This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sauer Energy. All opinions are 100% mine.
All of us are looking at the rising costs of energy with increasing trepidation. The cost of oil extraction (what it takes to get oil out of the ground or squeeze it out of sand) are increasing. The cost of electricity is going up because the cost of base materials like copper are at all time highs.
Due to the challenges in Japan, the options for nuclear energy (while always in question) have come under serious scrutiny and will likely be off the table for some time.
It’s seemingly not a pretty picture or an easy one to solve.
So alternatives like solar and wind are presenting real solutions to these challenges, especially as costs increase for “traditional” sources of energy.
While solar energy and the process of converting the sun into electricity seem complex to many people, the idea of wind power seems like a very simple concept. This is probably because we’re used to thinking of power as movement.
A good breeze on a hot day can definitely make you appreciate the movement and power of wind.
The kind of wind power most people are familiar with is through giant wind farms. These are the windmills you might think of if you think of an ad for the hillsides of Holland, or even in many places around the United States.
These kinds of windmills are known as Horizontally Aligned Wind Turbines (or HAWT).
They are often huge, way up off of the ground, and change the look of the landscape around them.
Some of the other challenges of HAWTs:
- Expensive to build and often difficult to repair
- Can not take advantage of slow wind speeds
- Have to be shut off during high winds to prevent damage
- Usually quite noisy in large-scale installations
- Cause significant wind disturbance (turbulence)
- Kill tens of thousands of birds every year (birds can not see the spinning blades)
There is, however, another kind of wind turbine, known as a vertically-aligned wind turbine (VAWT).
VAWTs present some significant advantages and a few disadvantages when compared with HAWTs.
- The generator can be housed on the ground, making repairs easier
- The gearbox can be housed on the ground, making repairs easier
- Omni-directional (it doesn’t require a yaw mechanism for control of movement)
One of the disadvantages of VAWT systems have been they (usually) have operated near the ground (which means they can’t take advantage of high wind speeds at higher altitudes above the ground). Another problem with VAWTs is they have generally been around 40% less efficient than HAWTs. This is for a variety of reasons, but is primarily because the actual weight of the turbine prevents the turbine from moving as quickly as it could.
But for the average home user, and due to the advancements of companies like Sauer Energy, setting up a VAWT in your backyard or on your roof could be a reality for you.
I’m excited about advancements in wind production, like what Sauer Energy is doing with it’s concave design for Vertically Aligned Wind Turbines, because it allows the end user an easy way to make an impact from the local level.
Solutions like this allow everyone to make a difference when it comes to their use of and contribution to the challenges we face in the production of energy and conservation of our planet’s resources.