Category Archives: Windpower

Whalenado of Energy Savings from Biomimicry

This Winds-day’s Amazon product is a whale costume, Rasta Imposta Killer Whale, Black/White, One Size.

Perhaps you think this is nostalgia for Songs Of The Humpbacked Whale.

From Wikipedia: Songs of the Humpback Whale (album)

Songs of the Humpback Whale is a 1970 album produced by bio-acoustician Roger Payne. It publicly demonstrated for the first time the elaborate whale vocalizations of Humpbacks, and became the bestselling environmental album in history, selling over 100,000 copies. By raising awareness of the intelligence and culture of whales the album helped spawn a worldwide ”Save The Whales” movement, leading to the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment 10-year global moratorium on commercial whaling (observed by all but a few nations).

Holy Harpoon, Batman!

More importantly, the top selling album led to Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

And maybe it led to the recent publication of this Think Like A Tree video, What Can a Humpback Whale Teach a Wind Turbine?, also embedded below. Word of the day: “Tubercles.”

The story may still be around, but the whalepower website is in disarray, with no sign of activity on the windpower generation front. What happened to that? [Update: Seems there is some activity from licensee TEG this year, The Energy Generators – Products.]

Other applications, such as fans using the design, have found a big market with Whale-Power mentioned but under the Whalenado name, Whalenado Product Features.

One of the earliest news articles (2007), from The Toronto Star, local to the Whalepower inventor, has a detailed description of the technology’s benefits and a good answer to why the concept hasn’t taken off for generating power, A Whale of a Tale.

But even if WhalePower can prove beyond a doubt that its blade design is better, it doesn’t necessarily ensure success. Wind-turbine manufacturers can’t keep up with demand for current product, so there’s little incentive to dramatically alter the design of their blades – at least not yet. There’s also no incentive for banks to lend money to wind-farm projects taking a risk on a new blade design.

… [comparison to semiconductor business] …

WhalePower’s hope of retrofitting existing turbine blades – an estimated $50 billion worth around the world – could also prove a tough sell. Adler says retrofitting a blade with tubercles would void the warranty. “Who’s going to take that chance?”

Think about the timing, McFly. 2007 is when Whalepower begins making the eco circuit as a windpower breakthrough. The next year, the global money system fell into chaos. It’s reasonable to assume that money for speculative enterprises blew away in the non-gentle financial breeze.

[Update: Again, seems like there is some recent commercial activity, based on this news item, TEG News about Whalepower license.]

Trolls & Tribulations for Missouri Wind & Solar

There seems to be a lower price on the Thames & Kosmos Wind Power 2.0 Amazon product this Winds-day. From the description:

“Gift-wrap available.”
“Electricity generating turbines”
“Build wind powered generators to energize your electric vehicles and charge your rechargeable batteries (permakent: in theory)”
“Kit includes two styles of wind turbine blades and a gearbox with three different gear ratios for experimenting.”
“Explore this amazing free source of renewable energy”
“Kit comes with everything you need”

I bet Jeff Harmon at Missouri Wind and Solar, who has a popular YouTube channel for the topic, wishes it had a troll repeller. Some folks had been tormenting him on the Internet, perhaps because of foreign trade issues? See Jeff talk about it last December,

Click for related page at Atari Mania

Also see Jeff visit one of his suppliers, Missouri Wind and Solar visits Helios America Solar Panel Factory, a manufacturer in the United States.

For home windpower newbies, Jeff explains the basics, Wind turbines for the beginner How to part one by Missouri Wind and Solar (also embedded below):

Farmscrapers Stack Agriculture to the Sky

This Mound-day’s Amazon link is to a book by MacArthur “Genius” Fellow and professor of microbiology and public health in environmental health sciences at Columbia University, where he was a multiple Best Teacher award winner, Dr. Dickson Despommier.

It’s a Library Journal Best Book of 2010, with diverse endorsements ranging from The Huffington Post to Businessworld, even including Sting, who raved, “A world-changing innovation whose time has come. This visionary book provides a blueprint for securing the world’s food supply and at the same time solving one of the greatest environmental crises facing us today.”

The book is The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century

Popular “vlog bro,” Hank Green, posted an article at Eco Geek in 2009 about plans for a Manhattan high rise vertical farm, New Skyscraper Farm Mimics Nature.

Dystopian Farm vertical growth.
Inhabitat: Spiraling Skyscraper Farms for a Future Manhattan.

More recently, plans for a green skyfarm are being made in China, according to this video from Vidello Productions, Shenzen Farmscrapers Tower Concept Design, also embedded below.

EMP Resistant Wind and Solar Power System

The Winds-day product from Amazon to the left is an educational wind power demonstrator that will let the little scientists in your life experiment with energy from thin air, if it’s moving a bit.

The Solar Ark company has systems of varying sizes to keep most of your appliances going, even after an otherwise devastating EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) attack. A high altitude nuclear detonation wouldn’t cause much damage to buildings and people, but could take out your nation’s electrical grid.

Don’t expect the Solar Ark system to handle your washer/dryer, but it supports some heating and air conditioning. (As Paul Wheaton pointed out in the 2013 video from yesterday’s post, just using an old style incandescent light bulb can heat you up while it gives off light.) A fan uses a tenth of the energy compared to a window air conditioner.

These days an EMP attack could be accomplished by any number of adversaries, such as Iran, North Korea, or even ISIS. Here’s a dramatic, well produced video series about the electrical grid vulnerability in the U.S. from NRA News, “The Fight For Light.” It’s narrated by Lt Col Oliver North, well known energy expert (just kidding), but credible military fellow: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. This series has the most detail about the threats to the grid and attack aftermath scenario that I’ve seen. Physical attacks have taken place, multiple times at the same location, even after security was beefed up, leading analysts to assume that a disciplined group was at work, especially since they’ve never been caught.

In case you think a pro-gun-rights source is making it up, here’s a report from MSNBC and USA TODAY working together, advocates of gun restrictions, noting a similar threat, “The Threat Against America’s Power Grid.” They suggest getting prepped with information from FEMA.

Getting back to wind power, and on a big scale, the embedded video below, from The Daily Conversation, is described at YouTube, “Offshore wind farms can stop hurricanes, according to a recent study. We could also use them to power all of America.”

Wind Power Generation in Pahrump

See Pahrump with Andy
Andy and Bernie Show
This was just forwarded to me from J. Neil Schulman, a writer who made a feature film in Pahrump, Nevada with local Pahrump TV personality Andy Alberti in the cast.

Neil writes a blog at Rational Review.

The message from Andy Alberti has the subject line, “Finally a new maufacturing business is coming to Pahrump”:

“Wind Sail Receptor Company out of Henderson intends to open a manufacturing plant in Pahrump and employ about 90 workers by the end of the year, or so the news that is fit to print says.”

“The Company intends to make wind power turbine blades for use in homes and small businesses.”

“The Nevada commission on Economic development has authorized a $162,000 training grant for the company.”

“Nye county seems to have had no involvement nor has Pahrump since there was no mention of them in the news article announcing the move.”

Wind Sail Receptor video at YouTube.

Fuel Film Shows Oil Alternatives

  Fuel Film DVD
I turned on the radio this morning while visiting L.A. for relatives’ birthdays and heard an inspiring interview with Josh Tickell. He is screening his Sundance awarded Fuel movie to benefit KPFK Saturday, June 26, 2010. (Tomorrow as I post this.)

I was struck by the number of different solutions that were offered by the filmmaker. He reminded me that electricity costs a penny per mile instead of a dime or more for gasoline and that green sources can be selected by electricity consumers in one way or another.

He also made a point that concentrated energy providers lead to concentrated points of political power and suggested that energy created by individuals and community groups would empower them politically as well. At the least they would be more self-reliant and not dependent on the gas pump.

About the film, the Los Angeles Times said this in a review:

“Fuel is a vital, superbly assembled documentary…doesn’t dwell on muckraking, however; it’s more focused on broadly inspiring viewers than preaching to the converted….Smartly animated interstitials, memorable archival material and a lively soundtrack round out the fast-paced proceedings.”

Amazon said this about the DVD:

“Eleven years in the making, FUEL is the in-depth personal journey of filmmaker and eco-evangelist Josh Tickell, who takes us on a hip, fast-paced road trip into America’s dependence on foreign oil. Combining a history lesson of the US auto and petroleum industries and interviews with a wide range of policy makers, educators, and activists such as Woody Harrelson, Sheryl Crow, Neil Young and Willie Nelson. Animated by powerful graphics, FUEL looks into our future offering hope via a wide-range of renewable energy and bio-fuels. Winner of the Sundance Audience Award.”

The theatrical trailer at YouTube.

Wind and Solar Deported To Mexico?

  Solar Handbook
A recent Greentech Media headline dated May 26, 2010 asks, “Will California Put Its Wind Farms In Mexico?.”

“Thanks to complex state regulations and lower costs, California could start getting its power from south of the border.”

The same article takes on excessive solar regulation.

“. . .the state faces an even bigger problem: bureaucracy. Solar developers like BrightSource Energy have been squeezed because of regulations. Some developers already plan to build California power plants in Arizona to avoid dealing with the state’s Fish and Game Department.”

That point about building California power plants in Arizona is linked to a previous Greentech Media story from March, 2010, with the headline, “Is Bureaucracy Killing Solar?” The article describes a widely reported news item:

“A proposal from U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein to protect one million acres of the Mojave Desert last year caused wind and solar developers to roll up plans to build in the region.”

I wonder how up to date the following passage is given the boycott by some California cities protesting Arizona’s recent immigration law.

“Solar thermal developer Tessera Solar North America has already contracted to build plants in California but will likely shift to building future power plants for California in Arizona because of the time and expense involved in building in the Golden State. In other words, California will get green power but not as many green jobs as it might otherwise.”

So, big renewable energy projects are being outsourced to Mexico and Arizona (or maybe just Mexico).

California must have quite a budget surplus to be turning away all those filthy money paying green jobs.