Design your own Renewable Energy Systems
Renewable Energy Solutions.... use wind and solar energy to reduce your power bills or completely eliminate them.
Living off the Grid..... newsletter that helps with off grid living, renewable energy, solar panels, and how to build your own homemade wind generator.
Wind Energy Guide....an informative guide to wind power and battery systems.
Teach yourself Solar Power.... build your own solar power system with this easy to follow guide.
Eco-Friendly Fuel Systems
Convert your car to run on water....drive your car using water as fuel while reducing emissions and preventing global warming.
Alternative Fuel Systems.... Learn how to run your car on water, hydrogen fuel systems, make biodiesel, and save money.
Make your own Biodiesel.....run your car on this environmental friendly fuel.
How to Save Money on your Energy Bills
Ultimate Gas Saver Guide....cut your gas spending in half.
Cut your Heating and Electric Bills in Half....homeowners, landlords, and renters looking to save.
Green Business Opportunities
Secrets of Battery Reconditioning....transform totally dead batteries to 100% charge capacity.
Socially Responsible Recycling Business....learn the secrets to recycling cell phones and protect the environment.
Clean Energy Grants from the US Government
Learn about Renewable Energy Grants from the US Government....tutorial for writing grants and getting funds for clean energy programs from the government.
Federal Grant Sources....search for renewable energy grants for your state.
The History of Wind Power
For thousands of years man has harnessed the energy of the wind to create wind power. Sailing ships on the Nile River were using wind power at least 7,000 years ago, and the earliest architects used wind driven natural ventilation in buildings from the same periods.
By 200 B.C., simple windmills in China were pumping water, while vertical axis windmills with woven reed sails were found in Persia and the Middle East. The first practical windmills were built in Afghanistan, during the 7th century. These were vertical axle windmills, which had long vertical driveshafts with rectangle shaped blades. Made of six to twelve sails covered in reed matting or cloth material, these windmills were used to grind corn and draw up water, and were used in the gristmilling and sugarcane industries.
The first horizontal axle windmills in Europe were recorded in the 1100's. These were post mills. of which, the defining feature is that the whole body of the mill that houses the machinery is mounted on a single vertical post, around which it can be turned to bring the sails into the wind.. One such post mill was constructed in 1137 in England. While English crusaders may have seen the windmills of the Middle East, the horizontal axis post mills are of significantly different design. In England at the time, rights to waterpower sites were confined to nobility and clergy, so wind power was an important monetary resource to a new middle class.
The Dutch refined the windmill and adapted it for draining lakes and marshes in the Rhine River Delta. When settlers took this technology to the New World in the late 19th century, they began using windmills to pump water for farms and ranches, and later, to generate electricity for homes and industry.
In the American midwest between 1850 and 1900, a large number, perhaps six million, small windmills were installed on farms to operate irrigation pumps. Firms such as Star, Eclipse, Fairbanks-Morse and Aeromotor became famed suppliers in North and South America.
The first windmill for electricity production was built in Glasgow, Scotland in July 1887 by James Blyth. A larger windmill was designed and constructed in Cleveland, Ohio in 1888 by Charles F. Brush. It was built at his home and operated from 1886 until 1900. The Brush wind turbine had a rotor 56 feet in diameter and was mounted on a 60 foot tower. Although large by today's standards, the machine was only rated at 12 kW. It turned relatively slowly since it had 144 blades. The connected dynamo was used either to charge a bank of batteries, lamps, and various motors in his laboratory.
By the 1930's windmills were widely used to generate electricity on farms in the United States where distribution systems had not yet been installed. Used to replenish battery storage banks, these machines typically had generating capacities of a few hundred watts to several kilowatts. Beside providing farm power, they were also used for isolated applications such as electrifying bridge structures to prevent corrosion. In this period, high tensile steel was cheap, and windmills were placed on top of prefabricated open steel lattice towers.
The 1970's brought in individual wind power projects by civilians. Solar cells were too expensive for small-scale electrical generation, so some turned to windmills. At first they built ad-hoc designs using wood and automobile parts. Most people discovered that a reliable wind generator is a moderately complex engineering project, well beyond the ability of most romantics. Some began to search for and rebuild farm wind generators from the 1930s, of which Jacobs Wind Electric Company machines were especially sought after. Hundreds of Jacobs machines were reconditioned and sold during the 1970s.
Following experience with reconditioned 1930s wind turbines, a new generation of American manufacturers started building and selling small wind turbines not only for battery charging but also for interconnection to electricity networks. An early example would be Enertech Corporation of Norwich, Vermont, which began building 1.8 kW models in the early 1980s.
Later, in the 1980s, California provided tax rebates for ecologically harmless power. These rebates funded the first major use of wind power for utility electricity. These machines, gathered in large wind parks such as at Altamont Pass would be considered small by modern wind power development standards.
As the 21st century began, fossil fuel was still relatively cheap, but rising concerns over energy security, global warming, and eventual fossil fuel depletion has led to an expansion of interest in all available forms of renewable energy. The commercial wind power industry is expanding at a robust growth rate of about 30% per year, driven by the availability of large wind resources, and falling costs due to improved technology and wind farm management. The future is bright for continued growth and technological advances in wind power.
Our nation's current interest in wind energy was started by the need to develop clean, sustainable energy systems that can be relied on for the long term future. Modern aerodynamics and engineering have improved wind turbines. They now provide reliable, cost-effective, pollution-free energy for individual, community, and national applications. As time passes, wind power will better serve our energy needs and lessen our footprint on the environment.