Are Horizontally Aligned Wind Turbines the Future of Wind Energy?

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.

VAWT advantages:

  • 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 what Sauer Energy is presenting are potentially the future of energy.  You can alsoMeet Joe… from Dieter Sauer on Vimeo.

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.

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10 Comments

  1. Steve

    Your article is extremely confusing. You confuse your terms and define HAWT but fail to define clearly VAWT which I think you are for, but totally destroys your article. Please re-write and re-post. Thank you.

    • Going Green

      Hi Steve,

      Thank-you for letting me know. I messed this one up by mixing up the terms a couple of times. Based on your feedback, I think I’ve gotten it all corrected, but please let me know if not. Thank-you again!

  2. Steve

    Going Green: Thank you! Much easier to read. I still had to look up what a VAWT was. We used to call them “egg beaters” – very cool design, but they’ve all disappeared from my area. I doubt my wife would ever let me put one on top of the house! Other than solar panels and the HAWT design, I’m always looking for a compact, efficient method of power generation.

  3. Michael

    http://massmegawatts.com/

    Interesting. This company has perfected it. built one already for the mililtary. Now, getting better with their augmentor.
    Cool stuff for sure. (I’ve been trading it for a couple of years now…Love the ups and downs of the stock…..lol
    Michael

    • Going Green

      Do you know if they build small scale applications for home-level users or small businesses? I watched the video on their site. Looks very interesting.

    • Going Green

      MAT looks like an interesting option. They are using the spinning motion to drive belts to drive the turbines… how much energy is lost in the transferrence?

  4. Chris

    If I understand MAT correctly from the video, how can it be cheaper than the turbines? Monumental engineering and the belt-drives are candle tech on top of it.

    One of the first caveats in energy conversion is prevention of waste in inefficiencies. Considering the Sauer patent, all you would need there is a rare earth alternator with a back-up battery for start-up. With alternators no inverters are needed.

    Then again it was stated the VAW Turbine is meant for LOW air speeds which for eternity was the bane of any wind powered system. Why wait for 16 kmh winds if you can do it at eight?

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