RIDICULOUSLY LARGE WINDMILL FTW

Entertainment Editor
03.25.10

No, not like that.

When it comes to wind turbines, larger tends to be better (your sister told me that).  Doubling the diameter of the blades can theoretically quadruple the power generated.  But the industry-standard windmill, three blades directly turning a generator, tends to create too much torque at diameters larger than 150 meters.  Handling the amount of torque required increases the expense enough to make a larger windmill of this type impractical.  Still awake?

A new type of windmill has been proposed by Seamus Garvey, the professor of dynamics at the University of Nottingham.  Wait, Nottingham is a real place?  Does this mean my hero, Robin Hood the fox, is real?  Yes, absolutely he is; let me have this one thing.

My turbine is dramatically different: a horizontal-axis machine with eight blades — four long and four short. A floating framework replaces the tower, and it converts wind power internally within the blades. Think of a bicycle wheel rotating slowly, and a loose bead on each spoke. The beads represent pistons traveling back and forth inside tubes in the blades, compressing air as they do so. […]  Energy-storage capability comes as an added bonus. I am suggesting “energy bags” held down on the ocean floor with ballast weights about 600m below the surface. [TimesOnline via NBF]

This type of windmill can be built in the ocean, at sizes much larger than existing windmills.  It’s insanely huge, as demonstrated in the videos below.  I can’t tell if this is a great idea or the thing that’s going to finally awake the Kraken.  I’m cool with either.

A video about the “energy bags”, which can store one megawatt hour per £10,000 ($14827 US, €11,155), can be viewed at NextBigFuture.

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