Thursday, April 12, 2007

Micro-Wind good for urban areas?

Micro-Wind in urban areas? As many of you will know, small wind power is a contentious topic, poorly sited small wind turbines can be almost useless and siting them well is far from easy in an urban environment. Turbulent flow is the enemy of traditional turbines. How about a non-traditional turbine?

Background on the turbines designer, Bill Becker.

It's all part of a vision that started with Becker's exposure to philosopher/visionary/engineer R. Buckminster Fuller during Becker's college years at Michigan State University in East Lansing. Fuller opened up a new world vision for Becker, who grew up in the Rogers Park neighborhood, and then moved to Wilmette at the age of 11 when his father, a real estate appraiser, found his talents in high demand by the insurance industry. Becker said he "fell in love" with Fuller's ideas, such as: "Democracy does not function without enabling technology for the individual."

He became a Fuller disciple, working with him intermittently between 1966 and 1982, and then went out into the world hoping to create Fuller's vision of "future ecological villages."

He set out to enable individuals through technology, and spent stints designing Airstream trailers in Toledo, Ohio; low-cost manufactured housing near Elkhart, Ind. and Chevrolet's ill-fated Corvair in a GM facility in Warren, Mich. Becker claims what really did the Corvair in was not Ralph Nader's book Unsafe at Any Speed, but rather the car's potential fuel-economy capacity that disturbed the oil companies, who put pressure on GM executives.

"Politics never change, even if you scream and yell. The whole system is easily controlled, but the puppetry (people pulling the strings) can't control new technologies. New technology is like a thin wedge in the door to open up a new way for people to be liberated."

"So Becker presses on in his mission to push the envelope of new technology for the cause of liberation. He believes that wind power is "the best bet to lead the renewable energy charge andhellip; because wind technology is at the highest level of all renewables for pounds of materials invested per energy return."

Today, scattered among the technical charts in his portfolio, is a bevy of projects, completed and proposed. There's a building permit for a wind turbine and photovoltaic system that went on a small Round Lake business, photos of his wind turbine towering over a Midwest renewable energy fair, an architect's renderings for an Evanston residence with urban turbines horizontally tucked along the peak of its A-frame. Each turbine costs about $10,000 to install and generates about 4,000 kWh per year, which is enough to provide 50 percent of the power needs of an energy efficient home, Becker said."

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At 4:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the reason why they say wind is not reliable. People cannot simply jump on to a bandwagon and think that they can do it. Successful generation of power through wind requires years of data gathering for pete's sake!

At 7:39 PM, Blogger Calvin Jones said...

1.I`m not sure what you are refering to by 'this'?
2.Jumping thoughtlessly on bandwaggons, bad, i agree.
3.This is just a vague statement that is clearly wrong, successful generation of wind does not require years of data; to be gaurenteed a rapid payback time it would be nessicary in order to avoid risks. In many cases wind maps are available, in terms of micro-wind clear instructions on siting are readily available if you have the right wind resource in your region. If you can't site wind turbines as suggested then this latest design will go just about anywhere as the turbulence is not a problem.


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