San Francisco Scouts Urban Wind

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Making San Francisco a solar city isn’t enough for Mayor Gavin Newsom — he also wants to refashion it as the new windy city. Speaking beneath a 1.8 kW Skystream wind turbine in San Francisco’s Mission District (spied by E2T here), Newsom announced the creation of the “Residential Wind Power Work Group,” which will investigate the feasibility of small-scale wind power generation in the city.

One of the things we wanted to underscore is the opportunity to take wind turbines and bring them into an urban setting. Most people are familiar wind turbines when they go down the Altamont Pass or they go down towards Palm Springs or Bakersfield…Many are not familiar with the opportunity to do wind in their own backyard, in this case quite literally.

Newsom said he became interested in wind power while pushing for tidal power under the Golden Gate Bridge, saying the tidal turbines are simply submarine wind turbines. He added that the Public Utility Commission (PUC), which has been studying tidal as well as wave energy off the coasts of San Francisco, is now also actively investigating offshore wind turbines — the ultimate in NIMBY eco-phobia.

The task force has yet to be fully formed, but it will consist of some 15 members, including reps from the PUC, the city Department of the Environment, and industry experts. The ultimate goal of the group is to provide data showing that urban wind is feasible. Then the mayor can move to legislatively change the local building and zoning codes to make it easier to put up a 35-foot tall pole with a turbine on it.

While there is no shortage of companies looking to build wee-wind turbines, permitting is by the far the biggest barrier for urban wind. “We’re just waiting on your zoning,” David Monteith, a rep from Southwest Windpower, who built the Skystream, said to the mayor. The turbines, he explained, cost between $13,000 and $15,000. But residential owners could tap into the federal Production Tax Credit for a $4,000 tax credit, noted Robin Wilson, owner of the green home and wind turbine where the meeting was held. Wilson also runs Meridian Builders & Developers, which finances urban wind-power installations.

While the mayor’s solar incentive program is still mired in legislative politics, it’s good to see him pushing forward with ever-newer and greener initiatives. The city is already assessing 27 locations for wind energy on Treasure Island, a decommissioned naval base in the Bay that’s being converted into a green community. That could hold some serious wind potential.

Picture courtesy of Robin Wilson.

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windcatcher

The Baker Wind Turbine is a major breakthrough in wind energy technology. The super quiet, Low Pressure Turbine is enclosed and 100% bird and people safe which allows the turbine to be installed and operated in close proximity to people. This eliminates the need for long transmission lines because the electricity is consumed close to where the electricity is generated. The 12 feet in diameter Model #3 Baker Wind Turbine is mounted on a car trailer and the unit is easily transported. Set-up is easy. The outriggers lift the turbine foundation and stabilize the turbine so that it can rotate 360 degrees. The fenders and tires are removed. No tower is needed; all that is necessary is a 6’ by 6’ wind flow. More efficient and powerful than a single dimension propeller driven windmill, this multidimensional wind energy turbine dynamic has never been seen before. Of course, the multidimensional turbine dynamic does not even resemble a single dimension propeller driven windmill. Google Baker Wind Turbine and two videos will appear; the longer video demonstrates the Low Pressure Turbine Dynamic.
Let me explain to you the basic turnaround in wind energy science and technology demonstrated by the Baker Wind Turbine. You don’t have to be a genius to understand wind energy.
First, the maximum amount of energy in the wind is directly in front of the wind. This is the basic and simple premise and is easily proven to anyone logically. (Aristotelian logic is the foundation of all science.) While standing in the wind, face the full force of the wind which is directly in front of the wind. Now, form both hands into a cup which represents a ½ round, cupped turbine vane with volume. Now, cross over your hands and form a blade with no volume representing a propeller driven wind mill. Which of the two forms catch more wind and has full thrust from the wind?
The first part of the equation is solved: The maximum amount of energy in the wind is directly in front of the wind and the best surface form to catch the wind and consequently, has more thrust and power, is a ½ round aluminum turbine vane with volume.
The second part of the equation is as logical. Which direction will the maximum wind catch area turbine vane turn? Naturally, the turbine vanes and rotor turn harmoniously in the same direction as the wind is blowing. This eliminates wind noise caused by turbulence. A propeller blade rotates sideways to the wind energy airstream which results in less power produced, noise from propeller turbulence and high stress on bearings and blades creating high maintenance cost. Propellers are so big; birds can’t see them and they have devastated wild bird populations. Check out the out of control wind propeller explosions on You Tube.
The third part of the equation is that the more cupped wind catch surface area that is directly in front of the wind, the more powerful the turbine. A single dimension propeller can only expand in size and power by increasing its’ diameter. The multidimensional Baker Wind Turbine can not only increase its’ power by increasing its’ diameter but can expand horizontally and add exponentially more wind catch surface area and power.
The Baker Wind Turbine has 144 cupped turbine vanes that are 3 inches wide (5 ½ inches of surface area). The 3 inch aluminum vanes give us 11 inches of weld at the cupped base. Each turbine vane has 1 1/2 sq. ft. of cupped surface area. This is important because the stress per catch area unit is low as apposed to a large catch area with a high stress attachment to the hub. No one turbine vane pulls by itself but pulls together with the other turbine vanes in a “gang”. This spreading of wind energy over the rotor maximizes the wind catch area and spins the rotor smoothly without vibration. Each turbine hub has 6 turbine vanes that are 6 ft. long. There are 24 hubs (6ft. wide) and there are 18 rows. Each row has 8 members that contain 48 lineal ft. of turbine vanes. At any given moment, the top section contains 108 sq. ft. of cupped wind catch surface area. As each row is assembled, they are progressively stepped which forms a horizontal twist. Twist is torque and torque is horsepower. The more twist, the more horsepower. Dividing the diameter into 18 lateral rows creates massive torque that is visible. For example take a wood screw and hold it sideways and turn it. You will notice that the screw is made up of one helix and 8 or more twists (or flights). The Baker Wind Turbine is Like the Archimedean screw but made up of 6 helixes with 8 twists which torque from right to left six feet. The overall dynamic of the Baker Wind Turbine is germane to High Pressure Turbine Dynamics but adapted to Low Pressure Turbine Dynamics which I am the inventor of and the Baker Wind Turbine is the test prototype. Just as Mr. Parsons’ invention of the high pressure steam turbine revolutionized steam power; the Baker Wind Turbine will revolutionize low pressure wind power.
The Baker Wind Turbine rotor has a lower surface to weight ratio than a propeller windmill so the rotor and shaft which weigh 660 lbs. begins turning on 1 or 2 miles an hour of wind and will operate smoothly and quietly in a 100 mile an hour wind at an estimated (920 R.P.M). High pressure steam and gas turbines operate at 20,000 to 50,000 R.P.M or higher; so in high winds the low pressure turbine dynamic is figuratively just loafing along. The Baker Wind Turbine not only has a wider range of operation but also produces more power at any given wind speed than a propeller driven wind mill and therefore the new turbine wind energy technology should rightfully outmode the old propeller driven windmill technology. The Baker Wind Turbine, like all major inventions, has a wide range of applications that will change roof top architecture, bridge design, ship design, high speed train (forced air) electric grid locomotives, forced air/ electric cars, parks, backyards, airports and all areas where the wind can be utilized in a natural or forced air environment. The turbine is enclosed so the housing can be easily painted to blend in with the surrounding area.
The last part of the equation is a little harder to grasp, even some engineers don’t get it straight. Those who defy convention and who can think individually in multidimensional terms get it right away.
First the single dimension. One assumption in Betz’ Law is that a solid wall is considered 100 % efficient in the wind and a propeller is considered 50% efficient because half of the wind flows through the propeller which causes the propeller to turn. So, 6 feet by 6 feet swath of airstream at, lets say, 10 pounds pressure per square foot (pounds is air speed and density) would give you 360 pounds of pressure thrust overall. A 50% efficient propeller would have 180 lbs. of thrust available. A three blade propeller with 5 ½ inch wide blades and 6 foot in diameter (4 1/2 sq. ft. surface area or 40.5 lbs thrust) produces but a fraction of one horsepower. The reason for this is a small surface area propeller rotates on a flat plane sideways to the energy source, has little torque, and is of a single dimension.
The multidimensional Baker Wind Turbine wind in-take is 6 feet high by 6 feet wide by 12 feet deep. The wind travels laterally across the turbine top section 12 feet to the other side which creates rotary power. The turbine rotor vanes are denser close to the center of the hub and wider at the tips and spaced such that the wind passes through the turbine to the other side. Again, hold up the wood screw. Notice by looking across the top half of the screw that there are air passages to the other side? Remember the Baker Wind Turbine has 6 helixes and 8 twists and the air passages move from right to left six feet? Now, look at the down wind side of the screw and you will notice that the flight is open and fanned out and is not drafted by the spiral? The turbine spirals leading edge is made up of many turbine vanes from many different rows so they do not draft one another. Of course, the leading edge of the opening is constantly changing as the rotor turns. At the apex of the turbine, as observed directly in front of the wind in-feed, the vanes form a continuous wall dimensionally. Because there are dimensional openings between the turbine vanes, and air is highly fluid, the wind powers all nine rows at any given moment from one side to the other. Each row is one dimension under wind power and there are 9 rows. There are 48 lineal feet of 3 inch cupped turbine vanes per row and 108 cupped sq. ft. total under power. If we figure out our total surface area in the top section it would contain 198 sq. ft. of surface area under wind power. At 10 pounds per sq. ft. that would be 1,980 pounds of thrust overall. That is 49 times more than the estimated efficiency of 40.5 pounds thrust for a single dimension propeller operating in the same 6 feet by 6 feet airstream! The Baker Wind Turbine is even more powerful than just converting speed and density of air into rotary power, the traveling torque creates even more horsepower, however, digging into traveling torque equations at this time is not necessary. My point has already been proven in science that Baker Low Pressure Turbine Dynamics is at least 49 times more powerful then a propeller driven wind mill dynamic and my 12 feet in diameter low pressure turbine proves it. That is why I built model #3 so that people could see the powerful turbine dynamic operate even though they do not understand how it works or all of the ramifications of it working. Now you know how it works and basically the breakthrough technology of Baker Low Pressure Turbine Dynamics. Did you get it? Or was it to much for your wee mind? For those who get it, read on. For those who don’t get it; drive down the road at 65 mph. and cup your hand into the wind and let it jerk your arm back (lever) and each time ask yourself “where is the power and energy in the wind”?
The reason the modern American Green Energy Economy is not moving forward is because independent scientist and individual inventors, like me, are without funding. The reason there is no funding is because the economic powers that be, the status quo, has snuffed any State or Federal funding programs for independent green energy inventors. Are you surprised there is no level ground? Do you know what scares the hell out of the multinational Big Oil and energy barons? The answer is the advancement of science with new inventions that they can’t control (their economy) that would outmode the use of fossil fuels for energy (their product). That is the cause of man made Global Warming.
Logically, one would think that the first government action would be to utilize our national talent by holding a national green energy science contest thereby acting free from Big Oil. I am not the only independent inventor; there would be thousands of qualified applicants with new concepts. The winner would receive a one million dollar reward to further develop the new green energy concept. Ten million a month could finance and develop ten new grass root industries employing thousands in green energy jobs. Out with the old and in with the new, let the best win in science and the lesser fold or be outmoded by something even better. That is fair competition and free enterprise. A modern American Main Street Capitalism based on a green energy economy would grow from the bottom up and not be dominated and controlled by multinational corporations from the top down. Great inventors were individuals not controlled universities; they should be funded as well.
Lawrence Baker
650-218-9434 windcatch@gmail.com

Scott Johnson

This so-called Baker Turbine is a scam. The device has never been tested, but along with a few friends we tested (theoretically) the concept. It doesn’t work.

This is why Mr. Baker has never attached the turbine to a generator. He is trying to raise money with false hope. DOE has already dismissed this guy as a phony.

It is a shame to see this scam published all over the internet. It gives inventors a bad name.

Craig Rubens

@ Tim Hurst:

Yes, this new “work group” (the term Newsom used) is definitely also looking vertical axis wind turbines for the city of San Francisco.

Elizabeth

It seems like the wind turbines described here show great potential for generating electricity for the city in a more sustainable manner. In addition to generating additional electricity for homeowners, the wind turbines are a great way for residents who build them to gain tax credits and continually reap further benefits. Wind-generated power also reduces the amount of greenhouse gases emitted in our air and increases health benefits, including a decrease in asthma attacks, emergency room visits, upper respiratory disease and death (according to a Harvard School of Public Health study released in 2001). Extra benefits from building wind turbines in the city can help generate economic activity in the area, including an increase in the local tax base and an increase in lease payments to the property owners with the turbines. Temporary jobs will be created to build the turbines and for related upkeep.

If the zoning requirements pass for the city, I think wind turbines are a great way to help generate electricity for the area.

Tim Hurst

Craig – It will be interesting to see where SF takes this urban wind planning process. Most counties and municipalities that do regulate for small wind usually employ a 1 acre minimum lot size b/c of sound and safety issues. If SF adopts a different policy, they would set a precedent for other communities to follow.

Did you get any sense that the panel would also be investigating vertical axis turbines?

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