Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Art of Energy Generation

Do you recall the art installation due to be erected down on Gants Hill roundabout and dubbed by locals as The Egg Whisk? Well, imagine my surprise when dopeyf sends me a link to a piece talking about Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT) which look like Egg Whisks. Of course they don’t all look like egg whisks, some of them are more like a drill bit or for the technically minded an Archimedes Screw. But let’s stick with the Egg Whisks.

Because they have a vertical axis they don’t need whopping great propellor blades, don’t have to be so big and don’t suffer from vibration and noise. According to the article, if a wind farm is designed properly, using these VAWTs the efficiency can be increased ten fold. Also by alternating the direction of spin the knock on wind turbulance is minimised. They are only about 30 feet tall and 4 feet in diameter and according to Dabiri “the global wind power available 30 feet off the ground is greater than the world's electricity usage, several times over," Full article here.

So, the counter to all those people currently objecting to bloody great 150 foot propellor turbines is to offer them an Art Installation on the Gants Hill model.

Elsewhere in the Energy news the government City is urging Centrica to withdraw its plans to build new Nuclear Power Stations while the brakes are put on nuclear trains running through Redbridge, but only for the Olympics.

And Why installing solar power looks increasingly attractive for homeowners.


  1. At thirty feet high, they no higher than the average tree in our back gardens, we could all have one, and generate enough power never to have to use the national grid, in fact probably contribute to it,this could be the "free Electricity" we were promised from nuclear power.

  2. Councils can generate significant energy savings for their residents if they adopt a model of bulk purchasing, according to the New Local Government Network.

    Going Dutch, a white paper published by the think-tank today highlights a recently launched scheme in the Netherlands. Met de Stroom Mee (Down the River) is a voluntary collaboration between two private individuals who use their professional experience to bulk buy energy and negotiate discounts. This resulted in a 20% saving in energy costs for households who took advantage of the scheme.

    NLGN is calling on councils to use their buying power in a similar way. The think-tank estimates that even a 10% saving in the UK would result in a £125 reduction in costs for consumers.

    White paper author Liam Scott-Smith said: ‘The beauty of this model is that the more people councils can get to participate, the cheaper fuel becomes. A 10% saving means a £125 cashback and 20% means a £250 rebate for consumers. If councils buy into this model, the potential for savings is massive.’

  3. Dear dopeyf: what happens when the wind don't blow?

  4. .... we call an emergency Council meeting?

  5. Really Weggis? Is hot air a substitute for wind then?

  6. it is with vertical axis wind turbines,1 meeting could probably power the town hall for a year.

  7. @Judith
    "what happens when the wind don't blow?"

    That's why we have a grid....

    ...and reservoirs for when it don't rain!

  8. But you can't store electricity, can you? So there needs to be a back-up supplier, using ???? fuel for when the winds don't blow.

  9. Dear Judith,
    Beware repeating "Straw Man" arguments.
    See the Principle of Conservation of Energy.

    Electrical energy cannot be stored AS electricity, but it can be converted to Potential energy (that is Stored energy) from whence it can be converted back to Electrical Energy when required.

  10. An excellent example is the Dinorwig pumped storage power station in Wales, which was built inside a mountain!

    It relies on the fact that a generator is the same thing as a motor in reverse. Off-peak electricity is applied to the generators which, in turn, drive the turbines backwards, thus pumping water up to a lake at the top of the mountain.

    The station's principle function is to cope with peaks in demand. When demand for electricity increases, the water is released, driving the six 300MW generators.

    If the station is operating in standby mode, with the turbines already spinning (in compressed air) it can be feeding the grid with 1,800MW within around 15 seconds of being switched on.

    To put it into context, that equates to over 50% of the total metered capacity of wind power in Great Britain. But even that doesn't show the true picture: 1,800MW is actually 50% greater than the 1,200MW actually being generated from wind as I write this - and it's quite a windy day today!