The Enerzeppelin

10 September 2008 at 22:50 | Posted in Energy Farm, Green Energy, Green Initiatives, Inventions, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy, Wind Power | Leave a comment
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[Category: Inventions. If you are new to my blog please read the “About itimes3” page first]

Wind tends to happen more higher up in the sky. You can build a windmill on a tall pole to capture the wind and generate electricity, but that means that you have a fixed location that needs extensive preparation, and the windmill is not going away for many years, so a lot of planning is required.

But what if we could launch a windmill that would capture the winds at the same height as commercial windmills, but could be packed up in an hour or less, and be redeployed elsewhere?

Enter the “Enerzeppelin”. The Enerzeppelin could be manufactured in different sizes, and in different configurations, depending on requirements and what investment people would want to make.

The basic concept is that of a zeppelin-shaped gas balloon, with, depending on windtunnel and practical research results, either a tunnel lenghtwise through its center which would be fitted with one or more power-generating windmills, or several windmills deployed on a frame underneath or around the zeppelin, or both. The total number and wind-generating surface area of windmills deployable would depend on calculations and testing, and could vary depending on local conditions.

In addition to the windmills, the upper surface of the zeppelin would be fitted with solar cells, to capture the rays of the sun. These cells would either need to be of flexible construction, or have sufficient space between them to allow for the zeppelin to be folded away for storage without breaking them. In some circumstances, such as where the Enerzeppelin will be redeployed and moved frequently, it may be more economical in terms of price/performance to mainly focus on the windmills, and not fit the solar cells.

The overall concept would be as follows: the Enerzeppelin is deployed from either a building, a truck, a van, the bed of a pickup-truck, a trailer, or a (wheeled) crate, depending on its size. Where useful, the vehicles should be custom-adapted for the Enerzeppelin, to enable practical and quick launching and recovery. The larger versions of the Enerzeppelin would need to be anchored to a fixed object such as a building, whereas smaller versions, depending on wind conditions, could be anchored to a vehicle. In some locations, where this is easily possible, the vehicle could be fitted with inflatable ballast tanks, which could be filled with water pumped from streams or lakes with a handheld electrical pump, to provide extra anchoring security.

For city use, a new anchoring system could be developed whereby a sewage drain is used for anchoring, by means of an expandable metal anchor being lowered into it, and expanded at the bottom (opening umbrella idea), which would lock it into place. Similarly, anchors could be developed to wrap around the base of light poles.

Due to the cost of the gas to fill it with (hot-air versions, heated by solar power perhaps, could also be researched), there will be a minimum deployment period for the Enerzeppelin, below which it is uneconomical to use it, unless it were not deflated but simply towed, or parked atop a vehicle, for transport to its next deployment location.

The gas to fill the Enerzeppelin with could either be hydrogen (which is cheaper, but flammable) or helium, which is more costly.

The Enerzeppelin could be deployed permanently on some sites, although this would typically be remote sites such as farms, or remote industrial areas which are not subject to intervention from neighbours. Oil rigs out at sea could be equipped with them, and they could be used to power remote outposts of any kind. They could be deployed from ships or barges at anchor, and smaller versions, particularly if they were lifted using hot air, could be deployed to power small villages or individual homes or businesses in third world countries, or generally in remote locations anywhere on the planet.

The vehicle the Enerzeppelin is deployed from would be equipped with batteries to store the power generated, and/or a system to feed the power into the grid or into direct usage. More advanced versions could use the power to generate oxygen and hydrogen from water, which could be used for energy generation using fuel cells, or the hydrogen could be used to keep the Enerzeppelin afloat. The latter would be very useful in third-world countries, as gas would be difficult to source commercially there, provided there is river water or similar to use.

Enerzeppelins could be used to power events at remote locations, such as pop concerts, and they would also be useful in places where there is a sudden demand for power but no supply, such as disaster zones. Their easy portability in custom-designed vehicles or crates would make it easy for them to be dropped into disaster zones by helicopter. A small model should be able to power a set of freezers or fridges, as well as lights.

The wire with which the Enerzeppelin is tethered could be equipped with a number of Wiremills (see my separate post), to generate additional energy, provided the weight of the Wiremills is not too great.

The concept of the Enerzeppelin is valuable because it will be readily deployable in any location globally where there is sufficient wind to generate electricity (the wind does not have to be strong, as the Enerzeppelin is attached to batteries, which will fill up over time regardless of wind speed).

In areas where there is permanent wind, instead of a zeppelin-type balloon, a kite or glider could be used, which would do away with the requirement for the gas to keep it aloft. This would operate under the same principle.

If you like this idea and you work in a type of industry where this is relevant, I would be happy to discuss in more detail, answer questions or assist in other ways. For details and contact information please see the “About itimes3” page.

George Spark

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All usage of this site is entirely at users risk.

The Wiremill

10 September 2008 at 22:44 | Posted in Energy Farm, Green Energy, Green Initiatives, Inventions, Renewable Energy, Wind Energy, Wind Power | Leave a comment
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[Category: Inventions. If you are new to my blog please read the “About itimes3” page first]

The Wiremill is a small to medium-sized power-generating windmill that could be deployed on wires or poles.

Rather than having a set of blades spinning, the whole device (casing) spins around a fixed centre, which houses a dynamo-type power generation device. The principle is similar to wind-driven ventilators that are fitted to roofs or sometimes vans or buses.

Wiremills could be made in different shapes or sizes, and could be coloured to blend in with the surroundings. They could be fitted for permanent use, or models could be developed that could “clip on” to poles, wires or cables. Multiple Wiremills could be used above each other.

A special model could be developed to fit the top of flagpoles or masts, for permanent use.

Wiremills could be deployed on masts that hold up equipment on top of buildings, on flagpoles, on bridges equipped with cables or wires, or “forests” of masts with wiremills could be specifically “planted” atop buildings or on open terrain in the city and elsewhere.

The main purpose of the wiremill is to generate some extra power, simply because there is an unused wire or pole nearby so why not use it. In large numbers, the wiremills could contribute significantly to power generation.

The idea is that the wiremill is to be made from cheap materials, including recycled metals, and be designed so that it can be quickly deployed to wires, cables and poles of different sizes.

Power cables should be attached by means of a plug system (like one plugs a headphone into a music player) so that wiring can be done quickly.

The product range should include different “base stations” where power is collected in batteries and/or standardized for supply to the grid.

If you like this idea and you work in a type of industry where this is relevant, I would be happy to discuss in more detail, answer questions or assist in other ways. For details and contact information please see the “About itimes3” page.

George Spark

Disclaimer: Any trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.
All usage of this site is entirely at users risk.

The Power Pylon Windmill

5 September 2008 at 0:13 | Posted in Green Energy, Green Initiatives, Innovations, Wind Energy, Wind Power | Leave a comment
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[Category: Innovations. If you are new to my blog please read the “About itimes3” page first]

Around the world, massive numbers of tall power pylons wind their way through the landscape, carrying the cables that deliver the power from power stations to cities and towns.

The problem with erecting tall structures such as power pylons is that there is often opposition against them, usually based on the “visual pollution” they cause.

However once they are approved and erected, they are there and their usage might as well be maximized.

Power pylons are often built across wide open landscapes such as plains, or in mountainous areas, and in these locations there is often plenty of wind.

So what I would like to suggest is that in future, in locations where there is sufficient wind, power pylons be fitted with a medium-sized windmill at the top. This may require some reinforcement of the pylon, but if the size of the windmill is kept within the design limits of the pylon, additional costs should be limited.

Alternatively, a new pylon design could be developed that would enable the fitting of a larger windmill at the top, for use in locations where the wind quality warrants the deployment of the new type of pylon which would obviously somewhat more expensive than the standard type, the principle of which has been in use since the early days of electricity.

A handy thing about fitting windmills to power pylons is that the power could be fed straight into the grid on the pylon.

If you like this idea and you work in a type of industry where this is relevant, I would be happy to discuss in more detail, answer questions or assist in other ways. For details and contact information please see the “About itimes3” page.

George Spark

Disclaimer: Any trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.
All usage of this site is entirely at users risk.

Solar Foil

5 September 2008 at 0:05 | Posted in Green Energy, Green Initiatives, Ideas, Renewable Energy, Solar Energy, Solar Power | Leave a comment
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[Category: Ideas. If you are new to my blog please read the “About itimes3” page first]

This is merely an idea, although there are so many initiatives under way globally in the field of solar energy that this will hopefully be a reality sooner rather than later.

Imagine a roll of bitumen roofing, the type of thick “black paper” that is rolled out onto flat roofs and “glued” to the roof my partially melting the material using a burner of some sort.

Now imagine a similar type and size of roll, but the material is metallic. The roll gets deployed in much the same fashion, and will probably be glued to the roof, possibly using a “sticky” reverse side, which can be exposed by removing a protective cover, and the glue of which would be waterproof and withstand prolonged outdoor use.

The material is Solar Foil, a type of material that acts like one big solar cell (in fact, it will probably be using masses of small solar cells on its surface, or even nano-technology based material).

Below the surface of the material there will be a mesh of conductive channels, where the power that is generated accumulates.

To “tap” the power generated by the solar foil, a simple connector is connected to any part of the mesh of conductive channels (at the side of a sheet of the foil), and attached to a device that can store and/or standardize the power.

This structure makes it possible to cut the Solar Foil into any required size (ideally it should be possible to cut it with strong normal scissors), and as long as the mesh of different sheets of Solar Foil is connected at least at one location, the entire surface covered with connected sheets of Solar Foil will act as one large single solar cell.

It will be possible to use this material on roofs and sides of buildings, on roofs of vehicles, and on most other surfaces outside, flat or curved, as long as the material can be stuck onto it.

If the material is sufficiently sensitive, it could also be used indoors – for example I could have a sheet of it somewhere on my desk (for example hanging off the back of my computer monitor, facing artificial or natural light) and it could be used to recharge my cell phone. Similar uses could be thought of in the home, where it could be used to recharge sets of rechargable batteries, for example.

If you like this idea and you work in a type of industry where this is relevant, I would be happy to discuss in more detail, answer questions or assist in other ways. For details and contact information please see the “About itimes3” page.

George Spark

Disclaimer: Any trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.
All usage of this site is entirely at users risk.

Smart Power Points in the Integrated Home

3 September 2008 at 10:56 | Posted in Green Initiatives, Innovations, Integrated Home, Power Management, Power Monitoring, Smart Power Switch | Leave a comment
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[Category: Innovations. If you are new to my blog please read the “About itimes3” page first]

This is another one in the “Integrated Home” series – so far there have been the posts on Smart Water Taps, Sinks and Showers and The Smart Pan in the Integrated Kitchen.

When I switch on a light at home, or I plug my laptop into the mains to recharge, there is no easy way to know how much power I am using. Sometime next month, when the power bill drops into my email inbox, I know what I spent in the past, but what if I want to know what I spend when I am in the process of spending it?

And apart from the expenditure side of things, it might also be good to know what electrical appliances in my home use more power than average, or keep using power when apparently switched off – we all want to “go green” these days and it is annoying that we do not have the option to see what we actually use on a day to day basis.

I know that it is possible to buy power meters that plug into a power outlet between the outlet and the appliance, but those are of limited use only, because they only tell the story of that particular power point.

What I would like to see is smart power points and power switches around the home. Every single power point or power switch has a small LCD display, indicating the basics and other useful information:

  • whether the power point is operating OK
  • The number or IP address of the power point (for indentification)
  • The power group in the home that the point belongs to
  • The percentage of safely available power that is being used in that power group (depending on how many amps can be drawn from that group)
  • The power drawn by that power switch or power point at that point in time
  • The cost of that power per minute, per hour and per 24 hours 

All power points and switches are linked into the central computer in the integrated home, which keeps track of the usage and cost of power used at each power point, and should enable detailed and deep analysis of the power usage in the home in different ways, so that a complete picture of power usage per power point is available at any time.

The power cost can be set at the central computer, or in countries where once can change its mains power provider at the flick of a switch (such as in parts of New Zealand), the computer should also link into the switch that controls the provider, and update power cost information from this switch.

If you like this idea and you work in a type of industry where this is relevant, I would be happy to discuss in more detail, answer questions or assist in other ways. For details and contact information please see the “About itimes3” page.

George Spark

Disclaimer: Any trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.
All usage of this site is entirely at users risk.

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