Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Vane-less Ion Wind Turbine

Ion loop to create even more electricity than you used
  (+5, -1)
(+5, -1)
  [vote for,

A large tube (maybe more like a "vortex tunnel") is placed on the top of a mast that allows it to pivot in the wind. Starting with the slightest breeze, the upwind end releases pulses of negative ions from the forward lip and turns on coils the length of the walls. The movement of charge then creates electricity by Lenz' Law (remember that "right-hand rule" from science class?). A ring of anodes at the other end conserves the charge for reuse.

The real question is, "does it produce more electricity than it uses?". Ion generators don't take much power, so maybe the electricity produced by the wind moving the ion-ladened air would be more than a regular turbine with a spinning prop...or maybe not.

There may be size-related issues: a regular wind turbine at the size individual homes need has a blade 10-15ft across, while commercial versions can be hundreds of feet across. The ionic effect may only work in small versions, due to the next question: does the effect of the ions moving by only work very close to the inner walls, or is saturation of the entire cross-section useful -- if so, there may have to be a screen across the whole front opening to get full effect.

Again, I have no idea of the finer points of physics for this - just that book learnin' that I never used in real life!

cowtown, May 07 2003

Ionic Wind Power Redundant [omegatron, Jul 30 2005]

US Patent 4,206,396: Charged aerosol generator with uni-electrode source by Alvin M. Marks https://www.google.ca/patents/US4206396
The mentioned patent. It's long since expired, so I guess we can use this technology. [notexactly, Jan 14 2016]

And baked, three years ago. http://www.gizmag.c...wind-turbine/26907/
Though [TerranFury] said it was baked way back in 2004 [notexactly, Mar 23 2016]

Cursory Wikipedia Search... https://en.wikipedi..._ion_wind_generator
[bs0u0155, Mar 24 2016]

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       //The real question is, "does it produce more electricity than it uses?".//   

       and the answer is a resounding "NO."   

       My question is: "Does it produce more croissants than fishbones?"   

       Let's wait and see.
ato_de, May 07 2003

       (+) For making me think.
FloridaManatee, May 07 2003

       You know, if this were to be placed in a fast enough wind, it might actually work (faster movement = bigger amount of electricity), but I doubt it'd amount to much. But I guess that's the meaning of halfbaked. +
galukalock, May 07 2003

       Thanks for the patent reference - at least I'm not the only one who thought this would work! And I'm curious...how many men have been to Athol, and were they straight or gay?
cowtown, May 07 2003

       Honestly, I've been to Athol. It is well named. It's not a place for people of any persuasion (straight, gay or curious.) It has cows, trees and xenophobic people. It truly is a hole. Well, the cows and trees are friendly.
sartep, May 08 2003

       I think that this idea ought to be investigated, as there seems to be significant benefits in an alternative wind generator. At least in my country the windmill fields are subject to opposition by ultraconservationists, who consider them to spoil the landscapes and to be very dangerous for protected bird species.   

       A screwless wind generator could make it less agressive to landscape and less dangerous to birds.
rpardell, Sep 02 2003

       At first I thought that this was yet another idea for some sort of perpetual motion device (any device which creates more power than it uses). The query "does it produce more power than it uses" may be more accurate if "produce" is replaced with "extract". The idea seems to be a device which imparts a charge to a medium (air), and uses this charge as a means to extract the kinetic energy of the air as electricity. I don't pretend to know how you'd make this work, but barring further investigation, the idea seems sound. (+)
Freefall, Dec 13 2003

       Greatest idea ever. Only problem is: What happens if a stray animal somehow grounds one of your 300 kV electrodes? I guess you'd need a circuit-breaker. :-)
TerranFury, Feb 26 2004

       This idea reminds me of two things: 1) a gas powered Van DeGraff machine, perfect for generating extremely high voltages and low currents and 2) something that I saw at MIT many years ago, which generated a small amount of electric power from water droplets.   

       In a Van DeGraff machine, electrons are pulled off of thin needles by an insulating belt. Electrons build up on the tips of the needles because they can't oppose each other like they can on a flat surface. Whenever a small chunk of insulating belt gets near a negatively charged needle tip, it becomes polarized and pulls off some electrons.   

       Using water droplets may help to pull off more electrons.   

       Ever put a charged comb near a running faucet?
elvatoedwardo, May 12 2004

       So this is an ionic wind device run backwards? That's a cool idea. Not sure how it would work, though...
omegatron, Jul 02 2005

       // question: does the effect of the ions moving by only work very close to the inner walls, or is saturation of the entire cross-section useful[?] //   

       Saturation isn't unuseful, assuming the coil is one single coil wrapped around the tube (which it should be), because it's more lines of flux through the coil.   

       // if so, there may have to be a screen across the whole front opening to get full effect. //   

       I think just one spike, or a ring of spikes, should be fine to produce the ions. They'll spread out, and you don't really care about uniform density, just total flux. If you really can't get enough ionization current with a ring, go ahead and put some in the middle.   

       The exit, on the other hand, would probably work a bit better with a full grid, so that the ions that have spread out across the cross-section of the tube don't have to travel as far sideways to reach an electrode.   

       And if you connect the exit electrodes to earth ground, it's no big deal if some ions escape, because they'll just ground themselves to the earth and return their charge that way.
notexactly, Jan 14 2016

       I'm sure I've seen something similar discussed elsewhere, and I'm sure it works. <edit - seen [notexactly]'s link>.   

       The basic idea is to put charged particles into the airflow. Since the airflow will move the charged particles, you can harvest energy. So, yes, it makes sense. More sense, in fact, than using the air to move a huge wind turbine blade and all the downstream jiggery buggery.   

       If [cowtown] came up with this idea de novo, it's a piece of brilliance.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 23 2016


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