The move towards more localised, energy efficient and productive living arrangements is not a choice; it is an inevitable direction for mankind.
Bespoke Wind Turbine
About a year ago, Cath suggested to the Energy group that they might be interested in making a wind turbine out of an old bicycle wheel - so it's all her fault. The article that started it all is in the Permaculture magazine that came out in Spring 2010 - issue number 63, pages 8 to 11.
So, first you need a bicycle wheel with a Sturmey Archer dynohub fitted to it. It says in the instructions that they're easily obtainable - well, maybe for them since they run a bike workshop, but for ordinary mortals like me (that is, lazy ones that can't be bothered looking round junkyards), it meant winning the wheel on eBay for about £25. We did have a really old bike kicking about the garage that could be sacrificed for the front forks. Unfortunately the whole thing was so rusty that I couldn't take the handlebars off the forks - or is it the forks off the handlebars? - so I took it to those nice people at Eco Republic and this terribly helpful young chap there did it for me for no charge. Next thing was to get some estate agent board for the blades and fin. Again this terribly helpful young woman in one of the estate agents in Station Approach - forget which one, they congregate there, don't they? - told me where they get their board from and I pitched up at B&B Signs in Bollington and explained my problem. They were intrigued to say the least and let me have a huge piece of plain black board. What a nice bunch of people!
So here we have what was built in the house -
And below you can see that by the time of the "Go Green at Home" event in October 2010 - see Our Events on this site - the fin was added and the "turbine" shown to be producing about 12-15V AC.
The next stage was to build a little circuit to rectify the AC - it's a long story and not something I'm proud of. Matt was brilliant at sorting it out and soldering it and had the idea of hiding it all in an old DVD storage case and here it is
It was a long snowy winter so installing the turbine on Derek's allotment is just really starting now in May. He's put the turbine on a long pole and it's turning successfully into the wind and going round, much to the amusement of another allotment owner who said it reminded him of Heath Robinson.
Just got to hook the whole thing up now!