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Old 05-10-2020, 10:14 PM   #1
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Wind power?

Hi All!

I have what may sound like a silly question, but I hope someone may know the answer. So, I was driving down the road and saw an RV driving down the road and it had the little pinwheel whirlygigs on the front and down the sides just spinning away. It got me thinking, does anybody have a wind power turbine on their bus? I am in the planning stage right now, and trying to figure out my power system. So how about it? Anybody have a turbine on their bus? I assume on the top would create drag and clearance issues, but what about on the front of the grill or low profile ones on the sides? Is this doable? Is there some major reason not to do this that I am overlooking?

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Old 05-10-2020, 10:25 PM   #2
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There was a podcast episode where a lady had a windmill that I assume she put up when parked. I’ll post a link if I can find it.

Somewhere along I-5 in Southern California there’s a house on the top of a hill that has a horizontal windmill made out of 1/2 55 gallon drums arranged in carousel fashion. That thing really moves. It must make a lot of juice!

If you’re thinking of something that makes energy while driving I think a big alternator is a better way to go.
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Old 05-10-2020, 10:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladylac9704 View Post
Hi All!

I have what may sound like a silly question, but I hope someone may know the answer. So, I was driving down the road and saw an RV driving down the road and it had the little pinwheel whirlygigs on the front and down the sides just spinning away. It got me thinking, does anybody have a wind power turbine on their bus? I am in the planning stage right now, and trying to figure out my power system. So how about it? Anybody have a turbine on their bus? I assume on the top would create drag and clearance issues, but what about on the front of the grill or low profile ones on the sides? Is this doable? Is there some major reason not to do this that I am overlooking?

I know very little about this, but I think one of the reasons you don't see this more often is that there are generally simpler and cheaper ways to generate power more efficiently/effectively.


Small wind turbines are definitely a thing, and are not uncommon on boats where 'free' wind energy is plentiful, and other options (like solar) are more limited. But from what I understand small wind generators usually generate maybe a couple hundred Watts and many people conclude they are not worth the added complexity.


Wind speeds are higher and more consistent at greater heights, and unlike solar, wind power cannot be switched off, it needs a 'dump load' to dump excess power into.


As for whether you could mount one to the front of your bus and use it while driving, I don't know. I think the questions you would need to answer are (1) would it generate a meaningful amount of power, and (2) would it negatively effect your mpg's, (3) would it be safe and legal at highway speeds.


I still like the concept of multiple free, renewable, and green energy sources, but I'm not sure that the gains justify the costs (in $$'s and in complexity) in our context.
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:11 AM   #4
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Agree with already shared. Unless you have some revolutionary concept that would allow wind power generation without the offset of undesired drag then you'd be combating the most elementary of physical laws. Granted, buses and RVs have all the fuel economy and road manners of a municipal building but that's no reason to compound the issue with ineffective eco-gadgetry unless you're just trying to make a statement.

Having said that, if I just wanted to tinker with the idea I would probably start by utilizing the pre-existing holes in the front once I've removed the 8-way lights. Instead of patching over them I would make them inlets, then inside the bus have tubes which have periodic micro turbines to capture the air as it passes by. Eventually it would exit out the back. Of course this idea sacrifices an enormous amount of interior headroom for no reasonable purpose but it is a notion I've had on the subject.
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Old 05-11-2020, 02:54 AM   #5
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Thanks all. I kind of figured that it wasn't likely a reasonable option, but the image just got me wondering so I figured I would ask. I may add some pinwheels though. It looked pretty neat going down the road.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:19 AM   #6
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Such a setup could certainly be used to charge house batteries while driving, but a proper isolator wired in line with your alternator could do the same thing. However, if wind is available while parked, that's a good supplement to solar.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:42 AM   #7
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As a general Physics thing a wind turbine is not a viable way of generating electricity while driving, since your engine will consume more energy in the form of diesel fuel (a lot more) overcoming the additional drag produced by the turbine than you will get back in the form of usable electricity. Your alternator is already doing the exact same thing (making the engine work harder but generating usable electricity out of it) but much more efficiently. They use these on airplanes but only as emergency devices when the engines fail, allowing them to convert a trivial amount of additional drag into electricity to power critical systems.
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