In case you can't quite picture the Idea from the subtitle, first
consider the Earth's magnetic field, which has "lines of force"
mostly running northward and southward, from most locations
the surface of the planet.
One bit of information that tends to surprise people is a naming
The thing called the world's "North Magnetic Pole" is
actually the SOUTH magnetic pole of the world's overall
field, even though it is located near the world's geophysical
pole. This confusion came about because in compasses, the
pole of the compass-magnet is a actually a "north SEEKING"
and so it is attracted to a magnetic South pole. And all other
magnets got marked to be similar to compass magnets.
Next, think about prevailing winds, which mostly go from west
east, all around the world. We want some nice large
looking rectangular sails for this Idea. Unlike traditional sails,
these will be large enough to require significant material
strength, and they must be electrically conductive. We await
cloth made of carbon nanotubes for the ultimate application of
this Idea, but on a slightly smaller scale, aluminum foil ought to
I now ask you to look at the "streetcar" link, and note how there
a kind of "wheel" where the vehicle gets power from the
cable. For this Idea, we need 4 cables, two that are above the
tree-tops, and two more that are high above first two. It would
be nice if we could run those cables across the whole east/west
width of the continent --a really long distance in EurAsia! We
probably going to want 8 of those wheel-gadgets for each sail.
With respect to each sail, if the conductive material is as
physically weak as aluminum foil, we will probably want a
that has its corners at the four cables mentioned above. For a
stronger sail material, only the upper and lower pair of frame-
edges are needed. In either case, at each corner there are two
the wheel-gadgets clamping the cable between them.
At the west coast of the continent, we mount a sail onto the
cables, and let the wind blow the sail across the continent, its
wheels rolling along the cables. We
add more sails at regular intervals. At the east end of the line,
the sails are rolled up (easier to do when there are only two
frame-edges) and shipped back to the west coast, perhaps by
railroad, a great many at a time.
WHILE each sail crosses the continent, it directly generates
Current electricity. The conductive material is crossing
the lines of the planetary magnetic field in such a way that
electricity should be induced to flow downward through the sail
(from the upper cables to the lower cables). The frame-
help carry current from/to the cables, spreading it across the
width of the sail.
This Idea WILL work, but it is Half-Baked because the Earth's
magnetic field is rather feeble, even if it is hugely extensive. I
do not expect any really-large amount of power to be
even with each sail being a hundred meters high and a hundred
meters wide, and thousands of them all across the continent.
of course whenever the wind stalls in a specific section of the
"line", power stops getting generated there.