Saturday, December 7, 2019

Inventor wants to put a wind turbine in your yard


Which renewable energy source contributes the most to US energy production? Here's a hint: It's not the sun.

According to Enerdata's statistical yearbook for 2018, solar energy accounted for 2 percent of electricity production compared to 7 percent for wind power.

Electricity output from wind turbines keeps growing every year. Most of that power comes from sprawling wind farms like the ones in Northwestern Indiana. There, hundreds hundreds of giant turbines have sprouted across three counties where they produce enough electricity to power more than 270,000 homes.

But Roger Phillips, an inventor and entrepreneur, thinks wind power can contribute even more if it's deployed on a smaller scale. Instead of hundreds of massive propellers generating power for thousands of homes, Phillips envisions small generators that could power a single home or a small business.

Here's how Phillips laid out his vision on his website:

What if people could power their homes for free?
What if they could drive their cars for free?
Would they buy an electric car?
What if companies could eliminate their power bills?
Would this change the economy?

Phillips is the brains behind Mighty Watts, a wind turbine small enough to be installed next to a residence or commercial building. The electricity generated by the device would be integrated into the local electrical grid the way solar panels now reduce or eliminate electric utility bills.

Phillips is a Navy veteran who ran two businesses in Minnesota before retiring to life on the road in an RV. About 10 years ago, he began exploring ways to reduce the $1,700 electricity bill he was pay for a commercial building.

Over the past decade the idea evolved into the Mighty Watts turbine. Instead of huge blades mounted on a skyscraping pole, Mighty Watts uses small blades housed in a circular casing that could turn out to be about 13 feet wide.

And Mighty Watts might also work well in areas that aren't especially windy. The device makes use of the Venturi effect to increase the velocity of the ambient wind. Phillips explains the process this way:

The Venturi takes the outside wind traveling at its normal speed, forcing it through a smaller area where it speeds the wind up behind the blades, eliminating the resistance to the incoming wind.

Phillips believes the widespread use of Might Watts devices could eliminate the need for fossil fuels and reduce the threat posed by global warming.

To get his invention rolling, he launched a campaign on Go Fund Me where he hopes to raise $350,000. The money would be used to hire engineers, conduct a computer fluid dynamics analysis and build a 9- to 13-foot prototype for real-life testing.

Once the prototype is built, tested and perfected, Mighty Watts could move on to manufacturing. With funding, Phillips says the engineering phase could be completed in less than six months and the test device built within another three months.

For a closer look at at the ideas behind Might Watts, watch the video below and check out the Mighty Watts website.

Mighty Watts it also on Twitter @mightywattswind and on Facebook and Instagram.


Written by

Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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