Windmills on my Mind
by, July 26th, 2010 at 10:24 PM (808 Views)
Lately I have been thinking of Windmills and Wind power. I get to pass a windmill farm on my way to work in Everret, PA every other week. It is in plain view of the Pennsylvania Turnpike just after the Somerset exit. I am always reminded of the movie "Warriors of the Wind", now called "Nausicaa", where the valley is filled with unique windmills for power.
An interesting idea came to me one day while passing this wind farm. I remembered seeing a street in Pittsburgh, PA where several small, about two feet tall, windmills were spinning away. I don't know if they were powering anything, but the thought of small windmills powering parking meters was funny to me. Then I began thinking about the differences between the large windmills or turbines and their smaller cousins. The large turbines rotate at a slow rate to generate power while the smaller turbines tend to spin much faster to generate their power.
Next, I wondered at the difference in power output for the size of turbine because I had an idea for engineers working on Hybrid and Electric cars. In my mind I was thinking of all the ways these engineers were using to improve the gas mileage of cars while trying to retain the range of these vehicles. Then I thought about the fact that a car in motion creates a lot of wind. In fact, aerodynamic drag is one of the forces that reduces gas mileage. Well, what if we could recapture some of that lost energy through some sort of windmill system intergrated into the vehichles design.
My first inpulse was to design some kind of layered roof with a gap inside that allowed air to pass through a series of micro turbines that could be used to recharge the car as you drive, kind of like the self winding watch. Then I thought some more. Why does it have to make use of a traditional windmill structure. Could we make use of some kind of spring balance scales on the roof that would flutter in the wind of the cars passage and have an interesting astetic appearence. Really, any kind of system that could translate the wind energy into electrical energy would work.
So now I am tossing it out to the engineers, can you guys come up with a system that makes use of the wind a car creates to charge the electric battery of the car. In addition, can you make it look good as well, form and function. Please let me know if this sparks any ideas.