Windplants: Learn About Wind Power

Bill Smith provides a windplant design service and Mike Evans shares information on his more efficient windplant designs in a special windplant section of MOTHER EARTH NEWS No 32.
March/April 1975
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Now that a goodly percentage of the earth's human population is finally beginning to realize the finite nature of the planet's fossil fuel reserves, the search for more efficient windplant designs has suddenly grown even more intense and a sampling of the latest work in the field is shown on the pages that follow. 

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Back around 1931, Marcellus Jacobs (see the Plowboy Interview in MOTHER EARTH NEWS NO. 24) designed a wind-driven generator of electricity. It was good. So good that now — over 40 years later — every commercially successful windplant currently being manufactured anywhere in the world is still more or less a Chinese copy of Jacobs' unit.

Over the decades, of course, many other inventors have tried to improve — or replace — the Jacobs windplant with modifications of the basic unit or completely new designs of their own. Not a single one seems to have had much luck in that endeavor ... so far but that hasn't discouraged a steady stream of new experimenters from trying to beat Marcellus at his own game year after year after year.

Now that a goodly percentage of the earth's human population is finally beginning to realize the finite nature of the planet's fossil fuel reserves and is interested in learning more about wind power, the search for more efficient windplant designs has suddenly grown even more intense ... and a sampling of the latest work in the field is shown on the pages that follow.

A Windplant Design Service

We have a service to offer anyone building a windplant: complete design of the blades (with templates) plus generator, transmission, and tower strength considerations. Just provide the following information:

[1] Average power needed, in watts

[2] Average wind at site, in mph

[3] Average temperature at site, in degrees F

[4] Altitude of site, in feet

[5] Type of transmission

[a] direct drive

[b] gear

[c] timing belt

[d] V belt

[6] Number of shafts in transmission

[7] Generator efficiency, if known (if not, just give nameplate data)

The cost of the full service is $5.00, and we'll also rent you a wind velocity meter for $1.00 plus $5.00 returnable deposit.

The Wind Power Digest

There's a lot going on in the field of wind power these days ... and folks who are trying to keep abreast of current developments might want to check out a new publication, Wind Power Digest, edited by Mike Evans of Bristol, Indiana. Mike describes the first issue now available as "really an access catalog to wind power systems, designed to convey as much general information as possible ... and hopefully to encourage a reader response cycle to keep the magazine going." Whether or not that happens, Wind Power Digest No.1 may turn out to be something of a collector's item if it lives up to its table of contents:

[1] Photographs, drawings, and informational reviews of all available electric-generating and water-pumping windmills, including Aerowatt, Dunllte, Electro, Winco, Lubing, Jacobs, Dempster, Baker, and Aermotor. Also listed are four windplant designs now being researched for possible marketing: American Wind Turbine, Zephyr Wind Dynamo, Sailwing, and Helion 12/16.

[2] A Plans section including reviews of the Sencenbaugh 02 Powered Delight, Windworks, Sailwing, and 1 Footer, Earthmind's S-Rotor, Brace Research S-Rotor, and a number of other miscellaneous plans.

[3] A look at Jim Sencenbaugh's new windplant kit.

[4] Listings of various wind systems components, including batteries. inverters. miscellaneous, electronics, towers, back-up generators, and windspeed measurement equipment.

[5] Listings of 18 companies which now market various wind power systems and components.

[6] Reviews of the 14 most valuable publications currently available in the wind power field.

[7] Reports on the groups researching wind power, including a complete rundown on the activities of Brace Research Institute during the past 14 years.

[8] Several features, including Bill Goddard's "An Introduction to Helion", an interview with Environmental Energies of Detroit, and an article by Winnie Red Rocker.

That's a lot of useful material right there and Mike is prepared to leave it at that if he must. He'd much prefer to publish regularly, however, and is all set to do so if No. 1 is well received. Which means, alternative energy freaks, that the future of Wind Power Digest is up to you.

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