New Schemes for Harnessing the Winds
INVENTORS PROPOSE STRANGE PLANS TO BRING THE OLD DUTCH MILL UP TO DATE
IS THE windmill coming back? With strange, unconventional types, inventors are seeking to adapt it to a modern age. Their experiments may bring new success in man’s effort for 800 years or more to harness the wind for power.
Centuries ago, people milled their flour, sawed wood, and pumped water with the picturesque European windmills whose enormous “sails” swept from earth to sky. This country contributed the smaller and more practical narrow-bladed type that pumps water on farms today. A new miniature design shaped like an airplane propeller charges storage batteries for radios and for lighting rural homes.
Plans are being made to harness mankind’s oldest and cheapest source of power for industry by means of huge aerogenerators.
By Frank Tinsley
THE next few years may see a decided change in the landscape of our country. In certain strategic places which promise a constant, strong wind such as mountain passes, will grow strange structures resembling the Martian machines of H. G. Wells. But these will be instruments of construction, rather than destruction â€”tall, steel towers supporting fans to convert wind energy into electrical power.
Make posted a few articles on solar furnaces yesterday. (link, link) Here’s a companion peice from 1954 with a few that get up to 8,000 degrees F. I particularly like the solar cigarette lighter on page two.
Sun Furnace Goes to Work
A man-made inferno tries out materials for jet and rocket enginesâ€”and shows one way to capture free solar power.
By Alden P. Armagnac
ATOP a 6,000-foot mountain near San Diego, Calif., they’re harnessing the sun to help build airplanes. A solar furnace newly installed there focuses the sun’s rays, with a 10-foot-diameter mirror of polished aluminum, upon a spot smaller than a dime. It surpasses by far the temperature of the hottest blowtorch or electric furnace.
Researchers of the Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation apply the sun furnace’s terrific heat to materials under trial for jet and rocket engines and for guided missiles. Aim of their experiments is to develop substances more resistant to heat and thermal shock than any yet knownâ€”stuff that won’t soften and flow, say, when a long-range missile screams back to the earth from dizzy altitudes.
Well, maybe not perfected. G.E. makes a wind turbine that generates 3.6MW; 36 times the output of this windmill. Of course it does have a diameter of 341 ft, making each of it’s blades almost as tall as this entire plant.
Mounting a 98-foot wheel atop a steel tower 82 feet high, Soviet Engineers have successfully operated a 100-kilowatt wind-electric plant in the Crimean sector for more than a year. The windwheel has self-regulating variable-pitch blades which are automatically operated by centrifugal force. The Entire machine rotates on a spherical pivot in the top of the tower. The device is kept into the wind by a small motor actuate by a weather vane.
“Hold on ma, let me go light the radio!”
Made in Moscow for use in rural areas, this all-wave radio is reportedly powered by the kerosene lamp hanging above it. A group of thermocouples is heated internally to 570 degrees by the flame. Fins cool the outside to about 90 degrees. The temperature differential generates enough current to operate the low-drain reciever. Regular listeners may want fur lined union suits, though: it works best in a room with open windows.