Science: Energy: Wind: Appearance
Transparent Windflowers   (+4)  [vote for, against]
Windmills that are hard to see and have unique shapes.

I propose a new type of Windmill. This windmill will have two distinct design features that aid in making it hard to see and they would have unique and interesting designs.

First all the above ground components would be constructed out of Transparent or translucent materials such as Plastic, Tempered Glass, Spun Glass Fiber etc. This will allow for light transmission and reduce reflections, thus making the windmill harder to see from any distance.

Second instead of the Generator being mounted on top the Generator would be built into the base of the tower which is set sligtly below Grade. This allows all visible parts to be constructed of Light weight transparent materials.

This approach would allow for windmills with very different shapes. For example one that looked like a large flower with petals that catch the wind. This would be a one piece assembly that would have no moving parts. and being transparent it would be difficult to see at any distance.
-- jhomrighaus, Jul 26 2006

would transparency be a problem for birds?
-- po, Jul 26 2006

I dont think so, they will not be invisible and would not move superfast, I suspect also that the surface finish would be more textured than not so that from nearby they would be easily visible.

The difference comes in that they would very nicely blend into the background from a distance.
-- jhomrighaus, Jul 26 2006

lets hope so. scrambled bird is not high on my menu.
-- po, Jul 26 2006

birds have problems with current "visible" models of windmill generators. there's a piece of land in the bay area that is covered in windmills, and it's called the bird-o-matic. this idea would probably be worse for birds, but it's not a new problem.
-- tcarson, Jul 26 2006

so NO NO then oh wow. my anno suddenly became active! jutta may explain.
-- po, Jul 26 2006

what was that [po]?
-- tcarson, Jul 26 2006

Transparency: bun, although material selection will be somewhat limited, resulting in smaller outputs due to smaller load carrying properties of the transparent (as opposed to metallic) materials.

Flower shape (or any other deviation from the optimum): fish.

Neutral overall.
-- Texticle, Jul 26 2006

Transparency might actually be good for birds. My understanding is that hawks get chopped up because they want to perch on top of the windmill and survey the surroundings. Perhaps an invisible windmill will be a more attractive perch.

As an aside, I cannot understand why windmill makers do not surround the blades with a ring of metal. The hawks would perch on that, with blades below, and everyone except groundsquirrels would be happy.
-- bungston, Jul 26 2006

A ring may seem fine, but then you need a support structure to hold the ring in place, which will affect the airflow through the swept annulus. Plus there are the added weight and windage issues to contend with, meaning that the main support structure (the tower) needs to be stronger and better anchored. Then you've got eddy noise issues with the blade tip / ring clearances. Plus the whole structure would be visually more conspicuous, which would give even more fodder to anti-windfarm whingers.
-- Texticle, Jul 26 2006

Ah, but the ring could attach to the outer edge of the blades themselves. It would need no seperate support and shouldn't effect airflow or ballance. Although the fact that the ring will move with the blades may make it a bit hard for birds to land on.

-- 2 fries shy of a happy meal, Jul 27 2006

I guess they could run on the spot.

...Although they'd need to run at approx 200km/hr.
-- Texticle, Jul 27 2006

I guess I was unclear in my description. This design would not look like a Daisy on a stalk, rather think something like an elongated Rose, orchid or Tulip that spins on its base perpendicular to the ground.(like a tea cup spinning on a saucer) This looks nothing like a standard wind turbine.
-- jhomrighaus, Jul 27 2006

//This looks nothing like a standard wind turbine.//
But rather like a Savonius rotor, yes?
-- angel, Jul 27 2006

[angel] Yes this is more along those lines than the standard wind turbines. Im thinking bigger scale and more refined organic type shapes with fewer straight lines and edges so they blend in better. Also no support structures, my goal would be free standing(for maximum aesthetics)
-- jhomrighaus, Jul 27 2006

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