MAILBOX: Wind Physics

Wind generator
Wind generators follow the rules of phyics.
Wind generator

I enjoyed David Laino’s article on wind physics (“Wind Energy Physics” in HP161). It has excellent, usable, and applicable physics information that dispels a lot of common mistakes that the inexperienced would make.

I’m a 69-year-old solar enthusiast who’s been into solar since the early 1970s (mostly PV and hot water systems—my latest project is eight solar hot water collectors to heat my greenhouse). My first wind generator attempt would have been to build a funnel for more air through the machine. Multi-bladed machines came to mind, followed by different designs such as some of the illustrations you provided—all mistakes you helped me avoid! Thanks for helping me and others see the errors of our thoughts.

I’ve gotten some bad information in the past, and it just cost me a lot of time and money. I want to compliment you on a well-written article—clear, concise, precise.

Don Tollefson • Venice, California

Comments (1)

Peter Dunn's picture

I am also 69, interested in solar for a long time, and agree with Mr. Tolleson's comments on this excellent article. For example, I wondered why, if C-130 propellers have gone from 3 blades in the 50's to 6 blades now, why hadn't wind turbines? If I understand the article, it is because of the requirement to let much of the air go through the propeller. Whereas the C-130 presumably wants to accelerate as much volume as possible.

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