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(Some Guy)   Engineer says wind farm site is too windy   (newsvine.com) divider line 71
    More: Ironic, wind farms, turbines, wind turbines, wind power, Roxbury, Lewiston, Maine  
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4289 clicks; posted to Geek » on 06 Nov 2009 at 9:15 PM (5 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



71 Comments   (+0 »)
   

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2009-11-06 05:32:58 PM  
 
2009-11-06 05:42:43 PM  
They should just build it on the other side of town from Taco Bell.
 
2009-11-06 05:56:35 PM  
I'm confused- aren't most of those turbines equipped with variable pitch propellers so they can feather them when the wind gets too strong?
 
2009-11-06 06:09:26 PM  
I think the point is that the wind has gusts that exceed the maximum force the equipment is designed to withstand.
 
2009-11-06 06:55:48 PM  
That's not really irony...
 
2009-11-06 07:20:33 PM  
Dinki: I'm confused- aren't most of those turbines equipped with variable pitch propellers so they can feather them when the wind gets too strong?

Yes. But when you feather the blades, the turbines aren't producing power. Doesn't make sense putting a wind farm in a place where they would be useless most of the time.
 
2009-11-06 08:46:52 PM  
They don't call the USA the "Saudi Arabia of Wind Power" for nothing, even if Glenn Beck is laid up in the hospital.
 
2009-11-06 09:30:39 PM  
This sounds like one of those namby-pamby Republican excuses to do nothing about global warming
 
2009-11-06 09:34:33 PM  
What are the bearings made of?
 
2009-11-06 09:34:40 PM  
Dinki
I'm confused- aren't most of those turbines equipped with variable pitch propellers so they can feather them when the wind gets too strong?

Some are geared to keep from spinning too fast, is also helps that they will lock (from spinning) in higher winds to keep from failing.
 
2009-11-06 09:38:59 PM  
Dinki: I'm confused- aren't most of those turbines equipped with variable pitch propellers so they can feather them when the wind gets too strong?

Perhaps the wind sometimes gets too strong for even those measures to be effective?
 
2009-11-06 09:45:53 PM  
SoothinglyDeranged: That's not really irony...

Yes, it is. It's ironic that the type of weather that makes the site attractive to wind-turbine builders is the same type that will prevent them from building there.
 
2009-11-06 09:49:08 PM  
SoothinglyDeranged: That's not really irony...

It's a hell of a lot closer than some headlines with the img1.fark.net tag, heh.
 
2009-11-06 09:50:37 PM  
If this guy can build a windmill in Malawi out of broken bicycles and bamboo, some engineers need to get their asses fired.
whiteafrican.com
/hotlinked
 
2009-11-06 09:54:31 PM  
i629.photobucket.com

windmills?
 
2009-11-06 10:01:15 PM  
PenguinTheRed:

That video deserves a

rhizome.org
 
2009-11-06 10:01:56 PM  
PenguinTheRed: What a wind turbine in an area too windy for wind turbines might look like

That reminded me of Contact.
 
2009-11-06 10:05:42 PM  
I knew a guy who had two wind turbines on his farm, but there wasn't enough wind for two, so he took one down.
 
2009-11-06 10:10:32 PM  
UNAUTHORIZED FINGER: I knew a guy who had two wind turbines on his farm, but there wasn't enough wind for two, so he took one down.

If you don't connect them in parallel all the wind looses volts.
 
Ask
2009-11-06 10:11:37 PM  
Marcus Aurelius: They don't call the USA the "Saudi Arabia of Wind Power" for nothing, even if Glenn Beck is laid up in the hospital.

I have never heard it be called that. Is this something new or am I terribly out of the loop?
 
2009-11-06 10:20:00 PM  
SeamusFerrell: What are the bearings made of?

Balls
 
2009-11-06 10:21:23 PM  
Asa Phelps: I think the point is that the wind has gusts that exceed the maximum force the equipment is designed to withstand.

That makes sense. But my next question to the engineers would be: why can't you design one can withstand those gusts?
 
2009-11-06 10:24:25 PM  
Honest Bender: Asa Phelps: I think the point is that the wind has gusts that exceed the maximum force the equipment is designed to withstand.

That makes sense. But my next question to the engineers would be: why can't you design one can withstand those gusts?


Narrator: A new car built by my company leaves somewhere traveling at 60 mph. The rear differential locks up. The car crashes and burns with everyone trapped inside. Now, should we initiate a recall? Take the number of vehicles in the field, A, multiply by the probable rate of failure, B, multiply by the average out-of-court settlement, C. A times B times C equals X. If X is less than the cost of a recall, we don't do one.
Woman on plane: Are there a lot of these kinds of accidents?
Narrator: You wouldn't believe.
Woman on plane: Which car company do you work for?
Narrator: A major one.
 
2009-11-06 10:25:56 PM  
Honest Bender: Asa Phelps: I think the point is that the wind has gusts that exceed the maximum force the equipment is designed to withstand.

That makes sense. But my next question to the engineers would be: why can't you design one can withstand those gusts?


centrifugal force is a biatch! High winds tear the windmills apart and it appears we do not have the technology to deal with it.
 
2009-11-06 10:35:35 PM  
so why are they doing prop style horizontal windmills and not vertical windmills
 
2009-11-06 10:46:06 PM  
Ask: I have never heard it be called that. Is this something new or am I terribly out of the loop?

Terribly out of the loop. The entire area that became the dust bowl (parts of Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado) have some obscene numbers for # of consecutive windy days and average number of days/year where wind speed meets or exceeds the requirements for a commercial turbine. And that's one tiny little corner of the country.
 
2009-11-06 10:47:27 PM  
Honest Bender: But my next question to the engineers would be: why can't you design one can withstand those gusts?

Weight.

loonatic112358: so why are they doing prop style horizontal windmills and not vertical windmills

Vertical windmill blades face into the wind during half of their rotation cycle which is highly inefficient. Also, you get more sweep area with a horizontal turbine. Power = (sweep area) squared.
 
2009-11-06 11:03:54 PM  
pheelix: If this guy can build a windmill in Malawi out of broken bicycles and bamboo, some engineers need to get their asses fired.

Drop a Tonka toy from a foot up. Drop a mid-size sedan from 100 feet up and enjoy its spectacular destruction.

Do you see why it's easier to build a personal-class windmill than it is to build one the size of a football stadium?
 
2009-11-06 11:15:00 PM  
erik-k: ?

Perhaps the engineers should be confined in this area for a month, forced to find their own food, water, shelter, and design and build a windmill as part of a "reward challenge." Their only source of support will be the insight and guidance of a group of the best and brightest middle managers. It will truly show that American business is not driven by greed or sabotage, but dedication to teamwork, innovation, and freedom. Television programing this real has never been done.
 
2009-11-06 11:23:18 PM  
'Engineers' or just Out-of-Box Windmill Installers?
 
2009-11-06 11:25:23 PM  
erik-k: pheelix: If this guy can build a windmill in Malawi out of broken bicycles and bamboo, some engineers need to get their asses fired.

Drop a Tonka toy from a foot up. Drop a mid-size sedan from 100 feet up and enjoy its spectacular destruction.

Do you see why it's easier to build a personal-class windmill than it is to build one the size of a football stadium?


Your example doesn't even need to be that dramatic to make its point.
 
Ask
2009-11-06 11:38:04 PM  
Occam's Chainsaw: Ask: I have never heard it be called that. Is this something new or am I terribly out of the loop?

Terribly out of the loop. The entire area that became the dust bowl (parts of Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado) have some obscene numbers for # of consecutive windy days and average number of days/year where wind speed meets or exceeds the requirements for a commercial turbine. And that's one tiny little corner of the country.


Curious. How do they intend to export it? Because that's the only reason I can see a comparison with Saudi Arabia being justified.
 
2009-11-06 11:43:50 PM  
So the site isn't suitable, find another one. Simpler than re-engineering something that has already been mass produced.
 
2009-11-07 12:03:04 AM  
FTFA: A separate wind power project is under construction on Record Hill in Roxbury, also near Rumford.

Translation: "Roxbury paid us the proper 'tributes' so it gets the wind farm. Suck it, Rumford!"
 
2009-11-07 12:24:13 AM  
Actually, it's probably the excessive turbulent wind that makes it unsuitable; wind turbines 'like' strong, consistent wind speeds. Turbulent wind wears out generators and snaps blades.

BTW, vertical axis turbines in large applications suck because the torsional force applied to the hub is humongous. Turbine designers spend a huge amount of time trying to minimize torsional load and repetitive stress wear.

Also, RockIsDead, even the line projects guys typically have a minimum of a BS in engineering and significant specialized training.

/worked with the things until today
//reorg, wooooo!
 
2009-11-07 12:39:11 AM  
There are some turbine designs that handle high wind better, however some haven't as yet been scaled to the size required for a project like this. Some have and been found to lose efficiency at bigger sizes or have other issues. Indeed it's not so much that a place is too windy for turbines, we just don't have turbines suitable to the wind conditions there, yet.

Here's what a less common wind turbine design may look like

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2009-11-07 12:40:30 AM  
BTW here is a wind map from DOE that is similar to the commercial maps I have seen. Now compare it with this grid map and you'll see the real bottleneck* in putting in serious amounts of wind. You can throw up hundreds of turbines in Wyoming and Idaho but it won't matter if you can't ship the power out.

* - after commercial credit crunch, that is. Capital funding for the past year or two has been a biatch for customers.
 
2009-11-07 12:54:54 AM  
UsikFark: erik-k: ?

Perhaps the engineers should be confined in this area for a month, forced to find their own food, water, shelter, and design and build a windmill as part of a "reward challenge." Their only source of support will be the insight and guidance of a group of the best and brightest middle managers. It will truly show that American business is not driven by greed or sabotage, but dedication to teamwork, innovation, and freedom. Television programing this real has never been done.


rofl engineer survivor. what will happen:
they talk about something really stupid like stargate for 40 minutes.
then they get into an argument about if stargates could really work.
each engineer decides they work better alone so they all draw plans of 1/4 of the windmill and leave it for some poor saps to build.
 
2009-11-07 01:00:01 AM  
Honest Bender: Asa Phelps: I think the point is that the wind has gusts that exceed the maximum force the equipment is designed to withstand.

That makes sense. But my next question to the engineers would be: why can't you design one can withstand those gusts?


Engineering would be very, very easy if absolute strength was the only factor involved. Weight, cost, ability to manufacture, life-cycle, maintenance and other things factor in when designing.
 
2009-11-07 01:18:33 AM  
I said design one that can withstand the gusts. Not make existing models tougher. I'm not talking about slapping iron plating on them. Add a transmission to the thing (if it doesn't have one) or add more gears/beef up the existing one.

Another idea that immediately comes to mind would be to adjust the angle of the blades to reduce wind resistance when blade torque/speed exceeds safe levels. It would actually work better if the blades rested at a point of minimal resistance and only increased resistance if the wind conditions allowed for it.

I'm sure a few bright young engineers could come up with an elegant implementation for this.

These are just a few simple ideas.
 
2009-11-07 01:19:26 AM  
Occam's Chainsaw: Ask: I have never heard it be called that. Is this something new or am I terribly out of the loop?

Terribly out of the loop. The entire area that became the dust bowl (parts of Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado) have some obscene numbers for # of consecutive windy days and average number of days/year where wind speed meets or exceeds the requirements for a commercial turbine. And that's one tiny little corner of the country.


I wonder they could just engineer a turbine to work in higher wind. Perhaps with shorter blades.

Then again, if the could, they probably would.
 
2009-11-07 02:09:15 AM  
Mr Logo: Occam's Chainsaw: Ask: I have never heard it be called that. Is this something new or am I terribly out of the loop?

Terribly out of the loop. The entire area that became the dust bowl (parts of Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado) have some obscene numbers for # of consecutive windy days and average number of days/year where wind speed meets or exceeds the requirements for a commercial turbine. And that's one tiny little corner of the country.

I wonder they could just engineer a turbine to work in higher wind. Perhaps with shorter blades.

Then again, if the could, they probably would.


As soze said earlier, I don't believe it's about maximum wind speeds being too high (although that can be a problem), it's more likely that the site has too turbulent of wind, aka buffeting. It could likely be done engineering wise, but the inefficiencies with the design would make it cost prohibitive.

Imagine having to design an internal combustion engine (less rotational mass, more rotational speed, but high inertia none-the-less). Now it's fairly straight forward to design an engine to be able to run at higher RPMs for limited periods of time - aka high winds. Turbulence is different. It's more akin to designing a wind turbine to take buffeting is similar to designing an engine to take constant clutch drops. Stress like that is going to blow out something in the engine or drive train in a short amount of time - no matter how well engineered. If you over-engineer the parts, the cost will skyrocket and the negatively affect performance.

The site is likely abusive to standard turbines. A site where your wind speed varies in intensity wildly is a poor location for a wind generator, regardless of the level of average wind speed.
 
2009-11-07 08:55:13 AM  
Mr Logo: I wonder they could just engineer a turbine to work in higher wind. Perhaps with shorter blades.

Then again, if the could, they probably would.


I'm sure with short enough blades it would work, but maybe you wouldn't get enough power out of it. Airplane props spin at several hundred mph, and some of those are wooden.
 
2009-11-07 10:07:16 AM  
A close friend has turbines on the Fowler wind farm in Indiana, which consists of more than 400 turbines. They damp the blades (they can be feathered or turned parallel to the wind like an aircraft propeller) above 29 mph.
 
2009-11-07 10:13:50 AM  
Engineer says wind farm site is too windy

That blows.
 
2009-11-07 10:56:46 AM  
I'm sure a nuclear power plant would work just fine...

but why be rational...
 
2009-11-07 11:59:28 AM  
I've never seen something break wind like that.
 
2009-11-07 03:18:11 PM  
PenguinTheRed: What a wind turbine in an area too windy for wind turbines might look like

That's a really old Vestas design from the 70's, they fixed the problem almost 30 years back - unfortunately, some of the customers still had legacy designs well into the 90s.

/I know, I used to work for Vestas as a verification engineer.
 
2009-11-07 03:20:53 PM  
Dinki: I'm confused- aren't most of those turbines equipped with variable pitch propellers so they can feather them when the wind gets too strong?

Yes, they do. It depends on how responsive the control system is to changes in wind speed and wind directions. Another option is turbine yawing, but that option isn't generally used unless feathering is almost impossible. As far as I know, all the large turbines (over 700 kW) made by Vestas have variable pitch.
 
2009-11-07 03:26:12 PM  
The problem of gearbox/transmission design to withstand variable/impact loading is something which has occupied the energies of engineers designing wind turbines for a very long time. Enercon had come up with an innovative generator design which completely does away with the gearbox, but that one's pretty expensive, and some of the other wind turbine companies feel that iterative improvements in gearbox design would be more economically feasible than getting rid of the gearbox completely.
 
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