DIY Wind Generator Competition
Even if big wind turbines aren't bird blenders after all, there is still the scandalous fact that, as we speak, untold numbers of gnats, hornets and innocent honeybees are being chopped to bits in the blades of tiny wind generator. Okay, joking. Of course we love micro power generators and their endless applications. Small wind generators are fun and accessible ways of making power and they provide tons of opportunities for the do-it-yourselfer to get hands on. For those of you feeling up for a challenge, gotwind.org has posed a design conundrum to make your head spin: design a complete wind generator for under $175 (£100). Your design (you aren't required to actually build it) has to employ "readily available components" and produce a minimum of 20 watts at 12 volts. Win, and you get to make the world a better place, get famous, and win a sweet new flashlight. Lose, and we feed you to the turbines. The clever brain behind gotwind.org, Ben Jandrell, came in as a runner-up in our very own DIY Eco-tech contest with his solar FM cordless headphones. His true love seems to be wind power, however, and gotwind.org is a mini trove of info on small wind power for the DIY-er. Small wind generators are proving their value in diverse applications from homes to hilltops to Kyoto taxi cabs. Jandrell's DIY challenge takes this powerful little technology and asks just how affordable it can be. Many of the units found on gotwind.org are made with adapted or salvaged parts, many of them from bicycles (bikes and wind generators have a lot of tech-genetics in common). Setting such a low cost limit is reminiscent of inventions that came out of Gaviotas, an intentional community in the grassy plains of Colombia, where maverick engineers built wind powered water pumps for peasants by borrowing designs from NASA spacecraft blueprints. Do-it-yourself technologies are also gaining significance and impact with the advent of tech-sharing networks like Squidoo, Instructables, and Make.
The DIY Wind Generator Challenge is accepting submissions from April to October 2006 and it's free to submit. Entries are already coming in and we'd love to see some TreeHuggers up in the mix. :: gotwind.org