Author Topic: Wind-powered lever?  (Read 19344 times)

Offline mangyhyena

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Wind-powered lever?
« on: October 22, 2012, 08:44:22 PM »
I said I would never patent an energy device because the world needs cheap power and power production needs to be decentralized, IMHO.  The only way I see to accomplish this is with an inexpensive, simple/uncomplicated, DIY energy machine.  Hence, I freely talk about different methods of energy production with others.

I might have hit on a good wind energy idea.  I think it will be inexpensive, made from commonly available parts, be less complicated than a turbine, be truly bladeless, be capable of doing more than just generating electricity, and have implications for generating power from waves in the ocean to boot.

As the title suggests, I'm talking about a lever that is powered by the wind.  Lever arm is vertical.  Pivot point is near bottom.  Top will have a sail on it to catch the wind.  Bottom will be weighted with a magnet.  Stationary magnets and coils will be placed in front of, and in opposition to, the magnet on the bottom.

When the breeze blows, it should push the longer, top of the lever arm with the sail on it.  The bottom, short part of the lever should be driven backwards. (against the direction of the wind). This should drive the magnet at the bottom of the lever toward the stationary magnets and coils, producing electricity.

The wind energy at the sail would battle the magnetic repulsion at the bottom.  The magnets would be trying to stand the sail back up.  The wind would be trying to bring the opposing magnets together.  This power struggle should provide a lot of movement at the bottom as the magnet goes back and forth, that movement generating electricity in the coils.

To help picture this, imagine poking a stick into a marshmallow.  Poke the other end of the stick through a piece of notebook paper.  The marshmallow represents the magnet, the paper represents the wind-catching sail.  Loosly hold the stick between two fingers an inch or two above the marshmallow.  (the stick should be vertical, marshmallow hanging at 6 o'clock position, paper sail at the 12 o'clock position.). Blow on the paper.  The marshmallow should move toward you as the sail is blown away from you.  (The weight of the magnet at the bottom should be heavy enough to keep the sail upright when no wind is present)

If the lever is long enough, a light wind should be able to produce a lot of force at the bottom.  It's that force that could be put to useful work, I think.  If you don't like the magnet idea for electric generation, then imagine that bottom part smashing the crap out of a stack of pizeoelectric disks.

Beyond electric production, this setup might work to pump water, power a hydrolic drive, mechanically compress air in a tank, work a jack or winch to raise/lift a weight, or turn an axel.

It should be possible to cheaply make it as large or small as needed.  It should also be possible to make a bunch of them affordably.  I could see these sitting side by side along the peak of a roof, generating electricity from even light breezes.  Because it employs leverage and the sail can be as large as necessary, maybe it could even work at ground level.

To adjust the power from the sail, you could lower it closer to the pivot, if the wind completely overpowered the magnetic repulsion & stopped moving.  Or, raise it higher on the lever for more power.

At the manufacturing level, they could build the sail to open and close, allowing the lever to move back and forth.  If it were me designing that sail, I'd make it like window blinds.  Close the blinds and the sail catches the wind and is driven down.  Open the blinds and the wind passes through the sail, allowing the magnetic repulsion, or a spring, to stand the sail back up from the bottom.  Open, close, open, ect...

I found a few similar ideas on the web, but they were either huge setups for the power company to use or they didn't quite line up with what I've presented here for consideration.  Doesn't mean it hasn't been done, just that I didn't find a match when searching for it on Google.

This idea has a ways to go before it could be workable.  For instance, there needs to be the right balance of power from the sail and the magnets--or spring. (A spring could also be set up to pull the bottom back, standing the sail back up.). It would have to be properly sized for the anticipated wind speed.  (Detachable components would allow for bigger or smaller weights/magnets/springs to be attached)

In any case, that's my idea for an alternative way to harvest wind energy more affordably.  No tower, no turbine, no spinning blades.

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2012, 08:54:55 PM »
To generate power from waves, turn it upside down so the long lever is in the water.  The pivot point would be bolted on a float/raft.  The float would rock on the waves, but the submerged lever would not, causing the short part above the pivot to move back and forth, relative to the float/raft.

Anyways, lots to think through on this.  Feel free to offer advice, suggest ways to construct it, run calculations, or just run with it.  This idea belongs to whoever reads this.  This device belongs to anyone who builds it.  All I ask is that you share your results and help fellow members build one for him/herself if they like.

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2012, 04:53:30 AM »
I think you could have something for mechanical actions to be driven by the wind.

But I don't think this could generate electricity, at least not enough to make it viable.  It takes a magnet passing through many coils to introduce a current.  The magnet on this lever would not cycle through the coils often enough to produce enough current.  At least that's my initial thoughts.

But I do think that you should continue exploring it.  I may be way off on the electricity thing.  But even if I'm not, this would work well to pump or to do some other physical action.

Offline Burton

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2012, 05:44:08 AM »
I second 'not enough current' for it to be worth it. I mean don't let it stop you from experimenting but if you do experiment then do it on a very very small scale with a fan and a model. (don't forget to scale the fan speed to!)

Wave energy works because it follows a pattern. Wind mills work because it converts the wind into a pattern, as does hydro electric. So you might want to rethink your idea.

Not sure if this would work but you could try something like this:
Use the same leaver design coupled with a 'tail section' like you would find on an aircraft to point it into the wind.
At the bottom of the lever have a plunger which travels vertically as the lever is pressed toward the ground (ie wind is blowing). While it might be necessary to weight the plunger the magnets on it should be enough.
Around the plunger is your standard coil wrap. (Same principle as wave generation).
Now the pattern part. You have to design the sail on the lever to be able to catch a lot of wind so it can work in low wind situations. Second you have to make a breakaway feature so when the lever reaches say 45 degrees it turns its sail at a less than optimal level. This will let the plunger drop back down.

I imagine it would be finicky at best to adjust this system but it would work. The hardest part being the breakaway system. Does it rotate the shaft the lever is on (think of it like a push button pen system), or does it have internal bearings, or work off some other type of magic.

The cool part about this system is it could stand up to higher winds better than a wind mill but it would probably be harder to keep a constant rhythm like you can with mills and the wave generators.

Might want to use google sketchup to figure out your ideas and post them up here. ^_^

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2012, 10:51:21 AM »
Thanks for the input.  This is just up for consideration, since I don't see anything else out there that works like this.

Will definitely work with a small model and a fan before trying anything bigger.  There might be a good reason it doesn't already exist.  Maybe it doesn't work.  LOL.

I saw a foot pedal operated generator that puts power to a laptop computer.  You push down with your foot repeatedly, which spins a small generator or alternator.  Maybe a setup like that could be driven with the wind lever.  (shrugs a baffled shrug)

Seems like "cutting power" to the sail so it can stand back up will be the complicated part.  I presented the opening & closing louvre idea, but that might not be workable.  Turning the sail seems like a viable idea.  Hmm, lots more to consider.

Maybe something brilliant will come up in the responses.  In the mean time, feel free to take this idea to a wind energy forum and see what they come up with.

I can see that this may be able to harness light winds into a usable force, the way a car jack harnesses human power to lift a car despite the fact the human is not strong enough to grab the bumper and lift it him/herself without the jack.

Thanks for the comments.

Offline Skunkeye

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2012, 03:21:47 PM »
I think it would be pretty difficult to get a smooth, oscillating action out of something like this without it reaching Rube Goldberg levels of complexity.  The mechanism for furling and unfurling the sail would have to be relatively quick-acting, either mechanical or electrical.  In either case, it's robbing power from the machine, so your efficiency will be reduced by that.  The "venetian blind" idea might have some merit, but a flat plate is very messy aerodynamically, so it might not behave very predictably in changing wind conditions, and when the slats are open, you're still going to have some drag from them as the thing moves back to vertical.

I think this is one of those ideas that sounds simple in principle, but will be very complex in reality.  You might be able to tweak and tune it to work great in a steady 20mph breeze, but what happens when it's 35 and gusty, or only 10mph?

One of the advantages of traditional windmills is that, once they're spinning, inertia is actually working for them, tending to want to keep them turning.  This mechanism seems like it's fighting against inertia a good portion the time, with back-and-forth changes in direction on a fairly rapid cycle of a somewhat massive device.  A very interesting physics experiment, though!

Offline kckndrgn

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2012, 03:30:57 PM »
I believe the wave electricy generators has been done, though I don't know how far they have advanced.
http://gas2.org/2010/09/29/wave-generated-electricity-powers-u-s-grid-for-the-first-time/

Getting a smooth current will be difficult, the lever may not return to the starting position everytime due to the wind, so as the lever moves back, you may get less forward movement.

Now, take the same principle of the lever and have it pump water to an elevated position for use, that might be an idea.

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2012, 06:32:02 PM »
Good points about this thing returning to the start position, and it not operating smoothly.

There has to be a way to "turn the sail off" so it can come back to the starting position.  Just have to figure it out.  Maybe raise something to block the wind in front of it when it needs to return to the starting position?  If the lever itself lifts this barrier into place, maybe it would "turn itself off automatically" each cycle.  ???  In this configuration (smoothing out the stroke), I think using it to pump water or drive a hydrolic system would be better than trying to produce electricity.  It seems like it would just be too slow and uneven to crank a generator.

As for a configuration for electric production:

The magnets and coils at the bottom, as I first described it, is an idea I've seen before from other alternative energy enthusiast, though not on a setup like this.  The idea is the magnet on the bottom of the lever will push against the stationary magnet, warping the stationary magnet's magnetic field.  The coils beside the stationary magnet should be affected by that movement (the warping) of the field, producing electricity.  The wind blowing erratically would benefit that setup, if the information about the warping field is correct.  An erratic wind shouldn't pin the magnet in place, motionless, for very long.
Maybe set it up with a tail so it will turn into the wind, as was suggested, and rely on natural variations of wind speed to keep that bottom magnet in motion.  (If the wind pins that bottom magnet against the stationary magnet & coils, the movement stops and coils will not produce any electricity.)

Measuring efficiency on a setup like that would seem a difficult task.  You would almost have to compare it to a turbine, which would be comparing apples to oranges.  Comparing it to a turbine would be even more difficult if the thing operates at wind speeds below the minimum speed required for the turbine to operate.  How would one compare the efficiency of the thing that's actively producing energy in low wind to the turbine that's not?  Also, I seriously doubt the thing would ever produce anywhere near what a turbine can, so again, a difficult comparison.

The idea is for the thing to be cheap to build, dead simple to replicate, and for it to work.  It doesn't need to perform anywhere near as well as a turbine if the price difference is wide enough.  It just needs to produce a usable amount of electricity in a 24 hour period.  It would be only for battery charging, I think, not trying to run something directly off its output.  For production of power at the home user level, we need something cheaper than a windmill or solar panels, that works at low wind speed, and can be ganged with others of its kind as finances and time allow for more replications.  The thing may or may not fit that bill.

My tiny brain hurts.  Enough thinking about this for tonight.  You folks take care.








Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #8 on: October 25, 2012, 05:15:00 AM »
What is the efficiency difference between a sail on a ship (moving the ship) and a turbine (churning an alternator)?????

If there is not much difference in efficiency, then this idea is all wet.  It just seems like the sail would be more efficient as the surface area is greater and the direction of movement is not converted.

The point of the lever is to multiply the smaller force into enough to do useful work.  The trade off is distance, as the long end must travel a greater distance than the short end, where the force comes out multiplied.  The work at both ends is roughly equal, though a little should be lost to friction at the pivot.

A light wind can cover the distance on the long end of a lever at no cost to the end user, while the force at the bottom is multiplied into enough for useful work.  That is the bases of this simple machine.  What I'm trying to figure out is how to turn this into a repeating cycle, how to harness that force, and how to store the energy harvested.

Any ideas that might help with those 3 challenges would be great.  This is open source.  It belongs to you as well.  Can we make it work?

Offline ttubravesrock

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #9 on: October 25, 2012, 02:37:41 PM »
When you mentioned the foot powered generator, it gave me an idea. I'm not an expert, but it seems to me there are many ways to convert linear (up and down or side to side) motion to rotation.  Off the top of my head, here are a few ideas.

Each push (down or to the side) equals one ratchet click. Ratchet clicks are stored until X number of clicks, then that energy is released via rotation back to original starting point.

Using a gear & belt/chain system, you could move the belt/chain using the motion of the lever. The movement of the belt/chain would turn the gear.  The gear could have some kind of axle attached to it that rotates with the gear... or maybe a pulley system to increase the power.

I remember those old toys where you pull a 6-10 inch zip tie out of the car and the car would zoom about 30-50 feet when released.  There were also the toys that you just rolled backwards and then released.  I was always impressed by the amount of power in them.

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #10 on: October 26, 2012, 10:41:04 AM »
An easy wind lever:

Think of a trebuchet: Tower with long throwing arm & short weighted arm.

Put the trebuchet on a turntable so the wind can turn it.

Put the tailplane of an aircraft at the end of the long arm. Balance the arms like a seesaw.

The wind will act on the rudder of the tailplane turning the long arm perpetually downwind.

Add a mechanical actuator to control the elevators of the tailplane. When the tailplane is near the ground, the elevators adjust to cause it to rise in the ambient windstream. When it reaches maximum height, the elevators adjust to cause it to descend.

In a continuous breeze, the arm will flap up and down.

Set the actuator to run the wing +/- 30 degrees from horizontal for best effect.

Use any convenient mechanism to convert the arm motion into rotary motion to operate a generator. Use a transmission to get whatever RPMs you want.

Spiffy up the design for greater efficiency: Keep the rudder, but replace the tailplane & elevators with a one-piece tilting wing.

The larger the wing surface, the more torque & power.

Make the tower tall enough to keep the lowest sweep 20' or so above ground level.

This arrangement could make a good water pump, too.

Offline rikkrack

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #11 on: October 26, 2012, 11:08:38 AM »
If using it as a water pump, pump to a water tower/resivoir, then gravity feed a generator. i.e. dam. I looked into something like this on larger scale for what to do when you have periods of power production and how to store without need for batteries.

Solution was presented to use excess or sporadic power to pump water to a higher elevation. When less power available, release water to feed generator/water wheel.

Use a leaver to open the sail at maximum height and reset when in down position. Grab claw in carnival machine.

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2012, 02:07:12 PM »
An easy wind lever:

Think of a trebuchet: Tower with long throwing arm & short weighted arm.

Put the trebuchet on a turntable so the wind can turn it.

Put the tailplane of an aircraft at the end of the long arm. Balance the arms like a seesaw.

The wind will act on the rudder of the tailplane turning the long arm perpetually downwind.

Add a mechanical actuator to control the elevators of the tailplane. When the tailplane is near the ground, the elevators adjust to cause it to rise in the ambient windstream. When it reaches maximum height, the elevators adjust to cause it to descend.

In a continuous breeze, the arm will flap up and down.

Set the actuator to run the wing +/- 30 degrees from horizontal for best effect.

Use any convenient mechanism to convert the arm motion into rotary motion to operate a generator. Use a transmission to get whatever RPMs you want.

Spiffy up the design for greater efficiency: Keep the rudder, but replace the tailplane & elevators with a one-piece tilting wing.

The larger the wing surface, the more torque & power.

Make the tower tall enough to keep the lowest sweep 20' or so above ground level.

This arrangement could make a good water pump, too.

Actuators to move up and down? 

When I was a kid, I used to put my hand out the car window and tilt it, the wind pushing it up, then down when I tilted the other way.  Is this what you mean?

I'm picturing two fair-sized, flat sails, one at each end of a seesaw-like setup.  Both sails tilt.  The sail on the higher end tilts so the wind pushes it down, the sail on the lower end tilts so the wind pushes it up.  Then, vica versa once the seesaw goes the other way.

If the pumps or flywheel pistons were positioned close to the pivot on each side, the energy would be leveraged.

Is this what you mean?  Sounds interesting, to say the least.  It would certainly allow a lower wind speed to do useful work through leverage.  And, the generator or pump could stay at ground level to make maintenance easier/cheaper.

Wonder how complicated it would be for the home builder to add the actuators and how much of the output energy would be required to operate them.  I'd imagine it could be accomplished by wires, like the fly-by-wire operation of an airplane.

I think something viable might come from this discussion.


Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #13 on: October 27, 2012, 04:19:05 PM »
Yes--the "handwing" trick is the basic idea. You just need an actuator to tip the wing to the "return" angle of attack at the end of each stroke. To do what your wrist does in the "handwing" IOW.

The actuators to adjust the wing angle could be purely mechanical--a push-pull control rod, for example.

Two wings (one at each end of the seesaw) would not shuttlecock properly. That would also be more expensive to build & maintain.

Better to use one wing twice as large if you want twice as much power. Or a bi-plane wing.

Getting mechanical energy out could be done using a generator and a crank, much like a nodding oil pump except driving instead of driven. (Gen instead of motor)

The wingless end of the seesaw would be short & weighted to get a neutral balance. Then even the slightest breeze would operate the seesaw.

If you calculate the sweep of a 6' dia. wind turbine, and make a wing that would sweep the same area, you'll probably get about the same amount of power output at a given windspeed.

The longer the seesaw, the smaller the rotation needed to get the desired sweep area. The smaller the wing, the longer the arm would need to be. Optimise to two: you'll probably get something like a 6 ft X 1 ft wing on an 8 ft lever, sweeping +&- 30 degrees. 

Put it on the tallest tower you can manage, just like any wind turbine.

In the real world, you could probably use a flat plate wing. If not, use a wing of the same profile as the one on a Pitt Special.

Prototype it cheap: Buy a plastic model of a Pitt from Aurora, use just the wings, and build the rest to scale.

A lamp base for a tower, a yardstick & a hinge for the seesaw, and a fan to provide your ambient breeze.

Bend coathangers for control rods.  Use a small PM motor for a gen (they'll run either way--motor or generator).

Etc.

EZ table-top proof of concept. Do it all in a weekend, probably.


Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #14 on: October 27, 2012, 06:12:51 PM »
Beautifully explained.  I think you're right about it working.  And, it sounds like it could give a wind turbine a run for its money in terms of output.

So, what would the advantages be if directly compared to a wind turbine of equal size?  Price, maintenance costs, durablity/useful life span, level of lethality to birds, noise level, ect...

Would it work on a roof top, do you think?  Just wondering about using that wind that sweeps up to the peak.  I've heard it increases in speed as it flows up the roof to the peak.

Thanks for explaining, BTW.

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #15 on: October 27, 2012, 06:29:22 PM »
Until something like the "windflapper" is built, all you have is guesswork.

A good aeronautical engineer could give you the lift forces at any wind speed and angle of attack--but unless you know one and get him interested, that might be very costly info.

Besides--too much pre-perfection is bad for prototyping.

Just get something made first, then tune it afterwards.

Build a small one, measure its performace, and project it on up from there.

It should work anywhere there is a good wind, and room for it to shuttlecock in the wind.

Put one in a wind channel, urban or natural, and the power will go way up, just like with a turbine.

The biggest hinderance with an idea like this is the risk of talking it to death, insteqd of actually going hands-on & building something.

Offline flippydidit

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2012, 12:56:14 AM »
I would recommend not using this in areas with significant hurricane or tornado activity.  Lest it work so well that it is delivered to someone in a neighboring county.

Offline Schmidt

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2012, 01:17:21 AM »
I like foam board and packing tape for this kind of prototyping. It's cheap and you can make as many different shaped airfoils as you like.  ;D

I assume your final product would not be pure mechanical design but have a servo controlling the angle of the wing. It would be somewhat harder to produce a mechanical equivalent. There would be the tendency to just shuttlecock and not oscillate. The angle of the wing would need be adjusted at the crest and trough and not proportionally like you would get with linkage.

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #18 on: October 28, 2012, 06:51:14 AM »
I would recommend not using this in areas with significant hurricane or tornado activity.  Lest it work so well that it is delivered to someone in a neighboring county.

Good point, but it applies equally to all wind turbines.

The windflapper could be driven down in high speed winds to a position where the wing was
horizontal and at ground level, at which point the arm would automatically lock in position--roughly parallel to the tower.

That's just a small design detail, easily managed.

Offline LdMorgan

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #19 on: October 28, 2012, 07:13:10 AM »
I like foam board and packing tape for this kind of prototyping. It's cheap and you can make as many different shaped airfoils as you like.  ;D

I assume your final product would not be pure mechanical design but have a servo controlling the angle of the wing. It would be somewhat harder to produce a mechanical equivalent. There would be the tendency to just shuttlecock and not oscillate. The angle of the wing would need be adjusted at the crest and trough and not proportionally like you would get with linkage.


Yep--foam is good. Quick, cheap & easy to work with.

Shuttle cocking would be achieved by the fixed rudder, just as in conventional turbines.

In the windflapper, end plates on the wing could do the same job (be the rudder), while boosting lift significantly.

Ideally, you'd want purely mechanical pitch control. Electric servos are just too unreliable over the long term.

You'd want at least a 40-year service life on the windflapper. Then all it should need would be a little grease and maybe new brushes in the generator.

The pitch control would have to compensate for the rise and fall of the seesaw arm to keep the wing at a constant optimum angle of attack. There are many ways to accomplish such a simple motion.

The wing would have two extremes relative to the wind--max rise, and max fall. Both would be incrementally adjusted over the sweep to remain at (relative) max, then at the end of each sweep, would kick over to the maximum opposite deflection for the return sweep.

Not hard. Just takes a llittle fiddlin' to work it out, is all.


Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #20 on: February 20, 2013, 07:49:20 AM »
After studying the GAP motor, it appears that using the lever to push 2 opposing magnets toward one another will indeed generate electricity, though not as much as rotating a flywheel.  The coils located near the stationary magnet will transduce electricity each time the moving magnet warps the stationary magnet's field.  Each time the lever pushes the moving magnet toward the stationary magnet, both fields warp, triggering the coils.

Because the magnets repell one another, pushing the lever up on the short end, while the wind pushes the the short end down, you get two opposing forces battling one another.  If either force overpowers the other, movement will stop and electric generation will stop.  Because the wind does not work steadily like an electric fan, there will always be a variance in the wind's force from moment to moment.  Rarely does the wind blow at a steady speed with no variance.  If that were the case, trees would not sway in the breeze, they would lean and stop moving.

It is that variance in wind speed that will operate this setup, not so much the wind speed.  Because we're using a lever, a light breeze can put a lot of force at the short end, forcing two opposing magnets toward one another, warping both fields.  With this setup, there is no need to actuate the blade pitch.  Small gusts of wind work the long end of lever, the magnet's opposing fields work the short end in the opposite direction.  The length of the lever and blade size must be balanced against the strength of the opposing magnets.  If that balance is achieved, each fluctuation in wind speed will generate electricity.

To me, this looks to be an inexpensive, uncomplicated way to generate electricity at ground, or roof, level, where the wind usually is not strong enough to spin a turbine.  With the exception of the magnets themselves, the materials to build each lever will be easy to obtain for little to no cost.  I see no reason this should make a lot of noise, especially if foam is placed between the magnets to keep them from clacking when a strong gust hits.  It could be built from clear plastic to make it less noticible to neighbors.  It should outperform a wind belt and operate more quietly to boot.  More levers can be added as finances and time allow, eventually leading to an ever larger portion of electric generation from wind.  Each lever setup need not be excessively large, either.

For people who can not install a wind turbine, like those in HOA's or in cities/towns with ordinances against them and folks who can not afford the expense of a tower and turbine, this may be one of the few wind power options available.

I realize it operates differently than we're used to seeing and is therefore not so predictable.  But, if you want to accomplish something different than you've seen, you're going to have to do something different from what you've seen done before.

This is on my project list for this summer.  We'll see what it takes to make a usable amount of power from this setup.

Offline Jakevf

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #21 on: March 02, 2013, 05:18:14 PM »
After studying the GAP motor, it appears that using the lever to push 2 opposing magnets toward one another will indeed generate electricity, though not as much as rotating a flywheel.  The coils located near the stationary magnet will transduce electricity each time the moving magnet warps the stationary magnet's field.  Each time the lever pushes the moving magnet toward the stationary magnet, both fields warp, triggering the coils.

Because the magnets repell one another, pushing the lever up on the short end, while the wind pushes the the short end down, you get two opposing forces battling one another.  If either force overpowers the other, movement will stop and electric generation will stop.  Because the wind does not work steadily like an electric fan, there will always be a variance in the wind's force from moment to moment.  Rarely does the wind blow at a steady speed with no variance.  If that were the case, trees would not sway in the breeze, they would lean and stop moving.

It is that variance in wind speed that will operate this setup, not so much the wind speed.  Because we're using a lever, a light breeze can put a lot of force at the short end, forcing two opposing magnets toward one another, warping both fields.  With this setup, there is no need to actuate the blade pitch.  Small gusts of wind work the long end of lever, the magnet's opposing fields work the short end in the opposite direction.  The length of the lever and blade size must be balanced against the strength of the opposing magnets.  If that balance is achieved, each fluctuation in wind speed will generate electricity.

To me, this looks to be an inexpensive, uncomplicated way to generate electricity at ground, or roof, level, where the wind usually is not strong enough to spin a turbine.  With the exception of the magnets themselves, the materials to build each lever will be easy to obtain for little to no cost.  I see no reason this should make a lot of noise, especially if foam is placed between the magnets to keep them from clacking when a strong gust hits.  It could be built from clear plastic to make it less noticible to neighbors.  It should outperform a wind belt and operate more quietly to boot.  More levers can be added as finances and time allow, eventually leading to an ever larger portion of electric generation from wind.  Each lever setup need not be excessively large, either.

For people who can not install a wind turbine, like those in HOA's or in cities/towns with ordinances against them and folks who can not afford the expense of a tower and turbine, this may be one of the few wind power options available.

I realize it operates differently than we're used to seeing and is therefore not so predictable.  But, if you want to accomplish something different than you've seen, you're going to have to do something different from what you've seen done before.

This is on my project list for this summer.  We'll see what it takes to make a usable amount of power from this setup.

I don't think this will work as well as a turbine strictly in terms of generating power. But it does seem to have some appealing qualities for the individual/diy scale.

what you're talking about is essentially a paddle wheel where the bottom half of the wheel is shrouded from the wind and the paddles or sails rotate continuously about an axle. Instead of having 4 or 5 sails on a shaft you have one that does it's thing then skips ahead to the start of it's next "power stroke" rather than spending half a revolution doing nothing. Both are feasible and a lot easier to design and get working than the giant 3-bladed turbines or a smaller equivalent, neither will operate as efficiently, but if you have the space that's not really a big deal.

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #22 on: March 17, 2013, 07:41:26 AM »
I'll be the first to admit these wind levers will never out perform a proper turbine in terms of total output or mechanical efficiency.  That said, they're going to be economically efficient, operate quietly, be able to operate at roof level, and should skirt the zoning restrictions on turbines in populated areas.  It should be simple to add more as time and money allow.  Eventually, I can see them sitting side by side at the peak of a roofline.  Maybe that many will contribute a usable amount of battery charging for a household.  I want to get this linked up with a pulse charger, so small inputs can be built up before discharging into the batteries.

This is just a passive part of a bigger system.  Considering that I believe they can be built for less than $10.00 each, if repurposed/scrap is used, why not do it?  It's bound to deliver $10.00 worth of electricity at some point after installation and it doesn't cost anything to operate.  It also will work in light breezes, which currently are not used at all to make any electricity.

I'm just looking to get energy affordably from light breezes at low elevation.  Anything coming in passively is better than nothing, so long as the cost of equipment is low and whatever energy generated can be stored.  By no means will this alone power the average home.  But, I believe it will out produce any other wind system I know of that operates at roof level over the course of a year and I guarantee it will out perform the usage of wind for any home in the world that has no system at all installed to make energy from wind.  ;D

Anyway, it's something we're exploring.

Offline rikkrack

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #23 on: April 26, 2013, 06:16:49 AM »
So I was digging around for something unrelated but found this. Is this what you are talking about. It doesn't have any up close details of the build though.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=J_lD06C0zXk

Offline mangyhyena

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #24 on: May 06, 2013, 06:05:18 PM »
That is similar and appears to work on the same principle.

Offline blademan

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Re: Wind-powered lever?
« Reply #25 on: May 25, 2013, 03:46:42 PM »
As for the wave energy, two proven ways work pretty well.
One using piezoelectric panels tethered to the seabed (or whatever the bottom of your water body is) that are reletively light and have lots of surface area and sway and deform in the tidal action, generating electricity.
   The other is a bouy-like design, its similar in concept to those shake lights. Its a floating cylinder that's hollow and lined with copper coils. It has a spring loaded magnetic traveler that is tetherd to the sea bed and is traped inside the inner part of the bouy. As the wave action moves up, it pulls the traveler down against the spring and through the coils. As the wave action goes down, the spring pushes the traveler up through the coils.
  Collection from either of these sources is a little expensive and involves running underwater cables to each individual unit. They work, but I'm not sure how efficient or cost efficient they are.