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Old 11-27-07, 09:03 AM   #1
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MagLev Wind Turbine, said to be as "powerful" as 1500 regular turbines

http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/11/26/...urbine-maglev/

There was an article about a year ago on a Japanese researcher who had figured out a way to make a wind turbine with virtually zero friction using magnetic levitation. Apparently, it's now come to fruition.

A maglev wind turbine has actually been created and they've now started building a facility to manufacture them in China.

For comparison, to power approximately 750,000 homes (the amount 1 MagLev turbine can power):

Current Wind Turbines
-----------------------------
* Would require 1500 regular wind turbines
* The turbines would occupy 96,000 acres

MagLev Wind Turbine
------------------------------
* Would require only 1
* Would occupy 100 acres
* Has a claimed 50% decrease in operational cost over the regular turbines

No idea how accurate their numbers are but if it's even 1/10 accurate, this is a HUGE improvement over current wind turbine capacity.
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Old 11-27-07, 10:51 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by donrhummy View Post
http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/11/26/...urbine-maglev/
...
A maglev wind turbine has actually been created and they've now started building a facility to manufacture them in China.

For comparison, to power approximately 750,000 homes (the amount 1 MagLev turbine can power):
....
No idea how accurate their numbers are but if it's even 1/10 accurate, this is a HUGE improvement over current wind turbine capacity.
This story sounds like a few facts and a lot of P.R. dreams.

The article notes that-
Quote:
... Construction began on the world’s largest production site for maglev wind turbines in central China on November 5, 2007. Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Technology has invested 400 million yuan in building this facility, which will produce maglev wind turbines with capacities ranging from 400 to 5,000 Watts. ...
Ummm, 5000 watts doesn't sound like it's gonna power 750,000 homes real well.


I was not aware that bearing frictional losses were any major restriction to wind power.
The two main uses I've heard of for magnetic suspension is for lab equipment that turns at very-high RPM's (like, 100,000+ RPM's), and for the Japanese maglev trains.
The trains use it mostly for suspension, not because frictional losses prevent them from propelling a regular wheel-and-axle train by conventional means to 300 mph.

A couple things I DO know however--
Firstly, a windmill is limited in power output to the cross-section of the area it can directly sweep--and secondly, vertical-axis windmills have been generally discarded for horizontal-axis types because all the blades of a vertical-axis windmill don't get direct wind all the time.
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Old 11-27-07, 11:55 AM   #3
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Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Technology has invested 400 million yuan in building this facility, which will produce maglev wind turbines with capacities ranging from 400 to 5,000 Watts. In the US, Arizona-based MagLev Wind Turbine Technologies will be manufacturing these turbines. Headed by long-time renewable energy researcher Ed Mazur, the company claims that it will be able to deliver clean power for less than one cent per kilowatt hour with this new technology. It also points out that building a single giant maglev wind turbine would reduce construction and maintenance costs and require much less land than hundreds of conventional turbines. The estimated cost of building this colossal structure is $53 million.
400 million yuan is roughly equal to about $78 isn't it?
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Old 11-27-07, 07:56 PM   #4
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400 million yuan is roughly equal to about $78 isn't it?
Before or after the devaluation of the dollar

(actually it is about 54 million usd.)

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Old 11-27-07, 08:38 PM   #5
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They may have a technology to make one enormous wind machine instead of lots of little ones. But it's not like conventional wind machines lose 99% of their power to friction. They DO have bearings, it's not big wood windmill-gears in there.
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Old 11-27-07, 08:40 PM   #6
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Easy "super-duper energy breakthrough" acid test: Where's the heat?

If it was an improvement in blade efficiency or a generator breakthrough, that could conceivably be argued to result from currently uncaptured energy, but this time it's bearings, a friction loss component. If friction is the culprit, then we should be seeing an amount of energy greater than, or at least equal to (to be conservative), that efficiency improvement currently being lost as heat. If that much heat would, in this case, convert the bearings into a glowing, liquid state, then the claim is probably overstated.

[edit] Ha! StephenH beat me to the friction...
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Old 11-27-07, 09:40 PM   #7
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The article is doing a bait and switch job. It starts out discussing magnetic bearings (which are not new technology) and postulates a wind turbine of a completely different blade design as being some fantastic breakthrough. But the giant super wind turbine hasn't been designed, let alone built. And the Chinese factory is going to make small wind turbines that will generate about enough power to run a couple hair dryers. Not 750,000 houses. At least not 750,000 American houses with 2.5 hair dryers each.
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Old 11-28-07, 09:28 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
Before or after the devaluation of the dollar

(actually it is about 54 million usd.)

Aaron
Isn't the yuan still pegged to the US dollar?
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Old 11-28-07, 11:14 AM   #9
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Isn't the yuan still pegged to the US dollar?
Not since July 21, 2005, when its value became pegged to "a basket of currencies".

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...gged+to+dollar
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Old 11-28-07, 12:37 PM   #10
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Ummm, 5000 watts doesn't sound like it's gonna power 750,000 homes real well.
Must be MW. Earlier it says up to one gigawatt.

And you really can't compare new bearings to old bearings. This is a totally new design. Maybe magnetic bearings allow them to build something this big.

How long before one gets built? Five years? Eight?
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Old 11-28-07, 07:13 PM   #11
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Must be MW. Earlier it says up to one gigawatt.

And you really can't compare new bearings to old bearings. This is a totally new design. Maybe magnetic bearings allow them to build something this big.

How long before one gets built? Five years? Eight?
Just for reference, the Hoover Dam's published power production rating is two gigawatts.
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Old 11-28-07, 08:32 PM   #12
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What scares me about the Maglev is its sheer size... once again the power of the megaproject.

Another windmill design I've heard of is the Dutch "Turby" which is designed for urban rooftops, small scale, relatively quiet... It is about 10feet by 6. It is priced around 11,466 Euros (which may be a gazillion USD by now... but that's another story...)

"Turby is a revolutionary vertical axis wind turbine designed for use in an urban or built-up environments. It is a 2.5 kilowatt wind generator designed for high rooftops and can generate enough electricity to reduce the electric bill of a typical home by two thirds. The Turby has 3 helically shaped composite blades located at a fixed distance from the shaft. It has very low vibrations, very low noise level and an excellent efficiency."
-quoted from http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/e...vertical_.html
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Old 11-28-07, 08:40 PM   #13
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MagLev Wind Turbine
------------------------------
* Would require only 1
* Would occupy 100 acres
* Has a claimed 50% decrease in operational cost over the regular turbines

No idea how accurate their numbers are but if it's even 1/10 accurate, this is a HUGE improvement over current wind turbine capacity.
I'll believe it when I see it.

I think it's quite possible an advance like this will take place in wind power, but I also think it's quite possible it won't. Until they have it built, they won't know how well it will work. Right now all I can say for it is, it sounds more plausible than the claims I've heard of a rocket to the moon that can be built in my backyard for a few thousand bucks.
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Old 11-28-07, 11:48 PM   #14
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Math is fun, too. Currently constructed wind farms average around 5000 watts per acre, in optimal conditions. 5000 watts x 96,000 acres comes up short of the 1 gigawatt equivalency claim by 52%. You think they'd take the opportunity to stack the deck in their favor, but oops, they came up short by more than half.

They sure didn't pass up the chance with 1,000,000,000 watts powering 750,000 homes! That's 1,333 watts each, two thirds of enough power to run my toaster.

Peak operating windspeed is claimed to exceed 40 meters per second. Well, that's 90 mph. One gigawatt of power produced at 90 mph windspeed. All we need is a year-round hurricane to build it in, and we're set!

Squatting on 100 acres, we'd have a 2,355 foot diameter skyscraper.

Not just any skyscraper, but by far the tallest building on Earth if that picture's anywhere near scale! Not just the tallest, it would also be far wider than the current tallest building is tall! And it spins! The billions of dollars worth of raw materials float on a cushion of magnetic repulsion, making it the largest single moving object ever built! For $53 million dollars. Sounds like pocket change all of a sudden.
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Old 11-29-07, 08:07 AM   #15
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I agree that this story and the giant windmill is complete vaporware, however it will be interesting to see if the smaller "consumer grade" windmills can make it to market.

This type of vertical windmill is much less efficient than the traditional propeller style windmills because the wind is blowing over the other side of the windmill, which slows it down.

Fairly easy to build a small one yourself with some ducting, a couple plywood rounds, magnets and copper wire, however it's also pretty easy to build a traditional one yourself with pvc pipe, a treadmill motor and some threaded metal pipe. These are small output windmills and in no way are able to be used to get you off the grid. To do that you would either have to install many more windmills, or scale up the windmill into a 12' beheamouth with real wood blades.
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Old 11-29-07, 10:32 AM   #16
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I agree that this story and the giant windmill is complete vaporware, however it will be interesting to see if the smaller "consumer grade" windmills can make it to market.

This type of vertical windmill is much less efficient than the traditional propeller style windmills because the wind is blowing over the other side of the windmill, which slows it down.

Fairly easy to build a small one yourself with some ducting, a couple plywood rounds, magnets and copper wire, however it's also pretty easy to build a traditional one yourself with pvc pipe, a treadmill motor and some threaded metal pipe. These are small output windmills and in no way are able to be used to get you off the grid. To do that you would either have to install many more windmills, or scale up the windmill into a 12' beheamouth with real wood blades.
Any chance you could post a "how-to" online? Complete with exactly what parts to buy, pictures of how to do it, etc?
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Old 11-29-07, 12:57 PM   #17
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Any chance you could post a "how-to" online? Complete with exactly what parts to buy, pictures of how to do it, etc?
yeah, let me hunt through my bookmarks:

VAWT: http://www.instructables.com/id/Buil...-to-make-elec/


traditional pvc/treadmill motor turbine: http://www.mdpub.com/Wind_Turbine/index.html

I would recommend just buying the charge controller, unless you are pretty handy with electronics, otherwise the rest of the stuff is pretty basic.
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Old 11-29-07, 05:32 PM   #18
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Somewhere around here is a link to build a wind generator using an S-A Dynohub

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Old 11-29-07, 09:10 PM   #19
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http://otherpower.com/otherpower_wind.html

Scroll down. More than you ever wanted to know!
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Old 11-29-07, 10:10 PM   #20
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yeah, let me hunt through my bookmarks:

VAWT: http://www.instructables.com/id/Buil...-to-make-elec/


traditional pvc/treadmill motor turbine: http://www.mdpub.com/Wind_Turbine/index.html

I would recommend just buying the charge controller, unless you are pretty handy with electronics, otherwise the rest of the stuff is pretty basic.
Thanks, I haven't had a chance to go through all the details but is it a MagLev wind turbine?
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Old 11-30-07, 01:24 PM   #21
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probably in this case, using electrodynamic suspension to reduce the friction, but they haven't mentioned how they will overcome the inherent efficiency problems with the VAWT style turbine over a traditional turbine.

wiki on maglev trains which use the same technology:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maglev_train

personally, I think the future of windpower lies way up higher in the atmosphere where wind speed is constant. They just need to develop a technology to harness the power and transport it back to earth.

http://www.engadget.com/2006/01/31/f...mitless-power/

it overcomes the #1 problem with wind power, its reliability. However, we are probably 25-50 years away from that being a viable solution, so it will be a race over who comes out of vaporware phase first, the maglev VAWT or the jetstream windmill.
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Old 11-30-07, 01:31 PM   #22
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Thanks, I haven't had a chance to go through all the details but is it a MagLev wind turbine?
no, however, it wouldn't be to difficult to add maglev technology to the VAWT, but at that size I don't really see what the benefit would be, which is why I'm now questioning how successful they will be with the small scale versions of these.

Heck, Costco is selling traditional 400-900W traditional wind turbines right now. I doubt we'll see the turbines mentioned in the story within the next five years, if at all, but we'll see.
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Old 11-30-07, 02:43 PM   #23
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Not since July 21, 2005, when its value became pegged to "a basket of currencies".

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q...gged+to+dollar
As opposed to the dollar, which is in "the waste basket of currencies."
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Old 11-30-07, 02:52 PM   #24
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What scares me about the Maglev is its sheer size... once again the power of the megaproject.

Another windmill design I've heard of is the Dutch "Turby" which is designed for urban rooftops, small scale, relatively quiet... It is about 10feet by 6. It is priced around 11,466 Euros (which may be a gazillion USD by now... but that's another story...)

"Turby is a revolutionary vertical axis wind turbine designed for use in an urban or built-up environments. It is a 2.5 kilowatt wind generator designed for high rooftops and can generate enough electricity to reduce the electric bill of a typical home by two thirds. The Turby has 3 helically shaped composite blades located at a fixed distance from the shaft. It has very low vibrations, very low noise level and an excellent efficiency."
-quoted from http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/e...vertical_.html
That's more like it. Think about every household having a turby (or PV array) that produces, say, 30 per cent of their electricity. Then imagine every household also reducing usage of grid power by another 30 per cent through efficiency and conservation. All of a sudden the problems of global warming and peak fossil seem much less insurmountable--and with little decline in lifestyle.
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Old 11-30-07, 06:08 PM   #25
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no, however, it wouldn't be to difficult to add maglev technology to the VAWT, but at that size I don't really see what the benefit would be, which is why I'm now questioning how successful they will be with the small scale versions of these.

Heck, Costco is selling traditional 400-900W traditional wind turbines right now. I doubt we'll see the turbines mentioned in the story within the next five years, if at all, but we'll see.
The benefit is supposed to be that it can generate electricity at much, much lower wind speeds.
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