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  #21  
Old 30 June 2010, 05:31 PM
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BoKu BoKu is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loyhargil View Post
...Some turbine manufacturers put the entire generator into the nacelle itself rather than on the ground next to the turbine...
I think all modern wind turbines are so designed. The only wind turbines I know of that mechanically transmit power to ground level are water pumping windmills and the kind that they used to use to grind grain.
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  #22  
Old 30 June 2010, 05:35 PM
FullMetal FullMetal is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roadsterboy View Post
No, you are not alone in this. I find them quite fascinating as well, and have photographed the farm near my home a few times recently.

[IMG]Wind Farm[/IMG]

A few more can be seen here.

-RB
Nope I find them quite beautiful too, My question to people questioning the eye-soreness of them, would you rather that or a coal fired plant belching out black smoke?
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  #23  
Old 30 June 2010, 05:42 PM
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Loyhargil Loyhargil is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BoKu View Post
I think all modern wind turbines are so designed. The only wind turbines I know of that mechanically transmit power to ground level are water pumping windmills and the kind that they used to use to grind grain.
I'm sorry, I plugged the wrong word in. I meant transformer, not generator. For example, Vestas turbines typically have the transformer on the ground, while Gamesa turbines have them in the nacelle.

Braining hard today!
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  #24  
Old 30 June 2010, 05:46 PM
dfresh dfresh is offline
 
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They are beautiful, but also quite dangerous.
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  #25  
Old 30 June 2010, 06:23 PM
Gayle Gayle is online now
 
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West Texas is the PERFECT place for these things. No trees, no bats, nothing but oilfields and sand and wind. Believe me, those puppies aren't still. They are freaky to see at night. Kind of comforting once you're used to them.
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  #26  
Old 30 June 2010, 08:59 PM
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[semi-hijack]DS2 is four and adores looking at wind turbines. He points it out every time we drive past, and when we're by Rowes Wharf, we have to walk by and watch them. [semi-hijack]

Last edited by Phantom; 30 June 2010 at 09:00 PM. Reason: can't spell
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  #27  
Old 30 June 2010, 10:35 PM
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A Turtle Named Mack A Turtle Named Mack is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FullMetal View Post
Nope I find them quite beautiful too, My question to people questioning the eye-soreness of them, would you rather that or a coal fired plant belching out black smoke?
Yeah, really, they have a stately beauty, rather like an oil derrick or pump - well so loong as any of them are operating properly. As the original post shows, it's not so hot when something goes wrong. But, you try to avoid that.
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  #28  
Old 01 July 2010, 07:16 PM
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Mother of Nanaballis Mother of Nanaballis is offline
 
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aimee Evilpixie View Post
I don't think anyone has ever said that windmills are perfect, but even if every single windmill in the world exploded it still probably wouldn't be nearly as bad as the giant oil spill going on right now.
But they do kill a lot more birds.
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  #29  
Old 01 July 2010, 08:51 PM
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Ceiling Fan Ceiling Fan is offline
 
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This is what happened in Denmark after a turbine's brake break ():

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbCs7ZQDKoM
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  #30  
Old 02 July 2010, 06:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Phantom View Post
[semi-hijack]DS2 is four and adores looking at wind turbines. He points it out every time we drive past, and when we're by Rowes Wharf, we have to walk by and watch them. [semi-hijack]
I understand him. I'm slightly older but I, too, think they are beautiful.
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  #31  
Old 02 July 2010, 08:09 PM
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Diabolus Ex Deus Diabolus Ex Deus is offline
 
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I've gone past the wind farms here in the Palm Springs area many times. They're absolutely VAST and there are some gigantic turbines out there. I've never seen more than a couple of them sitting idle (which judging by the blade angles on them, was intentional), so I don't really see how they'd be inefficient. But, I'm no expert.

Though if you ever find yourself out there, it's quite a sight.
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  #32  
Old 02 July 2010, 09:59 PM
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Roadsterboy Roadsterboy is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Diabolus Ex Deus View Post
I've gone past the wind farms here in the Palm Springs area many times. They're absolutely VAST and there are some gigantic turbines out there. I've never seen more than a couple of them sitting idle (which judging by the blade angles on them, was intentional), so I don't really see how they'd be inefficient.
I suppose if they've been shut down en masse for some reason. The last time I went out to look at a local wind farm (the day I took the photo in my post), the entire place was idled, with all the turbines' blades feathered. However, we'd had some severe storms the day before, with tornado force winds, so I imagine that everything was shut down and safety checks were being done (actually, I encountered several trucks from the electric company during that trip)

It was kind of weird, but as I was finishing my photography, the stand of turbines I was near started back up. I could hear this faint groaning noise as it tacked into the wind and the blades slowly started to turn again. It was neat to watch, if a bit eerie.

-RB
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  #33  
Old 11 March 2011, 11:28 AM
usf3000
 
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Default Stupid Internets

These pictures either came from or were subsequently used in an email forward that just hit my inbox. My reply:

There's a special place in hell for people who author email forwards. The sentence structure and formulaic way of cobbling together random bits of fact into a BS story lead me to think there is a single person responsible for the world's email forwards, but I haven't been able to prove that yet.

Those are dramatic images, but let's pull this one apart...

1. Random pictures of wind turbine fires do not mean they are gearbox failures. The nacelle (the enclosure behind the blades) contains switchgear, inverter, control cabinets, a transformer, gearbox, oil reservoir, etc. A lot of mechanical and electrical equipment is in very close proximity. A fire can be started by an oil leak, faulty electrical panel, transformer malfunction or can come from a dozen other sources.

2. Gearboxes that fail generally fail because the teeth get chewed up or sheered off. Fires are possible, but a failing gearbox generally does not equal fire.

3. The statement, "to date, no gear oil has been invented to withstand..." is misleading at best. All oil and grease breaks down over time with use. Essentially all equipment that uses greases and oils requires re-lubrication or oil replacement at periodic intervals. This statement would sound less sensational if I said, "To date, no car engine oil has been invented to withstand the tremendous temperatures and pressures you exert on your car by your crappy driving." If we can't create oil that lasts forever in your 800 lb engine, what makes someone think we can do it for a 6000 lb wind turbine gearbox?

4. Gearbox failures have been reported in the field. Although technically an old technology, the wind turbines in the field today are of relatively new designs and the manufacturers are always pushing to increase performance. Some of the gearboxes that have failed in the field failed because they're experiencing greater stresses than the manufacturers expected for the location they were designed for (in other words, the engineer effed up). Many of these failures are starting in the bearings, which technically makes this a bearing issue and not a gearbox issue.

5. There are thousands and thousands of wind turbines in the world. Some failures can be expected fleet wide. Everyone has seen the overspeed failure video on youtube from 2007 or 2008. That doesn't mean that every wind turbine is going to fail in this manner. Same thing with the pictures in this email. Just because someone cobbled together a few pictures of burning turbines, doesn't mean the entire fleet is about to burn up.

6. Regarding the government grant:

The U.S. Department of Energy [...] announced a $745,000 grant to Dow Corning to develop a lifetime lubricant for gearboxes to increase the efficiency and durability of wind turbine drive trains.
[...]
“We have ongoing research into what we can do to make wind turbines more durable, more reliable, because there’s a tremendous amount of maintenance costs associated with gearboxes and other components if they’re not lubricated appropriately,” Erpelding told Lube Report. “As they’re putting more and more of these wind turbines in harsher environments – oceans, salts and such – they’re also making larger and larger wind turbines now, to generate more power. There are challenges that come with that.”

http://www.imakenews.com/lng/e_artic...FCVc,bd1Rfpn,w

http://www.mlive.com/business/mid-mi...45000_for.html

Just for the record, "lifetime" generally means 20 years in the wind turbine world. I'm not sure what the maintenance schedule is for current lubes.

7. "Boy they really burn well don't they?"

Fiberglass stoked with 20 gallons of heavy oil and stuffed with electrical equipment is likely to do that...

Original email:

-------------
Here are some photos of what happens when transmission failures occur in windmills. To date no gear oil has been invented to withstand the pressures produced within these transmissions. Most recently, the government gave Dow-Corning a big grant to work on it. Previously, many others had tried and failed.

[pictures]

Boy, they really burn well, don't they?

-----------------
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  #34  
Old 14 March 2011, 07:36 AM
Troberg Troberg is offline
 
 
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There are serious problems with wind turbines.

* They can fling large chunks of ice long distances. Ice form on the blades, and is then flung, very much like a medieval trebuchet. Chunks of ice large enough to destroy cars and houses has been thrown 500-1000 m.
* They only produce power when the wind is blowing. Electrical power can't be stored at that scale. That makes them pretty useless.
* They don't generate much power anyway. Just look at the area of the blade, they are about the size of a typical sail boat sail. That's what can take power from the wind. In other words, they could be replaced by an average sized outboard engine.
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  #35  
Old 14 March 2011, 08:42 AM
AJ from Perth AJ from Perth is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
There are serious problems with wind turbines.

* They can fling large chunks of ice long distances. Ice form on the blades, and is then flung, very much like a medieval trebuchet. Chunks of ice large enough to destroy cars and houses has been thrown 500-1000 m.
* They only produce power when the wind is blowing. Electrical power can't be stored at that scale. That makes them pretty useless.
* They don't generate much power anyway. Just look at the area of the blade, they are about the size of a typical sail boat sail. That's what can take power from the wind. In other words, they could be replaced by an average sized outboard engine.
Hi Troberg,

Serious problems for your area maybe but that doesn't the technology can't work in more suitable climates.

I took a trip down to a coastal city near here called Albany last year. They've got a wind farm down there which is doing very well because it's an ideal location for wind-powered energy generation (I don't recall seeing the turbines stopping once for the entire week I was down there).

Here is the official link for it:
http://www.verveenergy.com.au/mainCo...Wind_Farm.html

(sorry, I haven't figure out how to use link text yet)

I have to admit I'm not an engineer but your claim that they only generate the same as a small outboard motor seems unlikely. Perhaps you're talking about smaller turbines?

- AJ from Perth
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  #36  
Old 14 March 2011, 03:16 PM
senshisteph senshisteph is offline
 
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Given what's playing out a couple of hundred miles from here (Fukushima Daiichi), I think I'd take the wind turbines, for all their faults.
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  #37  
Old 14 March 2011, 07:15 PM
UrbanLegends101 UrbanLegends101 is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
There are serious problems with wind turbines.

* They don't generate much power anyway. Just look at the area of the blade, they are about the size of a typical sail boat sail. That's what can take power from the wind. In other words, they could be replaced by an average sized outboard engine.

A quick look at the Vestas website indicates some of their commercial product line ranges from 850 kW to 3 MW, I'd say that might be a good sized outboard engine.


http://www.vestas.com/en/wind-power-...vestas-univers
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  #38  
Old 14 March 2011, 09:15 PM
RichardM RichardM is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
There are serious problems with wind turbines.

* They can fling large chunks of ice long distances. Ice form on the blades, and is then flung, very much like a medieval trebuchet. Chunks of ice large enough to destroy cars and houses has been thrown 500-1000 m.
Yes this can be a problem. But it can be alleviated by providing outside electrical power for heating the blades to eliminate the ice.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toberg View Post
* They only produce power when the wind is blowing. Electrical power can't be stored at that scale. That makes them pretty useless.
No, it does not make them useless. It makes them pretty good for replacing power plants that can easily be turned off and on such as natural gas and to a large extent, coal.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
* They don't generate much power anyway. Just look at the area of the blade, they are about the size of a typical sail boat sail. That's what can take power from the wind. In other words, they could be replaced by an average sized outboard engine.
From Wiki: Typical modern wind turbines have diameters of 40 to 90 metres (130 to 300 ft) and are rated between 500 kW and 2 MW. As of 2010 the most powerful turbine is rated at 7 MW.

This is substantially more than a very large outboard motor.
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  #39  
Old 14 March 2011, 10:25 PM
purpleiguana purpleiguana is offline
 
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I can't say why, exactly, but there was something about the progression of the first few pictures that kinda had the 12 year old in me giggling. (I mean, a wind turbine isn't something I expected to see anything resembling catastrophic failure on quite that scale.) And then I saw the blade through the windshield and was like, "Okay, funny over."
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  #40  
Old 15 March 2011, 07:02 AM
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Don Enrico Don Enrico is offline
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troberg View Post
* They only produce power when the wind is blowing. Electrical power can't be stored at that scale. That makes them pretty useless.
Electrical power can be stored be using it to pump water up a hill or into some elevated tank, letting it flow down into a turbine when the power is needed. It's called pumped-storage hydroelectricity. You can go and see it yourself at Juktan Pumped-Storage Hydroelectric Power Station, Gunnam, Sweden.

Like hydroelectric power, wind generated power (from a wind park or from several big turbines) can be used to pump the water into the upper reservoir when there are high winds and low energy demand.

Quote:
* They can fling large chunks of ice long distances.
This seems to be a regional problem to me. I never heard about ice being flung from wind turbines in Germany, and I very much doubt that the problem is occuring with turbines along the - let's say - Baja California. In regions that have the problem, precautions can be taken (heating the blades in low temperatures has been suggested).

Don Enrico
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