Salient White Elephant

April 27, 2009

Synopsis of the Best Design Tricks Developed to Date

This is the 100th post on the Salient White Elephant! To celebrate the Salient Centenary, I thought I’d try to summarize the lessons learned and tricks developed up to this point.

  1. Reduce size, weight, and number of wind turbines by replacing turbines with AeroArchitecture (fixed structures that direct, accelerate, and concentrate flow).
  2. Instead of placing the turbine rotor at high altitude, bring the high-energy high-altitude wind down to the rotor. If it isn’t possible to bring the high-altitude wind down to the rotor, consider using the high-altitude wind to accelerate the low-altitude wind in the manner of a flow diffuser. (That is, use high-altitude wind to draw a vacuum behind the rotor.)
  3. Develop stationary flow accelerating structures that perform equally well (or almost equally well) regardless of wind direction.
  4. Increase capacity factor by maximizing size and minimizing weight of AeroArchitecture, by minimizing cut-in wind speed, and by minimizing rated wind speed. Regulate power output and protect stationary light-weight AeroArchitectural structures from storm wind damage by providing stationary structures with means for regulating the amount of wind that passes through the structure unimpeded.
  5. Further increase capacity factor by spreading turbines and structures over the widest possible geographical area. (I’m assuming here that it is more likely that the wind isn’t blowing in a single, small spot than in many geographically dispersed places.)
  6. Place turbines and other weather sensitive components inside of AeroArchitectural structures if possible. (Note that this protects turbines from lightning damage as well as from exposure to other weather.) If it isn’t possible to place turbines inside of AeroArchitecture, then try to make the AeroArchitecture taller than turbines, and then put lightning rods on top of Architecture.
  7. If the design enjoys the luxury of operating within a limited and confined space, consider using the same tricks that wind tunnel designers use to reduce turbulence.
  8. Build turbines to last for 30 years; build AeroArchitecture to last for 1,000 years.
  9. Employ airborne structures that either don’t need to move at all, or else that only need to move for the purpose of yawing. (Avoid airborne structures that move like a turbine rotor in order to harvest energy.)

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