Building Your Own Wind Generator
Today, wind power is said to be one of the most efficient and environmentally sustainable means of generating power which is required for pretty much everything, from industrial production to our very own human consumption, which we still pretty much take for granted during the course of our daily lives. It is also one of the cheapest methods to generate power. But the mass-roll-out of wind turbines is still in its infancy with many nations’ governments being slow to react to this vital contributor towards economies of scale and in spite of the proactive drive towards this clean, green form of energy production. So, chances are good that your neighborhood or town is not yet powered by wind energy. Nor is your home.
Wind generators are relatively easy and simple to make, and they can save you a lot of money on electric bills if you can build your own. And that is what this article is going to attempt to do- help you build your very own wind generator through the gathering and assembly of relatively common and cheap components.
You can power your home right in your own backyard
For the time being, you are saddled with the increasing and high costs of electricity and gas, both unsustainable power sources and harmful emitters of carbon dioxide into the Earth’s atmosphere. But, did you know that having your own wind generator will save you thousands of dollars, if not more during the entire course of your life? To emphasize this, here are three advantages of having your own, home-made generator.
- Costs – We already mentioned the likelihood of massive savings. Let’s expand on this a little further. Most urban areas around the world are not yet connected to this sustainable source of power production via a national grid, and it may still be some years off too. However, your wind generator, in your own backyard, is also not connected nationally or locally, so you pay no bills.
- Environmental sustainability – The windmill remains one of the most environmentally sustainable power apparatuses. Its only source of power remains the wind, nothing else.
- Clean and aesthetic – The small-scale generator, like the large turbines, remains a clean source of energy production. And because your generator is essentially small, it can be located discreetly in your garden, covered when not in use, and will not make much noise when in use.
Wind Turbine Components
Go to any website in the universe and you will find that there are many ways of doing things or building them. But, the universal principle, if you will, always remains the same. Here we list the main components that are required for building your own little wind turbine or generator for your backyard and your home.
- Building the body
- The all-important blades
- A motor
- The central hub
- Diode and batteries
What the processes entail
It is all up to you how much electricity you are aiming to generate. But for the practical purposes of serving a beginner, these processes get you started on generating the bare minimum, but surprisingly more power than you would have imagined possible. Also, your focus is on producing green energy so there is not going to be too much emphasis on or heavy use of traditional power outlets. Let’s begin with the first step.
Seven Steps to Follow
1. Tools – In the building of your wind generator you are going to begin with tools such as wire strippers and soldering irons. For the generator itself, you’ll also be using recyclable items such as two liter plastic soda bottles, their caps, light but thin strips of metal, epoxy and glue. You’re also going to need traditional tools such as a saw, wrenches and an electric drill. The most important tool of all is your construction plan.
2. Constructing the wind-catchment area – Now let’s start talking about the building processes that will be followed. The wind-catchment area is essentially the component that will be collecting the wind. For this component, the tops of the plastic bottles need to be sawn off (below the neck). Once you’ve done this, you can proceed to the next step.
3. Creating couplets – As an extension to creating the wind-catchment area, you can begin by using epoxy to join the bottle tops together, fixing them back-to-back until you have four coupling components.
4. Building a ‘fan’ – It won’t be used as a fan but mechanistically it will work similarly. You’ll be carving an X out of the metal strips. It should be at least more than a foot long and at least one inch wide. After you have carved out your fan, you can secure your couplets with epoxy to the new fan. Before moving onto the next step, allow the epoxy to harden.
5. Connecting the wind-catchment to the fan – It is as easy as this; provided that you have designed and built your couplets accurately to specifications (from your own plan or elsewhere), all you have to do here is screw the bottle tops into the couplets.
6. The intricate matter of the generator – After you’ve put together your fan, you still need to add the generator. Here, the diodes and battery serve its purpose. Again, use epoxy to secure both components (generator and fan). Edges, if any, can be secured with glue.
7. The wind generator still needs to stand somewhere – For this, you can build a stand. This also depends on what type of motor (generator) you have designed and built. Ultimately, the stand will be small and a rectangular piece of wood can be trimmed and planed to create a base. When you’ve built the stand, securely attach both generator and fan to the stand. Here, emphasis is on securing the apparatus to keep it stable in the event of strong winds which would normally knock this light apparatus over. You can use weighting mechanisms to keep the generator fast.
Did you know that you can even use solar power here?
Instead of using batteries and diodes to power the generator, you could use solar power motors, adding yet another sweet touch to your mission to make your home as environmentally sustainable as possible. This will also depend on how much power you intend to generate for your home. It is still possible to make your home entirely independent from your national grid in the near future, whether through wind or solar power, or both (ideally, you will have both). For now, you could consider this exercise as valuable practice.
Benefits of Having Your Own Wind Generator
At the beginning of this article, we did mention three key advantages already. However, how this little wind turbine benefits you in the long run, depends entirely on you and your immediate needs and purposes. Domestically, and to finish off this introductory guide on building a small wind generator, here are some ideas for you to think about in the meantime.
- Portable use – At this stage, your little turbine may not have the capacity to power your entire home without having to rely on other conventional and non-sustainable sources of energy. For now, as a lightweight, portable device you could vary your energy use and locate the generator close to where it’s needed.
- Hot water geyser – The home’s hot water geyser remains the main and most expensive itemized user of electricity in your home. Prioritizing costs, you could hook up the generator to the geyser.
- Feeding the water supply – Windmills of the past were used to pump water. There’s no reason why you can’t do this as well. The wind turbine can be used to feed your entire garden, especially your organic vegetable garden.
- Focus areas – Take advantage of the device’s portability and also use it as a measuring device to see which area of your home (apart from the geyser) uses up the most power.
We hope that this guide has inspired you towards finding new, innovative ways of powering up your home without the aid of the non-sustainable grid. What it has also shown you is that there is much that you can do with recycled items instead of tossing them into the garbage can.
Image credit: Martin Abegglen , Larry Smith
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