Our property gets a fair amount of wind, but it comes in gusts and swirls around in different directions because of the rolling topography and many tall trees. In short, this makes our site less than ideal for traditional wind power.
But when the wind blows, I still think of getting electricity from it.
Is there an outside-of-the-box-way of harnessing all this power?
For a few weeks, I've been thinking that I needed the equivalent of a full wave rectifier
for the wind.
As I was doing the dishes yesterday, I looked out the window at a tall eucalyptus tree. I noticed that the wind was causing the top portion of the tree to sway back and forth, like a large metronome
"Add a rope to the top of that and there's my rectifier."
Stay with me...
The other night, our power went out [again---welcome to the Far North of New Zealand]. I grabbed my trusty LED shake light
, gave it a few shakes and turned it on. The generator in this flashlight is small, but it's the idea
that counts. Why don't we use it more often to increase our independence from criminal energy corporations?
Here it is: Tie a long rope to the top of that tall eucalyptus tree. From the rope, suspend a big permanent magnet. Surround the magnet with a big, stationary copper coil. Arrange the thing so that when the top of the tree oscillates in the wind, the magnet moves up and down through the coil.
On the one hand, it seemed like a new and weird generator idea, but on the other hand, it seemed like deja vu... It took me a minute to remember where I'd seen this before. While I was spacing out, looking at that tree blowing in the wind, an echo of a story I'd read long ago must have somehow registered: permanent magnet linear generator buoy
This idea of mine is a land based permanent magnet linear generator. Instead of the rising and falling swell of the ocean, the massive, swaying tree would drive the generator. In the above article, flip the diagram upside down and tie the mooring cable to the top of one of my hundred foot tall trees. Here's a 1 minute hack job visual aid:
Now, how much juice would, say, a 100 pound magnet, moving through, say, 200 pounds of copper coil generate? A lot, is my guess.
Maybe it would be better to use a mechanism like a free wheel
from an old bicycle to crank a generator rotor. That would only work on the "recoil" phase of the tree... unless you had two generators... Hmm.
I don't know the answer to questions like these. I read spy novels during my highschool physics class. I wish I'd paid more attention now.
If you build one of these, please let me know how it goes.