage to push the bleeding thing to the next petrol pump about five k's further on and there were no gradients inbetween. Those vehicles were the one's that carved a name for Japanese vehicles with South African farmers - they were relatively light on fuel, could carry a true metric ton and they were tough !! Still had a steel chassis like a truck and bloody heavy. I pushed, I cried, I vomited and then repeated the formula many many times. I got there - put in petrol - went home and cried myself to sleep. The memory haunts me still. That effort was what a half a litre petrol does for us.

From that day I knew I was in a deep dark tunnel and the world, mostly unwittingly, was in there with me. No fossil fuel means no car means no personal transport for the most of us.

My younger brother phoned me from Kempton Park plots the other day and the electricity had been down for a day already from all the rains and flooding they'd had up there. He was so dejected - the phone felt heavy in my hand. Would the plots get enough priority so that the electricity would be restored before he lost everything in his fridge and deepfreeze ?? Fortunately that had a happy ending and he phoned me real chipper the next day to tell me that only minutes after talking to me the electricity was restored but the damage had been done.

I knew then that the same applied to the electricity. No fossil fuel means no mod cons for the most of us.

I'll support any alternative to fossil fuels - that's a dead end - literally !!!!!!

Intermitantcy is far better than total deprivation.

I hope we've got enough time to change and the courage to do so. Maybe it doesn't matter so much for me but what about my children and grandchildren ????

Maybe the answer is whispering in the wind ! Just maybe ! I hope so. :wtf:

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:07 am
by Garrick
Hi All,

Does anyone know where i can get a DC motor to use as a generator for my wind turbine? Im based in the JHB area.

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Sat Mar 06, 2010 11:42 pm
by windgat
Hi Garrick, sorry I don't. What you want is a low voltage low rpm motor - i.e. a motor that when turned slowly (say 300rpm) produces the voltage you want (say 12V or 24V). This is unusual as most electric motors are high rpm.

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 8:01 am
by Garrick
I know, thats why im asking, becuse ive been searching my butt off and im slowly becoming demotivated. :impatient:

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Mon Mar 08, 2010 6:17 pm
by windgat
Don't be demotivated, just build your own!

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 7:18 am
by Garrick
Im slowly thinking i should do that. However, the cost could build up to the same amount as one i could buy and then it still wont be as weather proof as the real thing. Ive tracked down a new motor that fits my requirments perfectly, however, it costs a fortune.

I see there was a member Leon who bought a motor, how do i make contact with him? He might be able to help.

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 4:30 pm
by windgat
Try replying to his post, and see if he picks that up.

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2010 12:38 am
by bellboyrsa
Hello ther everybody. Just stubled appon this site and immediatly registerd. I'm just amazed at theslow pace on this site, I would have expected a lot mor buzz here!

I'm a big propagandist of alternative energy usage for a few reasons. Although me myself is staying in town I'm on my way to change over toalternative energy. I started with the following steps allready:
1. Installed a 150 l solar geaser as a pre heating geaser for the normal 200l electric geaser.
2. Installed a 5.5KW invertor, not fully operational yet, I currently uses it for emergencies when the power is down.
3. This massive glass batteries, 24 of them giving me 24V at 530 A
4. a regulator to manage the power going into and out of the batteries.
5. 2x150 W 24V solar panels to charge the batteries.
Total cost so far including a small DB board, cables and plugs roughly about R100 000.
Is this sufficient? Definetly not, I need quite a bit exstra to be grid independent. Others thought I might have lost my marbles but all of a suddern after the agreed price increase my investments starts making sense.

This is making provision for long term. We used about 30 KWh of electricity a day resulted in about R1000 worth of electricty. This is down to about R400 now. A R1000 times 12 would have been R12000 a year. After 3 increase of 25% we would have ended up on R1900 per month that would have meant R22800 per hear. This means that within 6 years I used as much money on electricity that would be equal to the R100 000 I spend now on on the alternative.

I would need to spend more or less another R100 000 on more solar panels to provide me with enough power for a 24 h cycle with maybe a little bit extra. 20 x 150W = 3000 x 12 hours = 36000Wh if I'm lucky.

With regards to wind power there is a lot on youtube on guys building their own with plastic 220l cans, gearing and alternators/ generators.


Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Fri Apr 09, 2010 12:21 am
by windgat
Hi bellboy.

Sounds like you are seriously into the whole thing! How about some photos of your setup?

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 9:25 pm
by bellboyrsa
Hello Windgat

Will do the picture taking hopefully this week when and if I have a chance. I'm for the weekend in Hermanus, flying back to Johannesburg from Cape Town on Monday night.

Would have liked to meet you and see your setups but this we will have to do when we have more time ahead to arrange.

As I only stumbled upon this forum only now there are so many things I want to say that everybody must please excuse me if I post at the wrong place.

My interest in alternative energy acctually comes along a long way when I read about farmers in the Cape region and Northern Transvaal that had their whole farms runnig from solar in 1985 allready. in the mean time I also picked up clients that is in the solar geyser bussiness as well as selling PV panels.

I drove out to Darling in December 2010 especially to have a look at that 4 nice big wind turbines.

I also look at different other options to get self sufficient such as Trough concentrated solar power, Sterling engines and creating Hydrogen gas from water to maybe help in genarating power during night time with a sterling engine by means of heating the one side with a flame run on Hydrogen gas.

I don't believe that one can use 1 single alternative form of energy alone to become self sufficient but you need to combine at least 2 types of alternatives together to give you a continious set of generation tools.

I also had a look at a guy that created a vowt system by using 2 x plastic 220l drums, both cut in half and then combine together with just about 100mm of each half and then the other set the same but at a 90 deg from the 1st set and on top.

I think of playing around with this also but to use vescanite as a bearing to get the unit to run more silent and smooth.

Enough said for now.

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Wed May 26, 2010 9:28 pm
by goof
hi bellboy
I also lookt at a sterling engine and the heat that is required is a lot and the size of it I stated to build one and stop
now I am engine busy whit a steam engine what I will run of pressurised gas that boils at a lower temp then water the
Hydrogen is a good idea I think of that to run a stove I mast still experiment whit it if your battery is full then dump the loud in water for Hydrogen
that is my idea a lot of work still lase a head

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Sat May 29, 2010 9:16 am
by windgat
Interesting about the dump load/hydrogen... would you compress it to store it? If so, how?

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:56 am
by CaptainJakes
I live in Willow Park Mannor Pretoria and have set up a 2kw wind turbine and +- 300 watt solar pannels (BUT THEY SEEM TO CHARGE AT 1.5 AMPS ON A HOT DAY ) and it is runing very well .I am running my lights and 2 TVs fridges off of it and i have not yet run out of power yet .I am currently converting our stove to gas asswell . I have 10 x deep cycle bateries = 120 volts DC converter 120 volts to 220 volts .if you want you are welcome to give me a call and come have a look at my setup for feedback .I am still in the experimental stages but it seems to ok. My cell is 0761256057 Jacques.
I hope this helps. :D

Re: Wind Power

PostPosted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 11:10 am
by kristahiles111

You must consult with a company that renders power plant management services. They will guide you rightly.