Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

Urban Windmills from...anything I can find

I have recently been very interested in alternative energy, and specifically ways that people living in an urban environment can begin helping with the global energy crisis. Since moving to Toronto, one of the things which has surprised me most is how windy it is (especially on a 15th floor apartment). With a great balcony and a very windy location, I have decided to try and run some experiments to start creating alternative energy sources that are small and easy to implement for people living in apartments that still want to start moving off the grid.

First, I have done some research, and have decided to use the basics of my friend Abe's design. He lives out in Mexico off the grid, and has put together some great doc**entation about what he's done...it's quite amazing, please check out his site, VelaCreations.com if you are interested in hearing about a young person (he moved out there in his 20s) who has helped setup programs all over the world and is an inspiration to me! (back on topic)

Today, I thought of a twist on this design though. While thinking about potential parts for my windmill, I recalled the fact that I had some hard drives laying around that were completely useless due to failures. I have decided to see if I can use the motor from these disk drives in my windmill, and if this turns out to be a viable motor, I was thinking about making a business out of this. I'm not sure if everyone is aware, but people actually pay to have electronics discarded because of the hazardous materials in them. I was thinking you could open a business that offers to take these parts (maybe even charge a fee for transportation), and makes these windmills out of them for other urban dwellers wishing to participate.

I will update this blog as I make progress on my windmills, but wanted to make this post in case anyone had any suggestions for me. I would also like to say that if anyone else is interested in trying to work on this with me in order to get more ideas floating around, I'd love to make this a cooperative type of project.

* UPDATE* - I found something I think is going to work GREAT for an initial prototype. I just bought a blow up matress, which came with a battery operated pump. Well, I decided to take the pump apart and found a nice motor, along with fan blades on the other side. So I will be using that for the alternator, as well as the hub for the blades. I am uploading pictures of the pieces I will be using.

* Pictures Added *
Here are pictures of the pump I took apart and my first set of blades made out of cardboard.


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Views: 8

Comment by ian fisher on April 8, 2010 at 2:05am
the rare earth magnets in old hard drives can be reused to make a permanent magnet alternator for a wind turbine
Comment by Nicholas Nagao on April 8, 2010 at 2:15am
Thanks Ian, do you have any hints on how to get them open? I don't have a torque wrench that seems to fit the star looking screws that are holding it together...

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