#492: Windwinders

There’s a lot of well-intentioned baloney going around about how wind energy is going to help save the planet. Well, my money is on nuclear but I’m still keen on using any comparatively cheap sources which may be available.

The trouble is, wind turbines are costly -so much so that to build one big enough to be efficient, it may never be able to pay for itself within its service life. So, today’s invention is to harvest wind energy by a simpler means. Trees.

Gavin_Mills_wind1213.jpg

Trees thrash around if the wind gets up. There are even patents (oh dear) for systems of artificial piezoelectric leaves attached to synthetic trees -a bit like those phone masts which visually shout “Look, not a real tree.”

I suggest attaching to the top of each living arbor a thin wire (It might even make sense to stick on a large, leaflike vane to amplify the natural motion). The wire would run down the trunk and be wrapped around a crude ratchet, nailed to it. This would gradually tension a clockspring which would periodically drive a small dynamo.

Wires from all these devices within a forest would converge on eg a local bank of fuel cells or a branch of the main electrical grid.

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