This is an introductory into alternative energy 2nd favorite method, wind turbines or wind generators for your emergency preparedness kit in case of a disaster. Wind Generators come in different designs and methods and sizes for producing power. Before considering purchasing a wind generator, you should take a look at your current location and its average yearly wind speed. Some housing communities may have ordinances against such items as well. If you are in a generally windy part of the country, you are in good shape for augmenting your solar powered off-grid home with some added and sometimes needed wind power for your emergency preparedness kit.
The typical wind turbine is similar to the propeller found on a small aircraft. It does not create propulsion like on an aircraft, quite the opposite in that it is using the wind to spin the propeller, which is connected to a generator/alternator that changes the rotational energy into electrical energy. There is also a different style of wind generator called the vertical wind generator/turbine which is rarely seen, but offers some advantages, such as noise and efficiency. Some appear like a screw, while others appear like an “S” shape in order to capture the air and create the torque for the generator to spin.
The most interesting home made one I have seen is a plastic 55 gallon barrel cut in half, then offsetting them, and bolting them together in a way that created the “S” out of the barrel halves in someone’s’ emergency home preparedness kit. It was mounted on top of a platform with bearings and a shaft that leads down to a truck alternator/generator. While crude looking, it was efficient for producing the power at lower wind speeds. This just shows that ingenuity works.
For the do it yourself types who have the following, a few hundred bucks, some manufacturing skill, electrical knowledge and some time to invest, you can have your own home made wind generator for your emergency preparedness kit. There are various home-made kits/plans /instructional videos on the internet.
Now after you considered the average wind speed, lack of ordinances, the type of wind generator, you need to understand a few basic necessities and components that are associated with it. If you are in a part of a country that has prevailing wind conditions from one particular direction, you should make sure that the generator is placed windward of any obstructions that may smother the air flow.
Next you may have to create a tower or modifying your house’s roof to accept a small platform for it. While I don’t recommend attaching it to your house due to the fact it may transfer the vibration down to the structure of the home and may cause an unbearable hum or vibration.
The basic components to the Wind Generator/turbine are the unit itself. A platform, tower, or a means of raising the wind generator is needed to hold it in place and that can swivel in an area free of obstructions to windward. If it is not internally regulated, then it will need a regulator, such as one found on a car with an output of 12v for a 12v battery bank. The wiring is needed to transfer the electricity and a way to attach it to your battery bank.
NOTE: Some wind generators produce alternating current and you cannot hook up uncontrolled/unregulated A/C without going to an inverter or A/C to D/C charge controller for the output to be suitable for a 12v or 24v battery bank. You need to know the output of the wind generator and if it is not 12 or 24v D/C output without additional components.
Once you have the wind generator mounted in an obstacle free area, hooked up to the regulator/charge controller, and attached to the battery bank. Before you let her loose, be sure you have a method of turning the unit off by slowing the blades to a stop. Some manufactured units have variable pitch blades which control the speed of the propeller hub and others are fixed blades and may have a brake attached to stop the unit.
Others you may have to twist the entire unit until the blades out of the direction of the wind in order to slop the blades enough to grab it and tie it off. Most wind generators have a max wind speed that they can be utilized, which may also require you to have a wind speed anemometer to know the exact wind speed. It is also wise to have a volt and amp meter on your battery bank to determine if the battery bank is full for your emergency preparedness kit.
One final thing to consider is sourcing parts for the wind turbine when it breaks down. There are wind generators on the market that you can source all the internals of the generator from any auto parts stores. If you need to purchase 2 of these units instead of one larger one that has hard to get parts, it may be worth to consider. Shown in photo 5 is such a unit called Kiss.
Quiet, but needs 12 or more MPH of wind to start to produce good power. Courtesy of Kiss energy. We have a Kiss wind generator mounted on our boat and it is excellent at producing enough energy for the days that there is no sun for our solar panels. I highly recommend having as many means of producing energy as possible in your emergency preparedness kit to be the most self sufficient as possible. Having solar panels and a wind generator on a boat is normal for most cruisers/boaters – we generate all our energy on our own.
Photo 1 is courtesy of duogen.co.uk.
This is a small unit, for low consumption homes and boats. It is quiet, efficient and a touch expensive for its size.
Photo 2 is an example of a vertical wind turbine courtesy of conserve-energy-future.com
Photo 3 and 4 is an example of the screw type wind turbine courtesy of simms2012.wikis.birmingham.k12.mi.us and trader-china.org
Photo 6 is 2 different style home made wind generator. The 55 gallon drum design is interesting and cheap in construction.
Introducing a wind generator in your emergency preparedness kit is a perfect way to supplement your energy needs in case of a major disaster. I highly recommend having solar panels and wind generators as alternative power sources so you are not dependent on your local electrical company, which may shut down due to a major disaster.