Sunday, January 06, 2008

Wind again

The other day, I found a news item about a novel wind power company, Motorwind. The product looks like a toy and is priced like a toy, but the output is anything but.

In the same spirit, I bought a toy to measure our wind resource. The September issue of Gakken's magazine has a wind meter for 1,260 yen, significantly cheaper than a 'real' wind meter at 12,000 yen.

I put the wind meter together with help from the young master, and we took the thing outside. Gratifyingly, the little propeller went around like crazy, and the reading immediately went straight off the paper cylinder dial. 4 is the highest mark on the dial, and this apparently equals a wind speed of 5.5 to 8.0 m/s. This is in keeping with the wind map for our area which shows an annual average of 5.5 to 6.0 m/s at the red blob where our house is located.

Apart from showing the wind speed, my toy was very helpful in showing the direction of the wind, south to north, which is perpendicular to the axis of the sun (as Lucien Gambarota of Motorwind kindly explained to me when I emailed him).

The Motorwind product that interests me costs $199 (21,000 yen). It consists of 8 micro turbines with a generator rated 50W for 10m/s of wind. Daily production is 1.2 kWh. That is amazingly cheap alternative energy, assuming it works as advertised.

I figure that a row of 8 turbines will fit nicely on one of the uprights of our balcony. Once the current is passed through a battery to set the voltage level, it can go into the grid in the same way as our solar generated power.

This is the sort of cheap, smart solution that will revolutionize renewable energy and free people from fossil fuel. If our wind power works out, I'll be aiming to promote this solution to all of our neighbours and friends.
With Inchodon on the roof of his clinic in Masaki-cho. The wind measured 3-4 - probably adequate for generating some power. However, since the clinic is in a very built-up area, there's concern about disturbing the neighbours with noisy turbines.


damian said...

The blogger comment interface is in Japanese, I have tried three times to post and failed each time (I think), sorry if its getting annoying.

1. this concept looks promising.
2. where did you get that wind speed map from?

Rod said...


You succeeded 3 times in fact, but I moderate the comments to prevent spam, so they don't show up immediately. Sorry for the delayed gratification. I think Blogger has probably automatically assigned you a Japanese interface - it isn't a setting that I've assigned, so I assume you can change it.

The wind map came from this strange site about wind resources in selected Japanese harbours. Fortunately, we're close enough to Matsuyama harbour to be included.
I've searched in vain for something more detailed and more useful.

stew said...

Happy New Year

Those turbines look like a great idea! I googled it to see if anyone was using it, but there's only that bloke in the UK whose just got his. For yourself, since you've got the big solar rig, I'd imagine that you've already got a fair bit of the equipment you'd need to add microwind. Other readers may note that I'm not saying you're lucky to have such equipment, because I don't think luck has anything to do with it. It's a decision you made and something you had to pay for.

You said before that Yonden doesn't pay a good price for your power, which is a real shame. That's one area where Germany really has the right idea. There are mandates that force the big power companies to pay full price for home-generated power. Renewables are really taking off as a result.

For people without a grid intertie, 1.2kWh a day sounds close to what a 24hr ventilation system would use. Unlike lighting etc., mechanical ventilation will be on all the time. Wind power at 4am or when the house is empty could be put to good use. At 22 yen a kWh, the payback time for those turbines would be very short.

If you talk to the man in HK again, tell him to send some samples to Home Power magazine in the States. It would be a good way to get his message out.

I loved the Johnny Ball science-for-the-kids wind detector too.

Rod said...

Stew, happy New Year to you and yours. I'm sure it will be!

Here's another very interesting looking cheap solution, this time from Australia.
It's from the inventor of the Dirtsurfer, Graeme Attey (I found out about it when I was checking the latest Dirtsurfer news...)

I'm on their mailing list, so I'll do a post when I get some more info.

These ideas seem to be crying out for architects to incorporate stylishly in building designs.

damian said...

Thanks Rod. Its a location issue. When I was in Germany, the comment interface was in German.