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Old 06-27-2003, 10:42 AM   #1
BoogieQ
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

What are your ideas?

I just had this thought....


Could we not build giant 'paddle wheels' per se' out in the oceans where the currents are strongest? This would look like a swing set, you have the main cross bar and then an A frame on each side that is anchored into the the bed of the ocean. You then have a giant 'paddle wheel' or some form of device mounted to a generator and the paddles stick into the water, using ocean currents the water spins the paddle generating electricity.

Now, the best thing to do would to have these in areas where storms happen most. The paddle would be HUGE, so that if you have 100 foot waves it is hitting only one half of the paddles. You would have multiple generators with multiple paddles such as it would look like this:

-||-||-||-||-

Durring a very large storm I would think a large amount of engergy could be created and / or stored.

Fun stuff to think about, gets your noodle workin! Any other ideas?

By the way, if this would NOT work, please explain why!
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Old 06-27-2003, 11:22 AM   #2
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

Heh, at least I've got to say that's a better idea than some of the "perpetual motion" aka "something for nothing" stuff people have been coming up with of late. The only things I can think of are practicality issues. For one, how are you going to anchor it to the ocean floor that far out, with the ocean being so deep? Also, you're going to have to have a very long cord to get the electricity back where it's needed (unless you experiment with wireless electricity transfer a la Tesla ), and the losses from the length of the wire might be too great (disclaimer: IANAEE).
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Old 06-27-2003, 12:34 PM   #3
TDSLB
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Default RE: 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

The loss of electricity over time was my thought, though, if you did this off shore of a island subject to extreme tropical storms you might be able to get something however, if the paddles were to large they may reach into the air so high that during a tropical storm the wind could cancel out if not overcome the power of the waves.... Just a thought, although, I agree that water power and air power are two places that we should be considering for electricity seeing our state. I think windmills on every house is a advantagious political stance...... I'll have to think about it.

Edit:

I forgot to mention that solar houses are getting some attention... With a well made one you can not only supply your own energy but often sell it to the local energy destributer. Of course you would make mabe pennies a month but the money saved on heating and cooling alone would be enough to make it worth a shot. Now we just need solar panels that don't lose there touch after 3 years.....
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Old 06-27-2003, 01:00 PM   #4
PrinceXizor
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

As far as wind-mill style electricity generation, I always thought a sync'd micro wind-mill system would be mechnically possible (especially with the material fabrication possible today) that could be applied to a variety of structures. To my knowledge, the problem is not wind-mills themselves (sufficient design time could create non obtrusive versions imo) but again the whole problem of transferring the generated electricity into a sub-system where it is useful. I envision micro windmills (we're talking insect sizes here), in long channels, kind of like a super-long turbines that could easily be attached to buildings in various lengths and would be hardly noticeable. I'm just kind of free-thinking here, anyway, this is a very cool topic imho as some might have guessed from my other posts in HT

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Old 06-27-2003, 01:15 PM   #5
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

Quote:
Originally posted by: PrinceXizor
As far as wind-mill style electricity generation, I always thought a sync'd micro wind-mill system would be mechnically possible (especially with the material fabrication possible today) that could be applied to a variety of structures. To my knowledge, the problem is not wind-mills themselves (sufficient design time could create non obtrusive versions imo) but again the whole problem of transferring the generated electricity into a sub-system where it is useful. I envision micro windmills (we're talking insect sizes here), in long channels, kind of like a super-long turbines that could easily be attached to buildings in various lengths and would be hardly noticeable. I'm just kind of free-thinking here, anyway, this is a very cool topic imho as some might have guessed from my other posts in HT

P-X
A problem with windmills on a personal level (example: for home power generation) is that in some areas of the country, the wind supply is not constant (such as today in Indiana, where there's next to no wind, and it's freaking hot outside :Q). In that case, backup power would need to be provided by solar panels, hydro generating units, or some other source. Also, there would be the maintenance cost of replacing the rechargeable batteries (assuming you wanted power at night) and the initial expense of a powerful DC-AC inverter.
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Old 06-27-2003, 01:41 PM   #6
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

Sure it is a good idea. It is so good that it has been used for a few years and is starting to become popular. There are many "current-driven" powerplants around the world, mainly outside the coast of England. They basically use the currents caused by the tide to generate electricity. I am sure you can find info about this on the web.

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Old 06-27-2003, 02:33 PM   #7
PrinceXizor
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

Quote:
Originally posted by: jliechty
Quote:
Originally posted by: PrinceXizor
As far as wind-mill style electricity generation, I always thought a sync'd micro wind-mill system would be mechnically possible (especially with the material fabrication possible today) that could be applied to a variety of structures. To my knowledge, the problem is not wind-mills themselves (sufficient design time could create non obtrusive versions imo) but again the whole problem of transferring the generated electricity into a sub-system where it is useful. I envision micro windmills (we're talking insect sizes here), in long channels, kind of like a super-long turbines that could easily be attached to buildings in various lengths and would be hardly noticeable. I'm just kind of free-thinking here, anyway, this is a very cool topic imho as some might have guessed from my other posts in HT

P-X
A problem with windmills on a personal level (example: for home power generation) is that in some areas of the country, the wind supply is not constant (such as today in Indiana, where there's next to no wind, and it's freaking hot outside :Q). In that case, backup power would need to be provided by solar panels, hydro generating units, or some other source. Also, there would be the maintenance cost of replacing the rechargeable batteries (assuming you wanted power at night) and the initial expense of a powerful DC-AC inverter.
Actually, while there is no discernable wind on a macro level, there most certainly is on the microlevel. That is why I am interested in microfans. Actually, the problem with micro-mills is exactly the opposite, how not to blow them apart when there's 60 mph wind gusts.

P-X

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Old 06-27-2003, 03:26 PM   #8
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

[quote]
Originally posted by: PrinceXizor
Quote:


...Actually, while there is no discernable wind on a macro level, there most certainly is on the microlevel. That is why I am interested in microfans. Actually, the problem with micro-mills is exactly the opposite, how not to blow them apart when there's 60 mph wind gusts.

P-X
Wouldn't it be fairly easy to put small mesh that would allow only so much wind to pass through? Kindof the same theorey as a damper spring... Only a small amount of air would be allowed to pass over those thousands of micro fans... I'm thinking of having them on top of a house in a pipe with, mabe, a foot diameter... It would have small fans lining the inside and the pipe itself would have all of the wiring laced into the tubing with a larger cable coming out one side running into the house.... That's where my mind went with it....
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Old 06-27-2003, 05:38 PM   #9
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

Quote:
Originally posted by: PrinceXizor
Actually, while there is no discernable wind on a macro level, there most certainly is on the microlevel. That is why I am interested in microfans. Actually, the problem with micro-mills is exactly the opposite, how not to blow them apart when there's 60 mph wind gusts.

P-X
Ah, good point. I can see how there'd be a problem with generating too much current with too much wind, and blowing something up. :Q

I'm not sure, however, how you could solve the problem of slowing down too much wind, but not slowing down the wind when it is going at the speed you want. Perhaps you could have some sort of "gate" that would partially "close" to varying degrees with varying degrees of wind.
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Old 06-27-2003, 06:26 PM   #10
NathanS
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

What about a super giant capacitor that lightning could strike? Then you could either hook it up to the grid, or maybe charge electric cars with it.
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Old 06-27-2003, 07:48 PM   #11
TDSLB
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Default RE: 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

I've heard some stuff about micro machines.... little molecules that create energy when they are turned around one another.... Does anyone know more about this, I've just heard of them... I really don't know the plauseability therein.
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Old 06-27-2003, 08:30 PM   #12
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

Here's a plan for a similiar plan. It doesn't use paddles, it uses a turbine.
water power

I remember one just went online in denmark or something but I couldn't dig up the link.

Water power is completely possible but the problem with it is cost and uptime. Burning coal is just really cheap.
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Old 06-28-2003, 06:24 AM   #13
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Default RE: 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

There is a slightly related scheme where they have a large resevoir which fills up when the tide rises and drains when the tide falls. Power is created by turbines at the bottom of the wall. The problem is, you need areas with large differences between high and low tide to generate feasible amounts of power which limits it to only certain parts of the world.
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Old 06-28-2003, 06:15 PM   #14
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Default RE: 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

The "wireless electricity a la Tesla" comment reminded me of an idea I've had brooding for a couple months now. IR is energy, right? I've been thinking, the only real limitation to IR energy transfer (assuming batteries at the recieving end in case of interruption) on a smaller scale like household appliances is just throughput. Wouldn't current IR transmitters / recievers get fried with that amount of energy passing through them? I'm not exactly a Physics PhD, so I may be 100% wrong on this (and I probably am). Just correct me if I'm wrong, or flame, or something. =D
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Old 06-29-2003, 12:49 AM   #15
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Default RE: 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

As for lightning, the problem is engineering. We dont know how to design a system to store lightning that can withstand the massive currents involved. Ive heard something like one lightning bolt is enough to power a small city for an hour or something like that. We would LOVE to harness it but we dont know how.
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Old 06-29-2003, 09:38 PM   #16
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Default RE: 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

The other problem with lightning is how do you store it? Currently the way you charge a battery is with steady time and energy. Lightning is a super fast, superpowerful amount of electricity. Also, sorry, but on hour of electricity per bolt just does not seam to be enough, Here storms are few, and lightning even less. A couple of hours of free electricity from lightning is fine, but what if there is no lightning? how do you ensure strikes on the pole? Go invent a working cold fusion device. that would make you famous (a cold fusion device that produces more energy then required to start it)
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Old 06-29-2003, 10:22 PM   #17
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Default RE: 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

what about a device that is 1000m long out in the ocean. (strung depthwize, not along the surface) then bring the hot water above and cold below, and use the temp difference to generate steam? then just use a regular steam generator. (albet a low pressure one)
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Old 06-30-2003, 12:16 AM   #18
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Default RE: 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

But how are you going to get the hot water to the surface? You'd need a pump or syphening(Spelling?) system of some kind.
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Old 06-30-2003, 12:41 AM   #19
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

If we can get energy from EM radiation (in the form of solar energy), then why not get energy from all of the other frequencies of EM out there?
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Old 06-30-2003, 05:18 AM   #20
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

Quote:
Originally posted by: Akira13
If we can get energy from EM radiation (in the form of solar energy), then why not get energy from all of the other frequencies of EM out there?
Well, the solar spectrum is pretty complete (if you neglect what the atomsphere absorbs as it passes through to us on the ground. It contains just about every "naturally occuring" frequency you're going to get on the earth's surface (you can of course make emitters at specific wavelengths - but that requires energy).

Now, different frequencies have different signal strengths, and solar cells/focussed rays have been experimented with at various wavelengths. In terms of efficiency and manufacturing costs, people are currently working on crystaline/amorphous silicon, GaAs and polymer solar cell technology as these give the best (as an overall combination of efficiency and cost) results.

Cheers,

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Old 06-30-2003, 08:31 AM   #21
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

Quote:
Originally posted by: Evadman
what about a device that is 1000m long out in the ocean. (strung depthwize, not along the surface) then bring the hot water above and cold below, and use the temp difference to generate steam? then just use a regular steam generator. (albet a low pressure one)
Read the Millinial Project.

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Old 06-30-2003, 10:23 AM   #22
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

Concerning lighting storage, it seems to me that lightning itself is not an isolated phenomonen. Rather research should go into the forces behind lightning, migration of electrons, static electricity. Learn to tap the natural electrical forces in nature.

BTW, the ironic issue with windmills is the enviromental impact they have. Damage to the local bird populations is a problem. Think about how many birds die each year from radio towers. Now imagine if everyone has a 40 foot tower with a windmill in their yard.
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Old 06-30-2003, 01:19 PM   #23
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....


Another power-by-ocean idea that someone came up with:

They put these partially submerged tanks near shore that would allow waves to come in and out. The upper half of the tank was filled with air and had exhaust vents on top with turbines in them. The waves would rise and fall inside the tank and cause the air to 'inhale' and 'exhale' past the turbine vanes.

The initial home-grown design worked really well and the last I hear they were looking at putting a farm of them off the west coast somewhere.


Anyone seen that design for that solar tower they are going to put up in Australia? It's basically a big circular greenhouse several miles in diameter. In the middle is this BIG tower - tallest building in the world kinda big - that was filled with turbines. The warming air of the greenhouse would expand and vent out of the tower during the day generating something like almost 100mph winds near the center. It's supposed to be able to power a small city.
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Old 06-30-2003, 01:28 PM   #24
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

I'm sure fish work their way into hydroelectric systems as well... so the issue with the birds is kind of moot.

Some awesome ideas in here! I really like that link posted to the power being generated from the currents!

There are tons of ways we could generate electricity, finding the big ones and harnessing it is the hard part I think. Lightning and the Ocean seem to be the top two... however Solar and Wind could be equally powerful.

I would not imagine our electrical system would be completely replaced by these systems as your not always guarented light, wind, lightning. However, think of the impact if say 25, 30,50% of the electrical load could be offset by using natrual energy sources.



How bout this idea... for airplanes to be more fuel efficient. I know they burn fuel to turn the engines and I am not sure HOW but I would assume they run some form of 'alternator' off those engines in order to provide the electricity needed for the cabin, instruments, etc. Why not have a bunch of smaller 'windmils' along the body of the airplane that would generate the electricity for the plane? This should take SOME load off the engines allowing them to burn less fuel. The drag brough on would be minimal I would think provided they are properly designed ( it could look like a mini jet engine on the top of the body, and be shaft driven to the generator below the body so it has minimal exposure with an air outlet through the back.


I really like the idea one of the car makers did where a generator runs when the car is using it's breaks to use some of that energy that would normaly be wasted to charge it's batteries a bit.


The big generators in power plants must be putting off some heat I would think right? Could that heat be used to boil even more water using some of it's own wasted engergy to be a bit more efficient and use less coal?
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Old 06-30-2003, 01:32 PM   #25
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Default 'Outside the box' ways to generate electricity....

Quote:
Anyone seen that design for that solar tower they are going to put up in Australia? It's basically a big circular greenhouse several miles in diameter. In the middle is this BIG tower - tallest building in the world kinda big - that was filled with turbines. The warming air of the greenhouse would expand and vent out of the tower during the day generating something like almost 100mph winds near the center. It's supposed to be able to power a small city.
THAT is sweet!!!!!

Any links? Pictures?
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