Check Out These Innovative New Energy Possibilities

author image

August 23, 2008

By Bob Difley
With the world’s concentration focused on alternative energy sources, inventors, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists are scrambling to come up with the next big thing in power supply. A new type of wind power device is the Windspire, a 30 foot tall, two foot wide, vertical tower with a rotating core that turns at the same speed as the wind blows. Without the rotating blades of a wind turbine (that rotate faster than the wind speed), it is safer for birds, as they can see the slower moving core. Another big advantage is its relatively quiet operation, quieter than turbine blades. This would be a big plus if adapted to RV use. It is also aesthetically more pleasing, since it looks like a metal lawn sculpture. It is designed to be easily erected in a backyard by any home handyman, and will supply about 1,800 kw of annual power in an eleven-knot average wind speed, which would require a rather windy area. Not very practical for an RV yet, and it is still expensive at $4,000. But the concept is interesting and presents a new idea for RV sized units.

Another promising prospect for fuel is algae. According to the scientist in this video an acre of corn will produce 18 gallons of oil per year (used to make ethanol), palm oil will produce 700 gallons per year, and algae will produce an astounding 20,000 gallons. According to him, an area the size of 1/10th of the area of New Mexico could supply all our fuel needs. If so, this would provide the clean energy needed to supply a fleet of electric RVs.

And this final thought. Dell Computer’s announcement this week that the company has achieved it’s goal of going “climate neutral” ahead of their predicted schedule, saving $3 million while doing it, hopefully wil serve as a wake up call to those company CEOs that say they can’t afford to “go green.” And as more mainstream companies take up the green baton, source companies are having to scramble also to green their operations if they hope to keep these large companies on their customer lists. A good example is Wal-Mart advising their suppliers to clean up their acts if they wanted to continue to supply the giant retailer. The domino theory in a good way.

Leave a Reply


  1. Pingback: ניסור בטון

  2. Pingback: immagini tatuaggi

  3. Earl Gillespie

    Does anyone still have their first copy of THE MOTHER EARTH NEWS? You’re right Thomas. It’s not about anything but a power trip.

    That “new windpower device”(what a crock) is an off-shoot of the Savonius Rotor.

  4. Doug – The article in Highways Magazine you refer to is in the July Issue and is a sidebar to the Tread Lightly article. My suggestions come from my Green RVer seminar that I give at Life On Wheels and The Rally.
    The study that produced the 2,500 gallons of water needed to produce one pound of beef was made by Dr. Georg Borgstrom, Chairman of Food Science and Human Nutrition Dept of College of Agriculture and Natural Resources at Michigan State University. It is reported on here and was also part of John Robbins book, Food Revolution. Incidentally another study by David Pimentel, Ph.D., Professor of Ecology and Agricultural Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York came up with the figure of 12,009 gallons. The lowest study, as can be expected, comes from the Beef Council whose figure was 441 gallons. Who knows what the closest figure to reality is, but most sources use the 2,500 gallon figure. Anyway you look at it, it is a lot of water.

  5. Ian – Here is what Wikipedia says about VAWT (Vertical Axis Wind Turbine)

  6. Doug Stuart

    Re. your article in Highways on being green and the amount of water required for a pound of beef.
    My rough calculation shows that for a 1000 Pound cow with about half becoming saleable meat would require 1.250 MILLION gallons of water. If the cow lives about 700 days before slaughter, that comes out to 1785.7142 GALLONS per day, or about 74 gallons per hour, or about 1.24 gallons per minute.
    It seems like the cow would have to drink nonstop its whole life.
    Granted, some water is required to raise the feed for the cow, but it’s not too clear from your article or response to the letter to differentiate that from the cows’ consumption. Can you tell me what I’ve done wrong?

  7. Bob

    Well put Thomas, I agree

  8. The problem with windspire is that it doesn’t solve the problem of shadow flicker. What is shadow flicker you ask? well shadow flicker will be the next Big Green fraud. Why, we can’t have windmills wherever we want them because shadow flicker will cause epilepsy, loss of sleep and hell who knows terminal dandruff or something. The point is that Big Green doesn’t want to save the environment or the planet they just want to control OTHER peoples behavior. Next time someone say’s you should drive this or you should live in that, you should ask them well what do you drive where do you live. When Al Gore shows up at one of his enviro loveins in a fleet of SUVs with the engines running for the length of the speech I say lead or get the hell out of the way.

  9. The Windspire is quite similar to a VAWT (Vertical Axis Wind Turbine) which was made in Albuquerque, NM twenty or so years ago. They lost out to the conventional wind turbine seen today because of lack of capitalization in spite of being competitive in efficiency and more bird friendly.
    Maybe Windspire will meet a happier fate.