Friday, December 10, 2010

Another Way to Tilt at Windmills

Consider a circle of 100m radius. A breeze pushes air through it at a steady 36 km/hr. That represent wind blowing past with a total power content of ~ 20 GW *.

Following xxxx editorial slamming the practicalities of windfarms, it so happened I attended a brief talk on the potential for off-shore wind farming.

It proved to be an eye-opener. Not because the speaker was riveting (he wasn't), but for what he had to say about wind rotor technology; which was that no real innovations in design had occurred in nearly a century, and that a lot could be doen to rectify this.

Placement: putting the rotors *behind* the nacelle make the system a lot more responsive to wind changes, it also lends itself to:
Flexure: allowing the rotors to flex in response to the forces placed on it reduces the overall need for rigidity (ie weight)
Gearing: placing the motor at the bottom of the shaft further reduces the weight in the nacelle

* That reasonable figure translates to 3.14*100^2 * 29 *1000/22.4

Sunday, December 05, 2010

I'm Julian!

Reading about the recent games of whack-a-rat various folk have been playing with Wikileaks, I have an irrational desire to do a Tony Curtis and leap to my feet shouting "*I'm Spartacus!*".

Irrational because the Romans dealt with that particular display of mass defiance with brutal efficiency.

Still, the populace seem particularly dense when it comes to learning official lessons about championing the underdog. I think it's the satisfaction gained from tearing the mask from a hypocrite's face and holding a mirror up to it while saying "This is the real you. Deny it if you can!"