Wind Power System Made from Plastic Buckets

A wind power system made from plastic buckets is seen on boats at a floating village in Hanoi, Vietnam June 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kham

A wind power system made from plastic buckets is seen on boats at a floating village in Hanoi, Vietnam June 29, 2016. REUTERS/Kham

“Vietnamese families living in slums along the Red River in Hanoi are using red plastic buckets and old printers to help light homes, cook meals and slash electricity costs by as much as a third.

The recycled goods form the blades and motors of electrical generators that power old motorcycle batteries to illuminate lamps with a brightness equivalent to a 45-Watt light bulb.

Though the output generated is small, it makes a significant difference for families previously denied power because they lived too far from a power station or had to ration supply because of the expense.”

More pictures and information at Reuters: Plastic buckets, broken printers shine light on Hanoi’s poor. Via Playground Magazine.

See all our low-tech windmill posts.

Different Types of Windmill Sails

different types of windmill sails compressed 700 pixels

François Porcher has translated our 2009 article “Wind Powered Factories: History (and Future) of Industrial Windmills” (“Des fabriques mues par le vent: histoire (et avenir) des moulins à vent“) and sends us the image above to complement the illustrations. For a high-resolution image, go here. More articles have been translated to French and other languages.


Building Plans for Dutch Industrial Windmills (1850)

building plans dutch sawmill

This collection of 21 building plans for 5 different types of Dutch industrial windmills was published in 1850. There is a saw mill, an oats mill, a flour mill, and two pumping mills. The book contains no text, only illustrations.

Theoretisch en practisch molenboek: voor ingenieurs, aannemers, molenaars en andere bouwkundigen“, G. Krook, 1850.

(“Theoretical and practical windmill book; for engineers, contractors and millwrights”).

[Read more…]

Trees as Indicators of Prevailing Wind Direction

trees as indicators of wind direction“In mountainous areas, winds are often complex and the available wind data are limited and provide little information on wind direction. One technique for determining the mean wind direction is tree flagging. Trees have been used for hundreds of years as an ecological indicator of wind direction, wind exposure and as a measure of the severity of wind and ice damage. This handbook will describe techniques for ‘reading’ the information written on the trees by wind.”

“Flagged trees only reflect the prevailing wind direction of the strongest winds, which may occur during only part of the year. Seasonal variations in the wind have a pronounced effect on the type of wind deformation and these effects are characterized in this handbook. Techniques for estimating the mean annual wind speed have been developed using indices of wind effects on trees. These indices have been calibrated on two widely distributed species of conifers. The main conclusions are that trees provide a simple, inexpensive and quick method for identifying promising locations where more detailed measurements can verify the wind potential.”

Trees as an indicator of wind power potential (.pdf), John E. Wade & E. Wendell Hewson, 1979.
Vegetation as an indicator of high wind velocity (.pdf), DOE report, John E. Wade & R.W. Baker, 1977

More low-tech wind power.

Sustainable Decadence

A wind-powered spa built from scrap.

The Homemade Windmills of Nebraska

home made windmills of nebraska

“The merit of homemade mills has enjoyed such prompt recognition that they are going up daily. Not to the detriment, we are happy to say, of those important adjuncts to the farm, the shopmade mills, but in addition to them.

In a given community, the man who puts up the first mill generally furnishes the model for the rest of the community. Hence it seems the more desirable that good models should be at hand, the better models are often of quite as easy constructed and no more expensive than the poorer, and their efficiency considerably greater.

It is advantageous to have good models to copy, and the next best thing to the actual model is a good simple drawing. This is the first object of this paper on our homemade windmills; it aims to supply cuts illustrating all sorts of windmills, as found in this State.”

The homemade windmills of Nebraska” (pdf), Erwin Hinckley Barbour, 1899. Illustration: a wind powered sawing machine.

Related: Windmills and wind motors – how to build and run them (1910), Building plans of Dutch Industrial windmills (1850).