Look For The Power LLC
“Horizontal axis wind turbines are provided that have a rotor including a hub having at least one blade extending therefrom. A first rotatable member is coupled to the rotor and configured to rotate in relation to wind-induced rotation of the rotor. A tower supports the rotor and has a base. A second rotatable member is spaced from the first rotatable member toward the base of the tower. An endless member engages the first rotatable member and the second rotatable member to convey a rotational force therebetween. An electrical generator is coupled to the second rotatable member.”
Here are some immediate advantages:
the concrete and steel needed are reduced, as they are supporting far less weight - the generator
with less weight, installation costs are reduced, and the process is simplified. Smaller cranes, and
maintenance costs are reduced.
It’s a lot easier to maintain and service a generator either on the ground or on a stationary platform over open water, rather than 260 feet in the air. That is a utility lineman’s job with skills, training, complexity, safety concerns, and equipment costs multiplied many times over.
There is mechanical inefficiency and friction loss in every such arrangement as suggested. But these inefficiencies are offset by lower costs.
This innovation is the subject of U.S. Patent US11,009,010B1, “Wind-powered electric generator with base-mounted generator”, 5/18/2021, John Saavedra and Look For The Power, LLC. Here is the Abstract, written in the sometimes arcane language of patents:
Mounting the generator on the base has advantages even for smaller, home- or farm-use turbines. For example, the nacelle of the Bergey Model Excel 10 (10 kW) weighs between 955 and 1022 lbs, a significant portion of which is the generator. Positioning the generator on the base rather than atop the tower lowers the site prep cost, tower cost, as well as installation (crane), operation, and maintenance costs.
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“Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.” Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, 1937 Nobel Prize for Medicine, Discovery of Vitamin C
Windmills D1-D4 (Thornton Bank).jpg, Creative Commons
With wind turbines, bigger is not always better. Wikipedia states that an average-sized wind turbine today (1.5 MW) has:
a 260-ft tall tower
a nacelle, weighing 115,000 lbs. (57.5 tons), housing the electrical generator
29 tons of steel and 250 cubic yards of concrete in its base.
250 cu yds of concrete is 25 large cement mixer trucks, 10 cu yds each.
A 57.5 ton nacelle is equivalent to nineteen 2023 Ford F-150 Lightning pickup trucks, or 116 9-ft Steinway Model D concert grand pianos.
260 feet in the air. Buffeted by strong, variable winds. Often mounted over open water, such as rough seas or oceans.
The innovation / invention
What if the generator were mounted either on the ground or the turbine base, instead of 260 ft in the air, connected to the wind turbine rotor with either pulleys and cables, like a ski lift or aerial tram, or with sprockets and chains for smaller units?
The Siemens SG 14-222 DD offshore wind turbine is almost three times as large.
The electric generator is often the largest, heaviest, most complex, most expensive, and hardest to maintain component of any wind turbine system. Maintenance is made all the more difficult because the generator is hundreds of feet in the air.
Needless to say, this represents a huge capital investment.