MOTHER's Newsworthies: William Heronemus, Dr. Herbert Leon Newbold and Pat Straub

Learn how William Heronemus is an opponent of nuclear power; Dr. Herbert Leon Newbold, is an internist, psychiatrist, teacher, novelist and author of medical nonfiction; and Pat Straub, who is the wife of Oregon Govenor Robert Straub, practices the happy health policies she preaches.

| May/June 1979

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    William Heronemus advocates the use of wind power as an alternative energy source.

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Brief: William Heronemus

During his 20 years with the US. Navy, William Heronemus worked long and hard to help develop the nuclear sub marine. Largely because of that fact the "retired" naval officer is today a knowledgeably vocal opponent of nuclear power ... and one of the nation's strongest advocates of alternative energy sources.

Say "wind power" to Bill Heronemus, and you'll reap a whirlwind of facts and figures and potentials in response. This man, now a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Massachusetts, is a perpetual idea machine when it comes to possible uses of air motion for heating, cooling, and electricity.

Since there are more windy days than sunny ones in many northern areas of the U.S. and Canada, Bill says, wind power may be even more practical in those regions than is solar energy ... although ideally the two "alternatives" should work well together. The professor's "Wind Furnace," for, example, consists of a 32 1/2 foot, three-bladed wind turbine on a 60-foot mast and also incorporates solar plate collectors. The combined system currently provides at least 80 percent of the warmth needed (even in chilly Amherst, Massachusetts) at Solar Habitat I, an energy-conservative house designed to demonstrate the Wind Furnace's operation. Water in an insulated thermal storage tank is heated both by the solar collectors and by wind-generated electricity that's fed to resistance heaters immersed in the liquid ... which, in turn, circulates through a series of conventional baseboard hot water convectors.

A second system undergoing laboratory trials uses a wind-driven "churn" that (by mechanical action alone, which is less expensive than the electrical methods) stirs an antifreeze/water mixture in a storage tank to just under the boiling point.

What we can accomplish with wind power depends partly upon the size of the propellers we put up ("Properly designed, a 40-foot wheel can be beautiful," says Bill), so maximum potential can probably be realized only if the utility companies are persuaded to participate. Heronemus visualizes monster wind rigs floating offshore, for example: "bridges turned on end," with multiple giant blades Mat will seize and transmit the immense power of the coastal blasts to provide much of the energy required by the eastern states. The northern plains are another area where "big blows" are sufficiently strong and frequent to generate an alternate (and inexhaustible) source of electrical power.

"There's no end to the kinds of applications that are feasible," says Heronemus. "All that's required to accomplish them is a 24-hour day ... and an indefinite life span!"Preston Gralla.   

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