Wind Turbine Resources at Mezzacello
The Wind Turbine Resources at Mezzacello are a constant point of interest. I think they are very cool and effective for use in the city. They are optimized to run in low wind conditions and they produce a good amount of energy.
I bought these wind turbines from Amazon (here) and they are surprisingly affordable. But there are hidden costs that you should be aware of. And the instructions are often in Chinese with pictures, Ha!
When the wind turbine ships the box contains
- The windmill core with three wires protruding
- Those three wires are part of the three phase motor and NOT a ground
- The five blades
- Four screws
- A charge converter
That’s it. You will need a great deal more than that to take advantage of these windmills though. You’ll also need
- A mounting plate
- A pole
- A way of sinking the pole in the ground or attaching it to a structure with an airflow around it.
- Devices to help you store a charge
- Grounding wire
- A system for keeping everything securely mounted to the pole
These extraneous charge storing devices are the real hidden costs. For example, I used simple 1.5″ galvanized steel conduit with threaded ends in 10′ sections for my poles. I used off the shelf conduit bases as the mounting plates. I used the Compost Engine tower to mount them for stability.
Poor boys have poor ways, after all. The wiring was tiring. So much wire to the batteries and controllers and so many zip ties!
The additional resources at the storage and inversion end were pretty extensive and expensive as well. They included:
- A charge controller
- Connectors that are secure AND waterproof AND detachable
- A battery array $$$
- More wires
- A storage system to keep batteries warm/cool/dry
- And if you want to use that power with everything devices, an inverter $$$
- You’ll also need a ton of mounting hardware for all of that
This Is One of the Surprises of Homemade Power
We do not think about the true costs of developing energy for ourselves. There is a vast amount of infrastructure that just exists for us already that we can tap into. If you have ever done any basic programming from scratch, you’ll get it.
Educating and Encouraging, Not Discouraging
Please don’t be discouraged from trying this for yourselves. It is not easy, but it is fun! Also make sure you are not in violation of height restrictions in your town or city.
These types of windmills work GREAT at about 40 meters in the air, but that is ILLEGAL in a city (like where I live) so, I keep mine just under the legal height limit of 14 ft (4.3m) and at least 20 ft (6m) from existing power lines. So the fact that these work relatively well in low winds closer to ground level is a bonus.
Next Steps and Future Plans
My next design iteration is going to be trying the savonius style wind turbine. It is a similar system to this “flower wind turbine” but its blades are more compacted and catch winds better at low speeds. It also had one major drawback; height.
The Savonius style wind turbines are almost a meter high (3 ft) and therefor are a bit more difficult to integrate into an urban landscape easily. Whereas the “flower” design is squatter. So I need to figure out how I can get them good air and stay beneath the legal height limit. The savonius system is also heavier and costs $100 USD more.
I knew I needed a couple of these, so I made informed choices, but I am curious how the sleeker design would work. of course will keep you updated. So stay tuned!