How to Build a Persian Windmill

“This paper investigated a windmill in Nehbandan which is an example of architectural heritage. Harnessing natural energy and using local materials such as stone, wood and adobe, the residents were able to create environmentally friendly structures. In this paper, one of these windmills that is still standing in Nehbandan was selected from a chain of windmills. Then, based on architectural survey, interviewing with millers and sketching, the dimensions of architectural elements and mechanical components were obtained and the windmill was modelled.”

“The results reveal that there is a close relation between architectural features and mechanical components. The orientation of this windmill toward prevailing wind, the correct placement of walls in three faces and creating a hole named Darvazeh in the third wall to direct the wind into the Parkhaneh are architectural features which provide the kinetic energy of the wind to move the mechanical components. The stepped form of the surrounding walls prevents erosion of mechanical components and as a result increases the durability of the windmill.”

Zarrabi, M., Valibeig, N. 3D modelling of an Asbad (Persian windmill): a link between vernacular architecture and mechanical system with a focus on Nehbandan windmill. Herit Sci 9, 108 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1186/s40494-021-00587-0

https://heritagesciencejournal.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40494-021-00587-0

State of the Art of Windthermal Turbines

As Low-tech Magazine wrote in 2019, given the right conditions, a mechanical windmill with an oversized brake system is a cheap, effective, and sustainable heating system. Earlier this year, Malte Neumeier from the German Aerospace Center informed us that he and his team are investigating the technical and economical challenges of the technology.

“We started our research, with a birds eye techno-economic analysis and a scoping review. The results were promising, so we decided to build our own prototype. To refine our analysis, we are now searching for people, who already have experience with this technology. Maybe we could discuss some lessons learned. Do you have contact to any person experienced in wind-thermal energy applications? I would really appreciate this.” [Read more…]

Windmill on Ice or Water Bearings Has Low Friction at Low Cost


Simon Gripenberg, an artist from Finland, developed new types of vertical windmills, inspired by ancient Persian windmills and built from recycled materials. Most interestingly, the windmills float in water or spin on ice, so that Gripenberg manages to obtain low friction at low cost. [Read more…]

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.

Previously:

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…]