Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Solar Wind Turbine2

Solar panels on wind turbine blades
  (+4, -2)
(+4, -2)
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We've all seen how gargantuan the windmills on wind farms are. The blades on these things are huge. Aside from initial cost (seeing as how these things pay for themselves over time, approx. 8 years), why not mount arrays of solar panels on the blades themselves? *Each blade is usually between 20 and 40m long. That's plenty of room to add panels. Why not make the surface of the blades into solar panels to begin with? It would take some engineering, but the added efficiency might be worth it. *The rotation of the turbine into the wind is computer controlled and could turn the blades into the sun during times of no/low wind. *If the panels cannot be put mounted on the outside(perhaps an unacceptable increase in drag), the blades could be made clear and the panels mounted inside.
Holeinmysock, Aug 08 2007

Laddermill http://www.ockels.nl/
If you take them high enough you could get above the clouds and enjoy permanent sunlight. [django, Aug 08 2007]

Crooke's Radiometer http://www.physics....rmo/demo/4d2010.htm
Generating thrust from solar energy [Wrongfellow, Aug 14 2007]


       Panels operate poorly when their face is not close to perpendicular to incoming light.
the dog's breakfast, Aug 08 2007

       //Panels operate poorly when their face is not close to perpendicular to incoming light// You could use mirrors and prisms to channel light onto the blades which contain solar panels.   

       My biggest worry are the wires. Every solar panel I've ever seen has wires for the output. They will get wound up around the turbine's shaft. I presume you'd have to reverse the blade pitch half the time so it would run backwards and unwind•
vincevincevince, Aug 08 2007

       [the vinces], the wires would not be a problem, as you would simply have similar slip-discs to the generator (as far as I know, they dont use permenant magnets)   

       The problem is weight. The addition of the solar panels would increase the weight of the blades which have to be very light. Also, while they are long they are very thin so you dont actually have that much area to work with
miasere, Aug 08 2007

       //My biggest worry are the wires//   

       Slip rings would be one way to solve this problem.   

       Alternatively, since this is the halfbakery, each turbine blade could have a small motorised propeller mounted at its tip. Energy from the solar panels would turn this propeller, pushing the turbine in its preferred direction of rotation and getting converted back into electricity by the main generator.
Wrongfellow, Aug 08 2007

       Not a bad point [Wrongfellow], Im sure it takes much more energy to turn a turbine from stationary than from moving
miasere, Aug 08 2007

       This could actually work with wind-power systems based on kites [check link]. As long as they're thin film photovoltaics.
django, Aug 08 2007

       Oh cool, I like the Laddermill.
Holeinmysock, Aug 09 2007

       I like this idea because with current silicon PV's, heat reduces the efficiency. Having them mounted onto turbine blades will allow them to be cooled, increasing their efficiency.   

       But then having them on turbine blades also causes them to lose out on half of the daytime sunlight.
twitch, Aug 10 2007

       Hmmm. I'm actually kind of taken with that idea that the solar cells drive a propeller. It was silly, but it leads onto ideas that might actually work.   

       If there was some way to generate extra thrust from solar energy (but not necessarily solar cells) then this could be really good.   

       I'm thinking more about making the blades out of some material than heats up in the sun and in some way (no idea how, this is the bakery remember) gets a jet of air moving. I'm sure there were some ideas on this using something called thermoacoustic power.   

       Probably it won't work, but maybe it will?? Thermoacoustic power sounds like the kind of thing you guys dig here at the bakery. Take it away...
AllyAl, Aug 13 2007

       You can generate a tiny bit of thrust from solar energy using a Crooke's radiometer (see link).   

       The idea of scaling this up to generate power seems suitably half-baked to me!
Wrongfellow, Aug 14 2007


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