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The innovation that we need

Written By: - Date published: 1:50 pm, September 19th, 2011 - 49 comments
Categories: energy, science, sustainability - Tags: , ,

We’re going to need a lot of innovation to survive the coming decades. I’m going to feature the kinds of clever ideas that will help as posts whenever I see them (I started with this one a while back).  Today’s innovation (ht to AAMC in Open mike) is a simple modification that at least doubles the energy output of a wind turbine.  Brilliant.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifF-MOuzM_s

49 comments on “The innovation that we need ”

  1. randal 1

    science and industry got us into this but they aint going to get us out. Better make sure that everything is in place before the sh*t really hits the fan because at bottom we are all pigs for toys, leaf blowers, hot rods, heat pumps, gew gaws and anything that sparkles. We are the next best thing to magpies so the main innovation has to come in the mind.

    • Draco T Bastard 1.1

      It wasn’t science and industry that got us into the mess but capitalism and the profit driven “free-market” which is set to use up all resources as fast as possible rather than economising their use.

      • John D 1.1.1

        It is “science and industry” that allows you to sit at a keyboard and make this pronouncements about the world from the comfort of a warm room.

        • Draco T Bastard 1.1.1.1

          But it was the capitalist drive for more that pushed the industry into the unsustainable modes that are destroying our environment. Without that the science and industry would have been fine.

          BTW, my room isn’t warm because capitalists decided that cheap, uninsulated housing could make more profit.

          • Ianupnorth 1.1.1.1.1

            And that’s why I prefer open source software when I can get away with it

            • AAMC 1.1.1.1.1.1

              On the point of open source, there’s an interesting documentary about remix culture and the corporate takeover and control of ideas..

              What makes it more interesting are the statements by ‘Girltalk’ about his experience working in patents and the amount of science he’s seen shelved so as not to compete with existing technology.

              Human ideas are created off the backs of each other, not as dictated by “the market”. Go the creative commons!

              • Draco T Bastard

                It’s generally becoming known that the IP laws that we have are actively preventing innovation rather encouraging it. There’s a reason for those laws to do so – freely allowed innovation drops profits real fast.

          • John D 1.1.1.1.2

            Funny, it is the communist countries of the world that are/were the biggest polluters (USSR, China…)

            • AAMC 1.1.1.1.2.1

              Yawn……. I think you’ll find the majority of the pollution pumping out of China (which having visited a number of times now I refuse to label as Communist, rather perhaps a hybrid of Totalitarianism and state run Capitalism) is from factories producing consumer goods for Western consumers by Western corporations. Once environmental laws are tightened up in China, the pollution will move to whoever else offers slaves and lax environmental laws. It has nothing to do with political ideology, it has to do with greed.

              • queenstfarmer

                Once environmental laws are tightened up in China

                LOL! Best laugh I’ve had all day.

                • mik e

                  China is moving faster on environmental issues than you think QSF .They have a planned economy, they are very good at doing business and are trying very hard all the time to produce what the market needs .One of the planks of their modernization is to clean up their industry . Just like they have lead the world in industrialization don’t be surprised if they soon lead the world in environmental issues.

                  • queenstfarmer

                    I don’t doubt it. China is the world’s biggest polluter – they can only go in one direction (relatively). Take coal for example. China is the world’s biggest user, and is building a vast number of new coal plants each year. They are also developing clean(er) burning systems. Why? Not to be green but because the plant runs more efficiently. It makes no difference – all the coal will still be burnt in the end.

                    But they are no doubt planning for the day when most of the coal is gone.

                    I must say it’s not every day you hear environmental praise lavished on the world’s biggest producer of CO2. Keep this up and next you’ll be saying nice things about the oil companies too.

                • felix

                  “LOL! Best laugh I’ve had all day.”

                  Yeah, and 20 years ago you would’ve laughed if I told you that China would be the world’s biggest manufacturer.

                  Just 10 years ago you would’ve wet yourself with mirth if I told you how much the US would owe them today.

                  • queenstfarmer

                    Then you’re wrong as usual.

                    • AAMC

                      The point you clearly chose to ignore QSF was not whether or not China would clean itself up, (they are many times more environmentally minded than you’d like to acknowledge, see protests over solar panel factory pollution only a few days ago. But there are a lot of them who are very keen to “improve their standard of living” which obviously results in an increased environmental impact.) but on who’s behalf all those factories were working. It’s Western consumers they’re polluting on behalf of; my point being, IF they chose to tighten their rules, those Western corporations would find somewhere else to set up factories to pollute with.

                      Hence, it’s not Communism that results in pollution, as per JD’s preposterous statement, rather consumption.

  2. terryg 2

    Thanks Anthony, thats absolutely fantastic. Looking at the image, my initial assumption turned out to be exactly backwards! Generating turbulent vortices to create a low pressure zone that sucks wind through the turbine is brilliant! I have some small understanding of these things, and it is not an understatement to say that fluid dynamics is about as non-linear, counter-intuitive and complex as engineering gets. coming up with the idea is a stroke of genius. Cranking through the maths necessary to develop design procedures is verging on the heroic. talk about turning a fuck-up into a feature!

  3. AAMC 3

    I wonder whether if these wind lenses could be retrofitted onto existing wind infrastructure.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1

      Possible but you’d have to significantly increase the strength of the tower and probably even the blades. Best bet would probably to plan replacement with the new design.

    • insider 3.2

      From what I’ve read the reason they don’t work outside the lab is because of the shroud – it is just too heavy and too expensive in materials and strengthening. You are much better increasing your blade size without a shroud – same theoretical performance, if not better in reality, with quite a small increase at much lower cost.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    Although the collar on the wind turbine is good I was more interested in the floating platforms as NZs real only low cost place to put wind turbines is in the numbers required is on the sea. And I’m of the opinion that the particular design won’t work due to the massive amount of movement that would be generated in even moderate seas.

  5. insider 5

    This is not new sadly. Ever heard of Vortec an Auckland company. Ducted wind turbines have been around for decades. They haven’t caught on for some reason. It seems they don’t quite work as well as enthusiasts say.

    • r0b 5.1

      At the end of the included video the YouTube related videos has a related clip on an existing American company, so I had a fair idea that this wasn’t a new idea. However, sometimes a good way to learn a lot of interesting stuff is to put something up as a post and see what comes up in comments!

    • infused 5.2

      They don’t. There was a doco on this recently. They are loud as hell.

  6. AAMC 6

    I’m still of the mind that the majority of energy for household electricity should be produced where it’s used, in conjunction with a reduction of use. Rather than daming massive rivers, reducing productive land, or massive wind farms in Central Otago and sending the electricity all the way to the populations of the North through wires. Farms should be using micro hydro where they have rivers/streams,
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btSTfzgtZm8
    and solar & wind for the rest of us. Of coarse if you subsidized people into generating their own electricity, it would be Socialism, unlike subsidizing oil companies….
    http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=439×1907373

    Doesn’t bode well when you want to sell yourself off to Chinese Mum’s and Dad’s of coarse.

    • Draco T Bastard 6.1

      Having everybody producing their own actually ends up being less efficient than centralised generation especially if we go to more rational high rise buildings in cities rather than a lot of spread out single level dwellings. I’m not saying that their isn’t a place for distributed generation but that we really need to do the research and find where it works.

      • AAMC 6.1.1

        There is obviously never one perfect solution, but trying to produce as much as is prascticle as close to the source as possible just seems like common sense. High rise buildings in cities should also have the means to produce and supplement their own energy needs, whether from wind, solar or even human waste.

  7. Draco T Bastard 7

    Shrouded tidal turbines

    An emerging renewable energy technology is the shrouded tidal turbine enclosed in a venturi shaped shroud or duct producing a sub atmosphere of low pressure behind the turbine. It is often claimed that this allows the turbine to operate at higher efficiency (than the Betz limit[4] of 59.3%) because the turbine can typically produce 3 times more power [5] than a turbine of the same size in free stream. This, however, is something of a misconception because the area presented to the flow is that of the largest duct cross-section. If this area is used for the calculation, it shows that the turbine still cannot exceed the Betz limit. Further, due to frictional losses in the duct, it is unlikely that the turbine will produce as much power as a free-stream turbine with the same radius as the duct.

    It seems that it may not be quite the innovation that it’s portrayed to be.

  8. Afewknowthetruth 8

    A very pertinent question is: what is the EROEI?

    The fact is, technofundamentalism, otherwise know as industrial disease, will be a major cause of the ‘death’ of this planet*. The other will be the gross population overshoot that commenced in the ninenteenth century as a consequence of previous innovations.

    * the Earth will eventually recover to some extent from what humans have done to it via technology, probably after a few hundred thousand years.

    • AAMC 8.1

      Surely attempts to counteract the effects of technology are worth pursuing AFKTT? And perhaps those solutions could be technological.

      I’ve got a lot of sympathy for your statements, but for those of us who are conscious not to try to encourage a shift and to not be optimistic that we can at least move in a better direction?

      As you know, your statements on this forum and even the books you publicize on here, are not likely to convince the population to “power down and Permaculture”.

      So either we fight positively to enact change – however futile – or we organize some mass doomsayer suicide, seeing as there’s no point, it’s all too late, we’re all going to starve anyway…

      • Lanthanide 8.1.1

        “or we organize some mass doomsayer suicide, seeing as there’s no point, it’s all too late, we’re all going to starve anyway…”

        So far AFKTT hasn’t volunteered to be the vanguard of this new initiative, you’ll note.

        • Afewknowthetruth 8.1.1.1

          I suppose that standing in national elections, standing in local elections, writing books, giving lectures and presentations, asssiting with websites, featuring in newspaper and magazine articles, being a guest speaker at a symposium, speaking on radio and local television, establishing a ‘model’ property and expending thousands of dollars and thousands of hours amonnts to ‘hasn’t volunteered to be the vanguard of this new initiative’.

          I gave a presentation yesterday eventing and will do another tomorrow. This week there will be feature article in the local giveaway newspaper and two weeks from now I’ll be on local radio for the second time in a month.

          Most of what I am currently doing will be casting pearls before swine, unfortunately.

          As I say almost every day, a few know the truth.

          • terryg 8.1.1.1.1

            I’m just curious. How is one supposed to know these things about you, given your anonymity? Or are we merely meant to accept proof by blatant assertion?

            cheers
            Terry Given

          • Jenny 8.1.1.1.2

            Afewknowthetruth, Could I read your books?
            Can I attend your lectures and presentations?
            Where can I read your magazine and newspaper features?
            Where can I listen to you on the radio, or hear your views expounded on local TV?
            I would really like to learn the lessons and examples from your ‘model’ property.

            Why aren’t I able to?

            When I would really love to.

            • AAMC 8.1.1.1.2.1

              +1

              Would rather be given tangible examples of how to implement change than be told endlessly I’m about to starve.

              • Afewknowthetruth

                I gave up suggesting that people plant fruit trees and buy hand tools when one particular idiot wrote a letter to the local paper telling me he would plant magnolia trees just to spite me.

                The district council has much the same plan. Every time I put permaculture on the council agenda between 2006 and the council removed it. That is one of the many reasons why there is no hope for most people and certainly none for mainstream NZ society. We are governed by opportunists and criminals.

                http://www.oilcrash.com/articles/moore_10.htm

                In fact. many people take great delight in attacking those who tell the truth and want to provide the next generation with a future, as we see on a daily basis on The Standard.

                http://guymcpherson.com/2011/09/whos-the-doomer/

                which is why I go through periods when I just cannot be bothered. A bit like Roibert.

                Most people will be the architects of their own (and their children’s) destruction and won’t even know it.

                One of the more interesting observations/comments on NBL recently was that those who know what is happening and are preparing should remain silent and let the rest die-off. There is some merit in that agrument.

                On the other hand, there is the argument that if only 1 or 2% prepare, the ignorant masses will take everyone down with them.

                That will probably happen anyway, whatever I or anyone else does. Just look at the stupidity and enco-vandalism currently being promoted via RWC !!!

                .

            • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1.1.2.2

              Could I read your books?

              I’m pretty sure that this one that he’s been pretty close to spamming for the last few weeks is one of his. If it was in e-book format I’d buy it.

          • Lanthanide 8.1.1.1.3

            “I suppose that … amonnts to ‘hasn’t volunteered to be the vanguard of this new initiative’.”

            When the “new initiative” I was talking about, specifically, was “organiz[ing] some mass doomsayer suicide”, yes, you’re correct.

            As others here have said, if you actually shared some of this visionary thinking around these parts instead of your constant doom and gloom and blaming the politicians (when they are forced to act the way they do by the system) you might actually achieve something.

            • Afewknowthetruth 8.1.1.1.3.1

              Lanthnide

              It is the industrial society and everything that goes with it that is destroying the habitability of the planet we live on, as anyone who has watched ‘Blind Spot’, ‘End Civ’ or Albert Bartlett’s brilliant lecture ‘Arithmetic, Population and Energy’ knows.

              People do NOT want to know that.

              Hence, whenever reality is posted on TS a large portion of the commentators totally ignore it and carry on discussing whatever irrelevant nonsense is on their mind such as tax rates or promoting economic growth. It is all completely surreal.

              After having put forward ‘visionary thinking’ to Manukau City Council five years in a row and having been ignored every year, I fled in 2006. The place is run by ‘lunatics and opportunists’ who are scientifically illiterate and don;t want to know about permaculture or sustanability. They just want to know about the next piece of land that can be covered in concrete and asphalt for short term profit.

              Many of the issues -the arrogance, the worshipping of money etc. were the subject of Christ’s teachings.

              And for those into ‘End Times’ prophesy, the Bible makes it clear that many will be decieved and will be selfish, greedy, hedonistic and mendacious during the end times, which is exactly what we are witnessing.

          • alex 8.1.1.1.4

            What party did you stand for? I remember repeated examples of you dismissing the electoral system as a sham, please explain?

            I don’t want to know your name, just the party please.

            • Afewknowthetruth 8.1.1.1.4.1

              Direct Democracy.

              It was through the work I did with DD that I discovered the extent of corrupution and manipulation within the corporate media, especially TVNZ.

          • queenstfarmer 8.1.1.1.5

            Did you do a session at Foo Camp last year, by any chance?

  9. randal 9

    John D. How do you know my room is warm? And I wasnt talking about the past I was talking about the future. And if push comes to shove I would just as soon be riding over the steppeswith Genghis Kahn raiding, looting and rooting rather than sitting here tapping away at a piece of crap that will be worn out in less than two years and another producer of leachates and heavy metals when it rots in the landfill.

    • John D 9.1

      And if push comes to shove I would just as soon be riding over the steppeswith Genghis Kahn raiding, looting and rooting rather than sitting here tapping away at a piece of crap

      Why don’t you then?
      Just try living in an African village for a year , without power, medication, and energy.
      Oh I forgot, you’ll be out looting and raping.
      Charming

  10. Afewknowthetruth 10

    Jenny

    just go to http://www.oilcrash.com

    There is a mountaan of valuable information there..

    If you’d love to read the latest book

    http://www.publishme.co.nz/shop/theeasyway-p-684.html

    and if go to this item

    http://guymcpherson.com/2011/09/lessons-of-history/

    you can read a chapter for free, plus all the comments it generated

    Terry

    I have taken so much flack and abuse (both verbal and physical) from naysayers over the years I prefer to have a degree of annonymity at this stage. There are some vicious people out there. Most of them are extremely ignorant and arrogant.

  11. Afewknowthetruth 11

    James Lovelock summed it all up very well a couple of years ago when he said: “There is plenty to be done but what needs to be done is not what people want to do.” (or words to that effect).

  12. hoom 12

    Ducted propulsion fans are an old concept & has been tried on wind turbines for a long time.
     
    One of if not the biggest was actually built in NZ in the ’90s.
    Didn’t seem to perform up to the claims & well it was bloody ugly.
    http://www.wind-works.org/articles/vortec.html
    http://www.ifb.uni-stuttgart.de/~doerner/diffuser.html
     
    Major issues seem to be that for best efficiency you should have a long very carefully shaped duct & that the material/energy you spend making the duct would give better outcome if you just make a 2nd or 3rd normal turbine instead.
     
    And its ugly.
    I could just stare at the elegant normal 3 bladed turbines going round & round for hours but not that thing.

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