My new Lubbock Texas home has
a lot of wind. I would love to be able to tap into that renewable energy resource.
However, my neighborhood home owner’s association has covenants which restrict the
installation of wind generators on tall towers. But, they would allow the
installation of wind mills on shorter towers as long as they were in the “old style”
windmill design, using steel or wood supports with multiple wood pickets forming the
propeller. What I would like to see is an electrical power producing wind generator
specifically designed for these older style windmills. I would imagine that the
shaft speed of such a device will be much lower than a conventional wind generator but
would produce a higher torque. Maybe the diameter of the blades could be as large as
20 feet. To fully utilize the slow shaft speed, some kind of an efficient
transmission would be needed between the propeller shaft and the alternator. Perhaps
a two stage planetary gear with an overall speed reduction of about 20:1 would work.
The propeller of the mill might only spin at 300 RPM while the alternator would spin at
6,000 RPM. Although the slower propeller spin would mean a reduction in overall
efficiency, it still might be possible to crank out a few kilowatts of power in a stiff
There is some beauty in these
old wind mills. You can still find them on farms and ranches scattered over the
world. They were mostly used to pump water. My water well is pretty deep, so I
would rather use electricity produced by one of these things to supply my water needs.
I would tie the output of the wind generator alternator to a grid tied inverter, so any
excess electricity generated would cause my power meter to run backwards. It would
certainly be an interesting project, mixing old technology with the new.