Wind Turbine Resources at Mezzacello

Wind Turbine Resources at Mezzacello

Wind Turbine Resources at Mezzacello
Line Drawings and dimensions of the specific wind turbine I use.

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!

Hidden Costs

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:

  • Wires
  • 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!

The War of the Winds

The War of the Winds

War of the winds

The War of the Winds, or the Long and Windy Road. This is a quick video of the dueling windmills at Mezzacello. The traditional horizontal axis windmill (in the foreground) was my first choice for generating power fro wind. I switched to vertical axis, and I am glad I did.

I will keep running tests of the X axis windmill, but I am not holding out much hope. There just isn’t enough pressure from wind in the city at 3 meters above the ground. The X axis generator is only effective above 50 meters where the wind pressures are more constant and extreme.

The Y axis windmills (atop the bioreactor) are FAR more efficient at creating rotational movement in low wid due to their massive amount of surface area in direct line of the wind. These bad boys turn in winds as small as 9KPH at 3 meters.

Zoning Out

The other benefit of the Y axis or Savonius windmills is that they come in under the 14′ (4.27M) height restriction in the city. Anything taller and I would be in violation with zoning and city code. The height at the tip of the taller y Axis wind turbine? 13’9″.

This was a low breeze day. windspeed was just over pKPH and you can clearly see how much more efficient the y Axis windmills are compared to the X Axis at this height. The X Axis windmill is a grumpy cat. But it was a great learning opportunity.

Sources and Adaptations

I bought the y Axis wind turbines on Amazon last summer. They were easy to install. They have already evolved the design as well, now it is an undulating blade, I assume to increase edges to catch wind.

Mounting them was pretty easy. I just used 1-1/2″ steel threaded conduit and a standard 1-1/2″ steel flange. I had to drill out the holes in the flange to fit the rated bolt diameter to secure the wind turbine base to the flange. And then I just secured the 10′ conduit to the bioreactor with four clamps.

Safety Note! The holes will drill out beautifully with a carbide drill bit, but you MUST secure the flange in a vice before you start drilling. Do not ask me how I know this.