Friday, March 19, 2010

Cool Technology of the Week

My parents recently moved to a new home on a hillside in Southern California. It has a great view and frequent gentle breeze. My father and I were talking about windpower as means of adding green energy to their property. Green energy sounded great, but I was not sure it was ready for the mainstream of the average homeowner. It's not as if you can buy wind turbines or Bloom boxes at Home Depot.

Whoops - it never pays to bet against the rapid advancement of technology. You can buy a complete home wind turbine at Lowe's right now for under $600.

The Southwest Windpower 400 Watt Wind Generator generates 400 Watts at 28mph, has 3 Carbon fiber composite blades to ensure low wind noise, and electronic torque control for overspeed protection up to 110mph

What can you do with 400 watts?

Remember back to physics - Watts= Amps * Voltage i.e. work is done at a rate of one watt when one ampere flows through a potential difference of one volt. 1W=1V×1A

In my cool technology of the week on February 26, I outlined my effort to replace the light bulbs in my house with high efficiency LEDs.

I've found that I can light an entire room brightly with 50 watts of LED power (each 40 watt equivalent bulb uses only 8 watts to generate 350 lumens of light)

That means I could easily light my entire home with wind power.

Hey Dad, maybe wind power from Lowe's for Father's Day?


Anonymous said...

At $0.10/kilowatt-hour buying your power off the grid, you'd pay for the turbine in about 2 years with if you have a 28 MPH wind continuously...*%240.1%2F%28KW*hour%29%29

Anonymous said...

Wind with a solar component is a great way to power LEDs. You can get both solar and wind kits from the big box home improvement shops as well as Northern Tool or Tractor Supply online or from their stores. Its the battery configuration that gives you the most bang for the buck when powering LEDs, radio or well pumps.

Unknown said...

Wow - What an idea and kudos to technology! Now I will find out some similar idea to effectively "energize" my apartment in India at a very low cost :) !!Srini

Jonathan Krasner said...

This looks like an interesting technology; however I believe that there are very few places that have 28MPH winds continously.

A similar turbine (small in size), that is vertical instead of horizontal is made by I believe it works well in winds of only 12 MPH.

Gary M. Levin said...

Thank you John, this was a great summary of what is available. Don't forget to tell your Dad to get a newer electric meter. If he has surplus power, which he may have at certain periods of the day, he will get credits from the great power grid. And a Merry Christmas to you.