Exactly 29 years ago, almost to the day, Jay Carter completed wind power generation deals in California that put his then teeny tiny Burkburnett, Texas company on the big map. A brilliant engineer, Carter designed his blades in such a way as to improve their efficiency over most existing tin-fan dinosaurs.
From 1984 onward, Carter Wind Systems grew exponentially and attracted the usual suspects who bought out the majority stake of the founders to set up a global strategy followed by others today. With time on his hands, Carter’s then hobby of building gyro copter contraptions began to develop into more than a weekend amusement. A serial-entrepreneur, he runs Carter Aviation Technologies today!
Nearly thirty years on, we have to ask ourselves why his original technology hasn’t progressed or been updated to the point that it would warn off birds from flying into the blades. A ten-year old could probably give them doable ideas to accomplish that task but no one seems to care much about the collateral damage when efforts to protect the environment backfire so spectacularly, out of sight and un-noticed to boot.
In Britain, the home-grown wind power industry has done it’s own share of damage and slaughter of our winged friends yet the trade groups are too strong to be taken on. Frankly, no one has much time or money to bring on a fight with behemoths that exist on government subsidy, even now as they face 10% reduction. The best we can do is show the public that there’s a better way by forwarding our ‘officials’ the solution below, for example. Britain has over 2,200 miles of Waterways, it’s plain elementary!
“What makes the Inertial Mass “Gravitation Vortex” model very powerful and useful is that it predicts Isaac Newton’s Graviation Laws and Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity.” Superprincipia
While trying to find a method for aerating water without energy input, Austrian engineer Franz Zotlöterer stumbled across the idea of a mini-power plant which is simple to construct and has a turbine efficiency of 80% but which is safe for fish due to low turbine speed and improves water quality by oxygenation.
Needless to say, he quickly applied for the patents. The technology can be applied with water drop as little as 0.7 meters. Zotlöterer’s website suggests an idyllic installation along a modern stream that has had its meanders rudely obliterated in the interest of human civilization. His vision is to restore the health of the running water to where it was before human intervention led to reduced oxygenation due to laminar flows–while winning power at the same time.
Zotlöterer describes the many advantages of the gravitational vortex turbine power plant:
- At the discharge of the vortex, contaminants are evenly distributed through the water, which is also oxygenated, leading to improved efficiency of natural micro-organisms to decompose the contamints: hence, cleaner water downstream.
- The increased contact area between the water and air results in better cooling evaporation during the warm season, and a perimeter of ice insulates the water in the cold season–all the while the turbine continues gently turning out the Watts.
- The temperature self-regulation capacity of the water is further enhanced by the concentration of the densest water at the middle of the vortex. Since water is densest at 4°C, water which is warmer than 4°C tends to be cooled when it is pulled into the vortex and cooler water is warmed by the mixing which the vortex causes.* Biodiversity downstream is enhanced by the stabler temperatures.
In the prototype installation, the water drop is 1.6 meters, with a flow of 1.3 m3/second, but the utilized water is 1 m3/s flow with 1.3 meters drop. The vortex basin has a diameter of 5.5 meters. In the first year of operation, the plant has yielded 50,000 kWatt-hours of electricity–with efficiency of around 73%, a little lower than the theoretical 80% achievable efficiency due to the use of smaller generator for ease of operation. Cost for installation was about €40,000 after about 40% subsidy.
Caen Hill – locks in Devizes, Wiltshire
['If we don't accelerate investment, the network will deteriorate!' British Waterways boss Tony Hales begs for cash from the public purse, ignores the blatantly obvious!] (Editor)
At close to 1$/watt capacity, that is a sweet point that may make this technology a viable alternative energy. If the claims that the turbine has little negative impact or is even beneficial for wildlife can be supported, this would be interesting for anyone with a home sitting on a hill near a stream. One more arrow in the alternative quiver. If you happen to be passing by Wildgansstraße in Obergrafendorf, Austria, stop by and take a look.
* Such claims make one’s phys-chem truth-o-meter peg the red, but a little mental experiment suggests the claim may be true: imagine the standard stream, flowing in a straight path. The water flows very smoothly, with some “laminar effects” as the water at the bottom is slowed by friction with the streambed and subsequent layers above are slowed by friction with the next lower layer.
The densest water (4°C) sinks to the bottom in this model, and the temperature gradient from the bottom to the top of the stream reduces the heat exchange efficiency of this “warm” bottom water with the air-cooled surface layer. Any TH eco-modellers have feedback on the benefits/disadvantages of promoting vortex activity along streams, or the effect such a turbine might have on fish? More at Treehugger