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Project Hemisphere

A low profile wind turbine for the masses

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The goal of this project is to build a radically different wind turbine which eliminates most of the issues with current commercial and consumer grade wind turbines. These changes include shape, material, cost, and many others. When finished, this project will greatly reduce the cost of wind turbines and open up a more reliable and cost effective energy source for everyone.

Current commercial and consumer grade wind turbines, while greatly reducing our dependancy on non-renewable energy sources, have some problems of there own.


To begin, I would like to clarify that for my purposes I will be refering to a HAWT (Horizontal-axis wind turbine) as these are the most popular type for both commercial and consumer applications.

The first, and arguably the most important, problem is the impact on wildlife. Both birds and bats are known to become confused by the air currents around the blades and in too many cases, are killed on impact with the turbine. Estimates vary widely from as low as 10,000 a year to as many as 1,00,000 a year. In my opinian that is just too many. My design would eliminate this problem by introducing a turbine assembaly cover. This would both protect wildlife from harm while also allowing the turbine to be powered by wind from any direction without the need to move the turbine.

The second problem is the loss of energy in powering the turbine itself. Between lights, deicing, and rotating the turbine into the wind, there is a great deal of energy used before anything even gets to the power grid. While no company has yet revealed just how much energy these system require, some estimate it could be a loss of 15% or more. My design would solve this problem by getting rid of 2 of the 3 biggest power drains. By being low profile, even larger versions would not require lights for visability. My design would also get rid of the need to turn the turbine into the wind as a result of the shape of the turbine.

The third and final problem is cost. Consumer turbines can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 while commercial turbines exceed $3.5 million. My design would fix this by using low cost materials such as wood which has the added benefit of being more sustainable and easy to produce. My initial research suggests my turbines would range in cost from just $20 for the smallest models to, at most, $1,000 for the largest models.

While the initial prototype will be quite small (only about one foot side to side), it is merely the first step in creating larger and more effective models.

Turbine Fins.png

Interlocking turbine fins

Portable Network Graphics (PNG) - 535.30 kB - 05/29/2016 at 18:53

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Turbine Gears.png

Gears courtesy of www.geargenerator.com

Portable Network Graphics (PNG) - 11.09 MB - 05/29/2016 at 18:07

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  • 1 × 9-18v DC motor Simple electric motor from Radio Shack
  • 2 × 1/8th inch 24x12 hobby plywood
  • 1 × 1/4th inch 12x6 hobby plywood

  • Status as of 5/29/2016

    Andrew05/29/2016 at 21:37 0 comments

    And now to the present. After the dismal failure of my first attempt last summer, I rethought my approach. Instead of starting with one solid peice of wood, I'm starting with three peices of model grade plywood. Two for the fins and fin base, and one for the gears. I am currently very close to completing a prototype for the project. I have the materials that are listed in the components section as well as the tools needed. More pictures are to come very soon along with a log detailing the ineviatable construction woes I will face.

  • First attempt

    Andrew05/29/2016 at 21:09 0 comments

    After my intial design phase, I was finally at a point where I felt that I could build it with some confidence. So over the summer of 2015, while at my Dad's house, I got a nice looking log, some tools, and started chipping away at it to make the turbine shape. The result was less that ideal. The product was heavy, fragile, and in no way fit for spinning at any rate of speed. So frustrated was I with that crappy looking hunk of wood that it got smashed to bits and procceded to be tossed in a late night campfire, never to be seen again.

    Next log, the project as it stands now.

  • Refining the Idea

    Andrew05/29/2016 at 20:46 0 comments

    To recap events thus far: The idea had been thought of and I began thinking of construction of the turbine. For two years.

    In that time I revised my design many times in my head. I had decided to have lots of features on the wind turbine. Neodynium magnets instead of bearings, a speed sensor to stop the turbine from going to fast in high winds, a way to stack multiple on top of one another to save space and maximize efficiency, a conversion kit to allow it to work as a hydro electric generator in rivers and streams, and many other exciting things. By the end of those two years however, I realized that I needed to stick to the most important design principle of all: Keep It Simple Stupid. So I tossed all those features out the window and went with a much simpler design that only included the main fin assembly, the fin cage, and the electric motor/generator.

    Now onto building attempts in the next log.

  • Initial Idea

    Andrew05/29/2016 at 20:25 0 comments

    As I found out about Hackaday so late, these first few build logs will be summerizing the time I've spent on this project from the first idea to now.

    I first thought of the idea for this project while sitting in my 9th grade Geography class around 3 years ago. We were talking about alternative energy that day which got me thinking: There must be a better way to make a wind turbine. so I doodled ideas all over my notes and by the end of class came up with a crude idea. A hemisphere shape with multiple fins and a cover. It was a very simple design that I knew could be quite easily built, but out of what? Over the few weeks after that, I ran multiple ideas through my head to figure out what might work best. Things like wood carving, aluminium casting, sheet metal, and many others popped into my head, but all of them were too dangerous or too hard for me to do at the time. So I sontinue to think. For quite a long time actually. Close to 2 years to be exact. The next build log will discuss those two years of thinking.

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