Wind-Dam is a viable wind energy system able to reliable supply enough electricity, flexible, predictable and independently of wind’s duration or intensity.
Why a Wind Energy System?
Wind-Dam is an energy system design which aims to answer the main energy problem. Departing from the idea that fossils reserves are are going to be exhausted sooner or later, we need to think of a way to generate enough electricity to cater for all present and future electricity needs. World deposits of fossil fuels are exhaustible and probably close to depletion. It is also known that the hydroelectric power plants cannot cover the whole demand of electric energy.
The main wind energy problem
The Wind-Dam poses the problem of replacing all power plants using traditional types of energy carrying agents (coal, oil, water, uranium) by some other type of power plants, with the objective of ensuring the viability of the system. By looking at these traditional energy carrying agents, we realise in fact that the stock of energy carrying agent provides the system with several very important characteristics: independence, flexibility and predictability. These qualities ensure the viability of the system. They are of vital importance because they form the basis of the technological progress.Obviously, because of the high dependency of the wind parks on the wind action or not, the wind parks as currently design, cannot actually guarantee the supply of energy regardless of whether the wind blows or not.
Alternatives to the traditional power stations
a) Biomass based power plants. This would be only a partial solution because a huge soil surface area would have to be taken out of the agricultural circuit for yielding the necessary quantity of biomass. Biomass is not an economically acceptable solution, despite the fact that it is viable.
b) Solar panels based power plants. For the same reasons, this is not acceptable from an economic perspective, and additionally, they are not viable.
Wind Power Systems
Kinetic energy is an abundant source of primary energy. At the moment, the objective set is that this source of primary energy will supply over 35% of the total electric energy needs by 2030. Considering this, a transition needs to be designed for the change from traditional power plants to systems that exclusively use wind primary energy. The transformational chain of primary energy into effective energy in the case of fossil energy power plants has been analysed. In every step of the chain there is a factor which
influences the transformational process which can be characterised by a number of parameters, the most important being its efficiency rate or the yield. The wind-driven electric generation system needs to be independent, flexible and predictable for being able to be used instead of a system based on fossil fuel. However, the wind blows in a random way, therefore a stock of this primary energy (wind) cannot be created. A system based only on wind power stations, like the wind parks, cannot be independent, flexible and predictable; therefore it is not viable. It is not independent because in certain conditions it cannot always supply the planned output power. So it only functions as a complementary source of energy to traditional power stations.
Nobody would assume the risk of decommissioning the traditional plants, regardless of how strong the wind is. This would lead to negative prices of electricity. If the wind intensity diminishes, the yield of electricity also diminishes or even stops. It is not flexible because the harnessing of electric
energy cannot be controlled by regulating the consumption of the energy carrying agent. It is not predictable because neither the quantity nor the parameters of the supplied energy can be programmed.
All these shortcomings mean that the current wind-driven power stations (the wind parks), are designed as complementary power. They are only a complementary source of energy with hazard mode functioning, but with a lot of potential. However, if wind energy continues to be developed as it is now, it will lead to even more damage (remember the situation of negative electricity prices in Germany), and unfortunately without bringing a viable solution to the global energy problem of the depletion of fossil fuel deposits.
But wind power potential can be exploited if the above discussed shortcomings are addressed, and the energy stock creation problem is solved. The whole energy system needs to be rethought and redesigned, so that it can function on the basis of an artificial stock of energy, and that the wind primary energy is only used for the creation of the said stock or deposit.
Because the wind itself cannot be stocked in the same way as other energy carrying agents, an artificial energy carrying agent that can be stored needs to be created. In other words, after the primary energy offered by the wind is transformed into a secondary form of energy, instead of producing effective energy (electricity) directly, new steps need to be introduced in the electricity
The chain of transformational processes becomes longer, and new additional factors implying energy wastage appear. The quantity of effective energy cannot be deduced simply from the quantity of the primary energy and applying the usual efficiency transformational rate. A new series
of transformations, each with its own efficiency rate must be applied.
A new method is needed for estimating the required installed power in wind-driven power plants, called hereafter equivalent wind power. Equivalent wind power means the power of wind generators able to supply the same quantity of electricity as a traditional power plant of a designated installed power, for which it was designed to replace, noted Pee.
Method for estimating the equivalent wind power
The following efficiency loss factors have been identified:
1. Physical factors:
a. Random action of the wind;
b. Random velocity of the wind (random time, duration and intensity of wind);
2. Chemical factors:
a. Production of energy carrying agent for stock building;
b. Transformation of the energy carrying agent into effective energy;
3. Probabilistic factors:
a. Natural catastrophes (hurricanes, sabotage, earthquakes, tsunamis, wars);
b. Random defects.
The Wind-Dam proposes the quantification of the effects or impacts of the above identified factors using percentages of non-action of the wind turbine system. The system is offsetting the losses occurred due to the processes which take place at different stages of energy transformation chain with a part
of the generated energy. This is equivalent to when some wind turbines, proportional to the loss, are not working.
Also a system of offsetting rates is proposed in this section: multiplication of the initial number of wind turbines, so that the action of these factors is offset by the increased number of wind turbines.
The losses resulting from the energy efficiency rate of water decomposition
and the efficiency rate of binding the hydrogen and oxygen, to recuperate the stored energy and produce effective energy. This scenario considers the hydrogen obtained through electrolytic decomposition of water being the storage agent. The effective energy is considered to be the electric energy.
Loss Factor – Quantification – Offset rate
- Random action of the wind n1
- Random wind speed n2
- Electrolytic decomposition of water n3
- Re-composition of water for n4
- Catastrophes n5
- Random defects n6
Correspondingly, we are going to identify the quantification and offset rate needed
- Percentage of non-action of the wind: R1- Multiplication rate due to
non-action of the wind
- Percentage of turbine no load; R2- Multiplication rate due to
- Percentage of energy losses during electrolytic process R3- Multiplication rate due to energy losses during electrolytic process
- Percentage of energy losses R4 – Multiplication rate due to obtaining energy specific to the process of water re-composition energy losses specific to the
process of water recomposition.
- percentage of wind turbines stopped due to catastrophes R5- Multiplication rate – due to catastrophes
- Percentage of wind turbines stopped due to random defects R6- Multiplication rate because of random defects.Next, the random action of the wind is analysed. According to statistics, the wind is in motion approximately between one third and one fifth of the time. So it can be said that the action of the wind is in the range of 1/5-1/3 of total time duration. In percentages, this means that the wind blows between 20% – 33.3% of total time. Therefore the time of non-action of the wind is between 66.66% – 80%. The optimistic option is considered, i.e. the wind does not blow
66.66%. This percentage is noted “n”: n=66.66.
If there were a number of “N” wind turbines which function continuously and have the same installed power as a fossil fuel based power plant and knowing the percentage of non-action of the wind “n”, the question is “How many installed wind turbines, noted X, would be needed to harness the same quantity of energy as the “N” turbines, functioning 100% of time?”
For calculating the updated number of wind turbines the hypothesis is accepted that from an energy production point of view, the non-action of the wind in a percentage of “n” from the total time is equivalent to the situation that the same “n” percentage of the turbines are not functioning, while the
rest of them work 100% of the time.
The result is a simple equation. For example, considering N=100 and accepting n=66.66%, the result is X=299,9 wind turbines.
Ri represents the proportion that determines the size of X, and is named “Correction rate through multiplication” of number “N”, because of cause “i”.
Applying the above formulas to considered values, it results in:
Ri=2,99. Therefore the result is n1 and R1. The rest of the rates are determined in the same way, if the percentages noted ni are known.
Next, the impact of the random technical defects on the quantity of energy is analysed. It is considered that at any specific time some wind turbines, in a certain proportion “n” are not functioning. This percentage is usually not disclosed. The defect remedy intervention is much more difficult in the case of wind turbines, so this percentage can be estimated at a value of 10. Therefore
if 100 wind turbines ought to function at any point in time, 111 wind turbines need to be installed. Consequently, even if 10% are not functioning due to defects, the wind turbines needed in order to supply the required power can be ensured. Using the same line of thought, the relation between the energy efficiency rates at water electrolytic decomposition is questioned. The efficiency rate expresses the efficiency when using the energy. The losses can be quantified and the number of wind turbines needs to be increased to offset
these losses. Concretely this means that if the efficiency rate is 50%, the losses are also 50%, which is the same as considering that the energy produced by the turbines working to offset these losses does not reach the end user, as if they were stopped. The percentage of wind turbines apparently stopped is expressed through this efficiency rate; the same rationale is used for other cases.
Alternative solution to the wind-parks
The Wind-Dam is a wind-driven energy system, comprising of a wind dam noted 1, a system for producing and storing hydrogen noted 2 and a hydrogen based power station for producing electric energy, noted 3.
The wind dam (1), part of the energy system, allows harvesting enough primary energy, so that producing an energy carrying agent which can be stored is affordable and thus the whole system becomes independent, flexible and predictable. The quantity of energy for the same installed power is multiplied by a factor in the range of [1.5-4] taking as reference the existing wind parks, hereafter called traditional wind parks. The red arrow shows a robot.
Where does this surplus of energy come from? The answer is simple: from the characteristics of the structure of the wind dam.
As it can be seen in the above figure, the capturing surface consists of turbines which are distributed in several layers and are fixed on cables. The structure of turbines and cables form a wind wall (the wind dam in the picture is of type with 2 walls). The energy efficiency of this wind dam is achieved by the coverage rate of the total wind harvesting area by the areas swept by
the rotor blades. The highest efficiency rate occurs with the maximum coverage of this harvesting area, and this is geometrically obtained if the individual areas swept by the turbines’ blades are as small as possible. The turbines need to be optimally dimensioned to achieve a surplus of energy.
It is known that the harvested wind energy does not increase at the same rate as the area swept by the turbo-blades, despite the fact that the installed power respects this principle. Another source of surplus energy comes from the turbines being installed at high altitudes, hence their load is better. Therefore it can be concluded that the wind dam can be 4 times more efficient than a wind park with the same installed power and with a similar cost. Another advantage of the wind dam is that it can ensure an installation with between 20 and 100 times more installed power than a classical wind park, built on the same amount of land. The power surplus comes from the vertical extension of the area harvesting the kinetic wind energy. Also because the turbines are smaller, they have a better resistance in case of turbulence and be installed with a higher density. In addition, the space is used more efficiently due to a two wall dam. Applying estimative calculations, the wind dam presented an installed power of 0,5GW/km.
By using this system design, the problem of the amount of wind potential can be solved. Therefore it will be enough to offset all fossil fuel based power plants, including the ones based on uranium.
Re-evaluation of the installed power
Using the new data, following values are estimated for the percentages presented in Table 2, and the multiplication rates are also estimated. The results are presented as follows;
- Percentage ni – Multiplication rate Ri.
- n1=50 R1=2 Low percentage because the altitude of the installation increases the probability of action of the wind and the duration of its kinetic exploitation.
- n2=10 R2=1.11 The velocity (speed of the air) and the load increase with an increase in height.
- n3=10 R3=1.11 It is assumed that the water electrolytic decomposition efficiency rate of 90% obtained in laboratory trials could be extrapolated to industrial production.
- n4=10 (n4=50) R4=1.11 (2) It is assumed that the water electrolytic decomposition efficiency rate of 90% obtained in laboratory trials could be extrapolated to industrial production.
- n5=0 R5=1 Simplification increases feasibility. The exclusion of this risk from the calculations can be accepted similarly to the construction of the current wind parks.
- n6=5 R6=1.05 By reducing, standardising and simplifying the turbines, it is reasonable to accept that the defects rate will decrease.
- RK=2×1.11×1.11×1.11x1x1.05 => Rk= 2.87 (Too optimistic, hence we consider (5-10) Pee=2.87×4098 Pee=11762MW => PeePee
Structure of the wind dams; implementation requirements
The feasibility of physically building the proposed wind dams is analysed in this section. The wind dams are very big, but they are not bulky. They are composed of very high towers, with fixed cables, onto which the turbines are hung. Initially the proposed height of the towers is to be 500 m and their proposed shape is pyramidal. The pyramids have built-in concrete foundations, on the seabed. Figure shows such pyramid pictured for
comparison purposes near a well-known touristic destination.
Then it presents the technical drawing of a pyramid with two columns of arms is presented. The distances between the layers of supporting arms determine the size of the turbine rotor blades. It is hard to imagine that such constructions can be raised by using classical building machinery.
Currently there is no sea crane able to lift 200 tonnes to an altitude of 500 meters; everything needs to be designed differently, for example the crane can be devised as a helicopter. It is also believed the no single European country’s industry can come up with all the necessary equipment to enable the building of wind dams before 2050, when the complete depletion of oil reserves is forecasted. Figure shows a crane able to lift 400t, this perfectly feasible, considering that the 50 tones crane presented was already manufactured in 1975.
Future construction site, shows:
- 1. Helicopter crane of 400t;
- 2. The finished pyramid section;
- 3. Heavy load bearing robots at 200t, able to climb on the pyramid section pipes with the help of clamps. These robots will fix the pyramid section (2) on the flanges of the previously built section. The human personnel, not visible because of the very small scale of the drawing, supervise the robots and tighten the screws.
- The pyramid is constructed on top of built-in cylindrical concrete foundations, (5) in figure. The huge concrete cylinders can only be built into the seabed with special tools. Figure represents the possibility of raising of a wind dam by making use of such machinery.
- In addition to the aforementioned crane the new system of machinery
includes remotely controlled robots for manipulating parts of the pyramid at high altitudes. It is unconceivable that the pyramids are built through welding on the construction site as the practicality of such operation is not feasible. The structure needs to be modular, of high accuracy, built on the ground in covered hangars, and finally assembled on the construction site. The only manual operations would be fixing the individual parts with screws.
Figure below shows a barge (1), which has supports fixed in the seabed (2), it includes a drilling tool (3), which glides on the lines (4), for producing the holes (5), into which the heavy load bearing robot (6) introduces the foundations (7). In order to finish the wind dams before 2040 this type of tool must be able to build a set of 6 foundations in 24 hours.
Wind turbines of a new design
With a view to building a viable wind energy system, wind turbines should be long lasting and at least as same as efficient as the old power stations which have ensured the progress of human civilisation over the last century. In order to achieve this, a change in the way of designing the wind turbines is needed. It is questionable if the current industrial trend to increase the size of the turbine in order to obtain more energy is the most appropriate one. Wind energy is reaching 18% of the total energy yield in some countries. However, no decommissioning of traditional plants is foreseen as a result of the increase in the proportion of wind energy. Even the largest possible wind turbines will never allow the replacement of all traditional power plants by wind-driven power stations. 100% clean and reliable energy requires a different philosophy.
It has been shown above that the wind dams could permit the replacement of the traditional power plants provided that the turbines are adapted. This adaptation has to address the following:
- efficiency of wind energy harvesting
- safety in functioning,
- duration of exploitation,
- turbines able to be manipulated by robots, transportable by
helicopters, that function on cables instead of fixed towers, easily maintained and replaced under these new requirements when defective or
Figure Adaptations to the turbine shows a wind turbine with all necessary adaptations:
1 (pink striped) Wind wall cables
support the turbines and serve for
returning the electricity to the
generators, also ground cables.
- 2 and 9 Platform surround for unloading materials and personnel debarkation.
- 3 and 8 (green) Fixing rings, for fixing the clamps of the robot, for manipulating and suspending the turbine on the cables and on the crane.
- 4 (red) Elbow bend supports the turbine and rotates at the same time around axis y-y, in order to direct the turbine on a wind perpendicular direction. It also protects the blades from possible cable vibrations. The elbow bend is fixed on cables 1 and 9, allowing a 360° rotation and blocking in an emergency situation. The elbow bend is envisaged with doors at both ends, and with interior stairs, (not shown in the figure) for visiting the nacelle noted 6.
- 5 (red) Rotor, for yielding the kinetic energy; it will be standardised for all turbines installed in wind dams. In the factory each blade is permanently fixed on the rotor axis for maximum efficiency. The dimensions and air resistance need to be carefully selected, so that the rotor can resist the strongest winds and turbulence whilst allowing the optimum coverage of the surface of the wind wall. The power of the wind turbine will result from a compromise between the efficient coverage of the surface, which requires the minimisation of the rotor, and the quantity of captured energy, which requires the increase of the rotor.
- 6 (grey) Nacelle has an aerodynamic form and embodies the following: transformer booster, rectifier, and a system for blocking the axis in case of interventions and a low voltage hexphased generator. It is hex-phased for decreasing the weight of the system, and low voltage, (under 100V) for increasing the durability.
- 7 (red) Vane in the shape of an airplane wing, for orienting the turbine on the wind direction. The vane was added to simplify the instalment structure and also to increase reliability.