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|United States Patent Application
Hartman; Paul Harvey
January 10, 2008
Systems for distributed energy resources
A new design of vertical axis wind turbine is disclosed based on a dome
structure using dome struts as blades that work in concert to produce
rotational motion. The stability and low cost of the new design allows
the turbine to function in low wind speed regimes as well as high speed
winds that would be encountered in off-shore wind installations. The
large stresses and structural requirements of mounting large horizontal
axis wind turbines, particularly off-shore, are avoided with the new
system. A new energy distribution system is proposed that will capture
abundant off-shore wind energy, store it aboard a generator/delivery ship
in the form of Hydrogen gas, and deliver it to an existing shore based
power plant to produce electricity using a conventional gas turbine.
Alternatively, the Hydrogen can be used to produce methane from coal
using known processes to add natural gas to pipelines in areas that would
normally be consuming the material. Both applications, and the direct
production of heat by the new turbines, would stabilize our national
energy grid while reducing CO2 emissions.
Hartman; Paul Harvey; (Chardon, OH)
11631 Cherry Hollow Drive
March 5, 2007|
|Current U.S. Class:
|Class at Publication:
||B63H 1/06 20060101 B63H001/06|
1) An energy capture and distribution system comprising; a wind energy
resource; a self-starting vertical axis wind turbine means for converting
said wind energy resource into rotational power, said self-starting
vertical axis wind turbine means mounted on a ship and connected by means
of a mast to electrical generation means for the production of electrical
power, said electrical power connected to a plurality of water
electrolysis cells with the capability to produce Hydrogen gas, said ship
also having storage means for compressing and containing said Hydrogen
gas for a prolonged period of time, propulsive means for moving between
the location of said wind energy resource and a shore based
infrastructure facility and unloading means for delivering said Hydrogen
gas to said infrastructure facility.
2) The energy system of claim 1, wherein said infrastructure facility
comprises an electrical power plant connected to an electrical power
3) The energy system of claim 2, wherein said electrical power plant
includes a turbine generator capable of using either methane or Hydrogen
or a mixture of the two to produce electricity.
4) The energy system of claim 1, wherein said infrastructure facility
comprises a chemical process plant capable of hydrogenating coal or high
molecular weight hydrocarbons to produce methane and other low molecular
5) The energy system of claim 4, further including a connected natural gas
pipeline for the distribution of said methane.
6) The energy system of claim 1, further including a gearing system
between said self-starting vertical axis wind turbine means and said
electrical generation means; thereby supplying higher speed rotational
power to said electrical generation means.
7) The energy system of claim 1, wherein said self-starting vertical axis
wind turbine means comprises; a tower; said mast engaging said tower and
adapted to rotate about a generally vertical axis; and a wind turbine
having a plurality of struts, said struts elongated in a first direction
and transverse to said direction of elongation having a constant cross
section adapted to capture said wind energy resource and having lengths
to conform to a largely spherical dome framework design; said struts
attached to one another at hubs according to said framework design by
means of a hub connection system; with the assembly of said struts and
said hub connection system forming a dome framework with a largely
spherical shape having an equatorial plane and poles normal to said
equatorial plane, with polar struts aligned toward said poles engaging
coupler means; said coupler means having the capability to position said
turbine on said mast and the capability to lock said turbine to said mast
and transmit mechanical rotation initiated by said turbine to said mast
8) The wind turbine means of claim 7, wherein said constant cross section
comprises an elliptical tube with the major axis of said elliptical tube
oriented roughly tangential to said largely spherical shape, said
elliptical tube having an internal elliptical surface adapted to engage
said hub connector system and said strut comprising a structural strut,
and A blade strut, comprising said structural strut and further including
two integral transition sections emerging from the ends of the minor axis
of said elliptical tube, with said transition sections joining spaced
apart from said minor axis into a blade section, said blade strut having
a roughly aerodynamic shape at its exterior and having said internal
elliptical surface at its interior.
9) The energy system of claim 1, wherein said energy capture and
distribution system has more than one vertical axis wind turbine means
for converting said wind energy resource into rotational power.
10) The energy system of claim 9, wherein said vertical axis wind turbine
means comprises a propulsive means for said ship.
11) The energy system of claim 1, wherein said electrical generation means
supplies a bank of storage batteries for storage of electricity and said
water electrolysis cells are not used.
12) The energy system of claim 11, wherein said bank of storage batteries
supplies an electric propulsion system on board said ship.
13) The energy system of claim 1, wherein a purified water store is
contained on said ship and said purified water store is connected through
a plurality of supply lines to said plurality of water electrolysis
cells; whereby an even buoyancy and weight distribution is maintained and
the need to pre-process saline or contaminant containing water on board
ship is avoided.
14) An energy capture and distribution system comprising; a wind energy
resource; a self-starting vertical axis wind turbine means for converting
said wind energy resource into rotational power, said vertical axis wind
turbine means mounted on a tower and mechanically connected by means of a
mast to heat generation means for the conversion of said rotational power
to heat, a thermal storage tank having heat exchange surface means for
the transfer of said heat to a thermal storage media, and
heating/ventilating means for the utilization of said heat within a
structure; whereby, the combustion of non-renewable resources is offset
by the use of said wind energy resource to thermally condition the space
within said structure or thermally condition process fluids within said
15) The energy system of claim 14, wherein said heat exchange surface
means comprises a heat exchange jacket fitted to the outside of a liquid
16) The energy system of claim 14, wherein said thermal storage tank
comprises a portion of said tower.
17) The energy system of claim 15, wherein said thermal storage media is
18) The energy system of claim 16, wherein said thermal storage media is
19) The energy system of claim 16, wherein said thermal storage media is
20) The energy system of claim 17, wherein said heating/ventilating means
include a water source heat pump, said heat pump providing a flow of
conditioned supply air to said structure.
21) The energy system of claim 16, wherein said heating/ventilating means
include heat transfer means for directly moving said heat from said
thermal storage media to said structure.
22) The energy system of claim 14, wherein said self-starting vertical
axis wind turbine means comprises; a tower; said mast engaging said tower
and adapted to rotate about a generally vertical axis; and a wind turbine
having a plurality of struts, said struts elongated in a first direction
and transverse to said direction of elongation having a constant cross
section adapted to capture said wind energy and having lengths to conform
to a largely spherical dome framework design; said struts attached to one
another at hubs according to said framework design by means of a hub
connection system; with the assembly of said struts and said hub
connection system forming a dome framework with a largely spherical shape
having an equatorial plane and poles normal to said equatorial plane,
with polar struts aligned toward said poles engaging coupler means; said
coupler means having the capability to position said turbine on said mast
and the capability to lock said turbine to said mast and transmit
mechanical rotation initiated by said turbine to said mast.
23) The vertical axis wind turbine means of claim 22, wherein said
constant cross section comprises an elliptical tube with the major axis
of said elliptical tube oriented roughly tangential to said largely
spherical shape, said elliptical tube having an internal elliptical
surface adapted to engage said hub connector system and said strut
comprising a structural strut, and A blade strut, comprising said
structural strut and further including two integral transition sections
emerging from the ends of the minor axis of said elliptical tube, with
said transition sections joining spaced apart from said minor axis into a
blade section, said blade strut having a roughly aerodynamic shape at its
exterior and having said internal elliptical surface at its interior.
24) The energy system of claim 14, wherein said heat generation means
comprises a shear type fluid friction device containing a viscous fluid
and having at least one exterior extended surface means for transferring
said heat to a working fluid, said working fluid connected in a fluid
flow channel to said thermal storage tank.
25) The energy system of claim 14, wherein said heat generation means
comprises a high pressure fluid pump connected to a working fluid
contained in a closed circulation loop, said closed circulation loop
further including a section of small diameter tubing; whereby said
rotational power is converted to heat in the passage of said working
fluid through said section of small diameter tubing.
26) The heat generation means of claim 24, wherein said shear type fluid
friction device has at least one disk contained between an upper housing
and a lower housing with a specific gap between said disk and each of
said housings, with said viscous fluid occupying each of said specific
gaps, with said at least one disk connected mechanically to rotate in
concert with said mast and said upper and lower housings fixed in
position relative to said tower, said at least one disk, said upper
housing and said lower housing each being concentric about an axis of
rotation of said at least one disk and said upper housing and said lower
housing being roughly congruent to said at least one disk, with said
upper housing and said lower housing each having exterior surfaces and
interior surfaces, said interior surfaces being adjacent to said specific
gap and with at least one of said exterior surfaces comprising said
exterior extended surface means, said specific gap having a width, said
at least one disk having an outer diameter, said viscous fluid having a
viscosity and said wind resource having a speed, such that a fluid
friction means based on said width, said outer diameter, said viscosity
and said speed has the capability to track an output of said heat in
concert with an input of said wind resource; whereby said shear type
fluid friction device can increase a thermal load in proportion to a high
wind speed, eliminating much of the need for a furling or braking
mechanism in the system.
 This is a divisional application by Paul Hartman, (US Citizen),
Chardon, Ohio to co-pending application Ser. No. 11/210,068 filed Aug.
23, 2005. This application is for equipment to provide distributed energy
resources to offset the use of non-renewable fuels in the public power
 1. Field of the Invention
 This invention relates to wind turbines and energy systems,
specifically to vertical axis machines and systems that have the
capability to supply public energy needs in combination with existing
infrastructure and equipment.
 2. Prior Art
 Large horizontal axis wind turbines have the lion's share of the
current land based market. They also constitute the planning for off
shore installations of very large (up to 5 MW) turbines. While many high
value wind sites lie in mountain passes such as Tehachapi in California
and Guadalupe in Texas they are limited in frequency and access to the
grid. A host of attractive sites are found in the Great Plains, (called
the `Saudi Arabia` of wind), but lie a considerable distance from major
 Just off shore of major population centers on the Atlantic, Gulf
Coast, Pacific and Great Lakes lie wind energy resources that dwarf
on-shore wind energy available by factors of up to 5:1. Recent DOE
inquiries have focused on tall towers for islands to capture this
resource. The difficulties of the Nantucket Shoals project, general use
of the shoreline as a recreational/tourist resource and valid `not in my
back yard` sentiments of the public demonstrate the limitations of this
direction of development. Another difficulty is integrating and
connecting the variable off-shore wind resource to existing shore-based
power plants that are the ties to the distribution grid.
 As turbines get larger, the large moment of inertia in the
three-blade horizontal axis design requires ever heavier composite
cross-sections. Fiberglass thickness now reaches close to three inches
for 1.5 to 2.5 MW production machines. The strength to weight properties
of composites will limit the turbine size in the same way the size of
dinosaurs was limited by the properties of bone. A planned developmental
5 MW turbine for off-shore installation in Germany will have 18 ton
blades, even considering some use of high cost carbon fiber
reinforcement. Production scale machines are now so large that they need
to be rotated whenever they pass below bridges.
 Thinking in land based terms of ever larger turbines is not
particularly useful within an ocean context where average wind energy can
go from 500 W/m2 to 1000 W/m2 by moving slightly further off shore. The
top-heavy design of horizontal axis mills and transmission to shore
increases the cost of off shore installations by a factor of at least
three over comparable land installations. Island installations have a
more reasonable cost but are not scaleable in the sense that there are
few opportunities available.
 Within this context, Heronemous, (US App#2003/0168864) and Pflantz,
(U.S. Pat. No. 6,100,600) have proposed gigantic, buoyed, off shore
platforms for horizontal axis turbines to produce public power. Both are
unique in generating hydrogen through electrolysis and utilizing heat to
desalinate water; an important need in many areas. The former also
features systems on the platform to produce methane, ammonia and liquid
Hydrogen for transport by tender ship to shore. Placing large chemical
production platforms off shore would seem to be more costly than placing
them on land, and to invite the possibility of chemical spills in the
aquatic environment. Working with liquid Hydrogen is just barely handled
safely by NASA at the present time.
 In addition to the limitations described above, the fixed position
of the platforms, the ungainly array of multiple horizontal axis wind
turbines and the turbulence experienced in large storms present the
challenge of catastrophic failure such as that of the Putnam 1.5 MW
installation in Vermont during WW II.
 Also, from the perspective of public services, Bird, U.S. Pat. No.
6,083,382, presents a land based energy system using wind for water
pumping to create a hydrostatic head for wind powered water purification.
Most recently, a corporation formed around the work of Lackner et al
(U.S. Pat. No. 6,790,430) has worked on the pollution free production of
public electricity from coal. The work has been focused on the use of oil
shale and is quite far from producing a viable public power system.
 The first step of the Lackner process, however, (the hydrogenation
of coal to produce methane), is a viable technology developed between the
1930's and 1960's (e.g. Schroeder U.S. Pat. No. 3,152,063).
Implementation of the later technology, would go a long way towards the
realistic goal of stabilizing global CO2 at 500 ppm (Browne), and could
do so in a much shorter period of time and with-better assurance of
public safety than use of a totally Hydrogen based economy.
 Earlier, Lawson-Tancred, (U.S. Pat. No. 4,274,010) developed an
integrated horizontal axis system for producing heat and/or electricity
based on hydraulic pumps to drive electric generators which in turn
generate heat for storage or smaller amounts of electricity for on-site
usage. Disadvantages of this approach were that heat could have produced
directly from the fluid power and that the small scale of the
installation could not effectively compete with utility based supply
costs. In targeting direct production of heat, much of the cost and
complexity of a wind system is reduced, allowing wind to more effectively
compete in areas of modest wind energy resources.
 In terms of ocean-based technology, Flettner (U.S. Pat. No.
1,674,169 & Foreign Patents) sailed a large Magnus effect powered ship
across the Atlantic in 1925. Reducing weight on the top of the mast, a
stable shipboard system was produced. In the 1980's Bergeson repeated
this work retrofitting ships between 81 and 560 feet long with Magnus
rotors, saving between 23 and 11% on fuel usage, (Gilmore).
 These efforts did not put forward a systems approach to supplying
public energy needs. Few designs have been put forward to collect off
shore energy resources and deliver them by ship to shore based energy
production and distribution infrastructure. The ability to do so also
affords the opportunity to move to safe haven in the event of massive
storms. It allows for scaleable and mobile systems that can respond to
changing needs while also moving the production system for the most part
out of everyone's `back yard`.
 The original Darrieus vertical axis wind turbine design (U.S. Pat.
No. 1,835,018) had the advantages of moving the mass of the generator to
the bottom, reducing overall weight of the structure, being
omni-directional and having a relatively high tip speed ratio and
efficiency. One early limitation was that it was not self-starting.
 Original designs were formed from Aluminum extrusions with more
potential for damaging deformation than composites. Recently, Wallace et
al, (U.S. Pat. Nos. 5,499,904 and 5,375,324), developed a composite
Darrieus blade produced through the lower cost pultrusion process. This
process addresses a potential problem of conventional horizontal axis
blades; mold form/lay up process can leave potential voids and hidden
defects formed in the heavy wall polymerization process.
 Wallace still uses conventional troposkein Darrieus geometry and
has many of the limitations outlined for it. Wallace proposes bending
into the troposkein geometry from a straight geometry on site, avoiding
the transport problems outlined above, but perhaps creating others.
 Another limitation in the Darrieus design was the lack of pitch
control. Modifications to the original curved blade by Drees, (U.S. Pat.
No. 4,180,367), Seki, (U.S. Pat. No. 4,247,253) and others resolved the
perceived needs for a self-starting machine with pitch control. Despite
the advantages of vertical axis wind machines, they did not perform well
in applications directly linked to the grid and are no longer produced in
the US. This may have been related to speed regulation, to structural
weakness in the rectangular geometry of the cylindrical straight blade
arrays or to a standardization on horizontal axis machines.
 Additional references are included on forms PTO/SB/08 A & B,
OBJECTS AND ADVANTAGES OF THE INVENTION
 Accordingly, several objects and advantages of the current
invention are:  a) To provide a robust design for a vertical
axis wind turbine or windmill that is capable of operation in a variety
of wind regimes; Such as that of a ship mounted device to capture high
powered off-shore wind energy resources and economical land based
installations in areas having modest wind energy resources,  b) To
provide an energy production and delivery system capable of harvesting
abundant off shore wind resources and delivering them in economically and
technically useful forms to existing on-shore energy generation,
distribution and use infrastructure,  c) To provide an energy
production and delivery system capable of reducing hydrocarbon fuel usage
and associated greenhouse gas emissions in a variety of shore based
energy applications in areas with modest wind resources, and  d)
To provide a system that is scaleable and that can be implemented in a
relatively short period of time in order to; relieve growing energy
demand, improve energy independence and the environment.
 Further objects and advantages will become apparent from
examination of the specifications, drawings and claims of the invention.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The invention consists of a robust vertical axis windmill/turbine
design based on dome structure spars as blade supports and blades. It can
either be ship mounted or land based and operate in low (windmill) to
very high (wind turbine) wind speed regimes. Driven devices for heat and
electricity generation allow for production of site/district heating and
Hydrogen for energy storage aboard a generator ship for delivery to shore
based facilities. Integrated downstream equipment can use the Hydrogen
for substitution or supplement of natural gas in conventional gas turbine
electrical generation or production of natural gas for heating and
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is an isometric drawing of a land based vertical axis wind
turbine (VAWT) coupled to the heating system of a building.
 FIG. 2 is a cross section through a blade strut making up the VAWT.
 FIG. 3 is an isometric drawing of a first style of hub connector
 FIG. 4 is an isometric drawing of a second style of hub connector
 FIG. 5 is an exploded assembly drawing of a turbine to mast coupler
 FIG. 6 is an exploded assembly drawing of a fluid friction thermal
 FIG. 7 is an isometric drawing of a ship based energy capture and
 FIG. 8 is a schematic illustrating wind turbine function
 FIG. 9 is a schematic/layout of dome--turbine geometry
 FIG. 10 is a cross section of mechanical components in the ship
based system of FIG. 7
 FIG. 11 is a cross section of the generator/Hydrogen storage
components of the system
 FIG. 12 is a process flow diagram of the energy capture and
Wind Turbine and Heating Systems
 1. In the preferred embodiment of the invention, a wind energy
resource 134 turns a novel vertical axis wind turbine 21 driving a
thermal generator 30 to supply heat to a conventional heat pump system 45
for a commercial, industrial or agricultural building, (not shown). In
areas of modest wind energy resources, an integrated wind heating system
46; allows for economical competition with the rising cost of natural
gas, and the freeing of natural gas supply to uses such as electrical
generation and transportation.
 2. Turbine 21 is made up of a dome structure assembled from
structural struts 22 and blade struts 23. (FIG. 1) The blade struts 23
all have leading edges 65 that are oriented in the same circumferential
direction to reinforce rotation 100, (clockwise from above) of the
turbine. The dome structure illustrated has octahedral symmetry with what
is termed a three-frequency breakdown, (i.e.; each spherical segment is
divided into three equal sections between the pole and the equator and
each quarter of the equator is divided into three equal sections.)
 3. Structural struts 22 are used wherever the component is roughly
parallel to the equator of the dome. Blade struts 23 are used wherever
there is a projection of the component on a meridian plane which can be
used to generate lift and rotation of the turbine. The turbine is
attached to a central mast 25 at an upper coupler 24B and a lower coupler
24A. Mast 25 passes into a segmented tower 26 and is supported by an
upper bearing 27A and a lower bearing 27B. Tower 26 has internal
platforms 28 and 29, which serve to stabilize the structure and delineate
work areas within the structure. Thermal generator 30 is supported on
platform 29 and mechanically driven by mast 25. Segmented tower 26 is
preferably constructed through the methods and materials of U.S. Pat. No.
6,959,520 to Hartman.
 4. Thermal generator 30 is shown in FIG. 6 as a shear type fluid
friction device working on a contained viscous fluid 116. Heat is
transmitted through an upper enclosure 104A and a lower enclosure 104B to
a surface of extended fins 112 which heat a flow of supply air 31A which
is sent to a standard HVAC system 45. A flow of return air 31B comes from
system 45 and is reheated by the thermal generator.
 5. An acceptable alternative to the thermal generator illustrated
is a high pressure fluid pump driven by turbine 21 which generates heat
passing the circulating fluid through a small diameter heat exchange
coil, (not shown). In the case of heating for a greenhouse or other less
critical application, the lower portion of tower 26 can be optionally
used to contain a thermal storage medium 43 for subsequent supply to the
application. Flow 3 1A would then be directed through the medium for heat
storage within the tower. Some preferred materials for the medium would
be rocks and aluminum metal, (because of the high specific heat
 6. A schematic of HVAC system 45 is bounded by fence line 42, and
would likely be contained within the commercial or industrial building
served by the system. Thermal storage tank 32 contains water 47 as the
primary heat transfer medium and is fitted with a heat exchange jacket
33. Flow 31A passes through jacket 33 before returning to the thermal
 7. Water 47 is supplied to a circulation pump 34 which in turn
supplies heated water to the coil of a water source heat pump 36 and then
returns the water to tank 32. Heat pump 36 receives a flow 39A of return
air 37 from the building, conditions it and circulates a flow 39B of
supply air 38 to the building.
 8. An alternate source 40 of supply flow 35A could be used by heat
pump 36 and returned (flow 35B) to the alternate source 41 for
reconditioning. A preferred alternate source for summer cooling would be
a geothermal loop. Preferred alternate sources for heating would be a
natural gas heated or solar heated loops.
 9. In this dome design layout, (FIG. 9), three lengths of struts
are required. Equatorial struts 141 have a length of 0.259 times turbine
diameter. Central struts 142 have a length of 0.325 times the diameter.
Corner struts 143 have a length of 0.353 times the diameter. (36)
equatorial struts, (48) central struts and (24) corner struts are used in
the illustrated turbine.
 10. It is not desired to limit the invention to the particular dome
geometry illustrated, as any dome geometry could be used to implement the
invention on virtually any scale desired. Dome geometry is useful in
distributing dynamic and static stress throughout turbine 21 as opposed
to the massive centrifugal force normally borne by the blade root/nacelle
connection of typical three-blade horizontal axis wind turbines.
 11. FIG. 2 is a cross section through a blade strut 23A showing
both the structure of blade struts and structural struts. An elliptical
tube 50 is integrally produced with transition sections 51A and 51B,
which later join to form a blade section 52. It will later be shown that
some deflection of the blade section, (indicated by arrow 54), is
desirable in operation. This can be controlled through adjustment of the
blade materials, the thickness 53 of the blade section, or as shown in
FIG. 4, through engineering the nature of a hub connection 144 (FIG. 9)
 12. Dashed line 56 shows how a structural strut 22A would be
produced as a matching elliptical tube with the transition sections and
blade section omitted from the construction. Both the blade strut 23A and
the optional structural strut 22A have an internal surface 55 and an
assembly adhesive 57 which are used for mounting end connections. (FIGS.
3, 4, 9). The preferred material for both types of struts is a flexible
fiberglass reinforced thermoset plastic. Alternatives are carbon
reinforced plastic, chopped fiber reinforced thermoplastics, and metal
 13. Beyond the mast couplers 24A and 24B, turbine 21 is assembled
at a number of six strut hubs 144 and four strut hubs 145. (FIG. 1) FIG.
3 shows a rigid hub connector 58 composed of a metal tube 59 and a bar
section 61. Bar section 61 is joined tube 59 by a near adapter 60A at the
viewer end and a far adapter 60B at the far end. In each case, the bar
section, adapter and tube are welded together, (welds not numbered). Bar
section 61 is bent at point 62 to allow for a tab section 63
perpendicular to the vertex of either hub 144 or hub 145, (FIG. 1).
Through hole 64 is designed to accept a conventional fastener, (not
shown), which is used to make up the hub assembly in the field. Outside
surface 66 of tube 58 is sized for a sliding fit into internal surface
55. During manufacture of the struts, through holes 64 can be used to
precisely size the length using reference pins, (not shown), while
adhesive 57 is curing.
 14. Optionally, tab section 63 would be extended out to section 68,
having a second through hole 69 for connections to couplers 24, 24A and
24B. Ideally, the length of tube 59 would also be extended in this case
to add strength to structural strut 22A. As shown in FIG. 5, both through
holes would be used to anchor the struts to the couplers.
 15. FIG. 4 shows an alterative hub connection system which allows
for flexion of blade struts relative to the fixed position of the hubs.
Elliptical adapter 70 carries two through holes 71A and 71B. Outside
surface 72 is also sized for a sliding fit into internal surface 55. Ring
adapter 73 is formed from light rod or heavy wire on a four axis spring
machine into two arms 74A and 74B that are congruent with through holes
71A and 71B. Arms 74A and 74B are bent at point 75 into a plane
perpendicular to the vertex of either hub 144 or hub 145, and rolled into
ring section 76, which functions as the connection point to form the
 16. A spool piece 67,(not to scale) is field assembled from a cap
77 and a plug 78. Cap 77 has internal threading 79 which matches locking
threads 80 on plug 78. Ring sections 76 from the struts at the field
assembled hub (144 or 145) are contained by flange sections 81 and 82
during assembly. Span wrenches, (not shown), can engage holes 85 and the
outside diameter of the flange sections for final tightening.
 17. As an additional locking component, a bolt or eye bolt 83 with
threading direction opposite that of locking threads 80 can be used to
engage threads 84 on cap 77 to prevent release during operation. Eye bolt
83 would be the preferred configuration where a cable stay (not shown) to
prevent turbine rotation would be needed and as a tether point for
securing the trailing edge of a fabric or film based sail, where sails
would be used in conjunction with the dome turbine.
 18. The preferred material for ring adapter 73 in cases involving
corrosion (e.g. FIG. 7) would be tempered Titanium. An acceptable
alternative in other applications would be spring steel. In both cases,
the axis of the blade strut could rotate relative to a fixed hub position
during turbine rotation as shown in FIG. 8. The preferred material for
rigid connector 58 would be stainless steel in corrosive applications.
Aluminum or a thermoplastic material for use with thermoplastic blade
struts would be acceptable alternatives.
 19. FIGS. 5 and 6 illustrate specialized components to realize the
vertical axis wind turbine and the wind heating system of the present
 20. Mast 25, shown as 25A in FIG. 5 is preferably produced as a
resin fiber composite in order to confer light weight and flexure
resistance on the turbine 21/tower 26 assembly. Coupler 24 represents
couplers 24A, and 24B in FIG. 1 and the turbine to mast couplings (not
numbered) in FIG. 7. The assembly shown in FIG. 5 is one approach to
connecting a rotating member to a composite shaft without direct use of
threaded holes in the composite. It is roughly based on the many types of
compression fittings currently in use in the plumbing industry.
 21. Flanges 90A and 90B are the compression members that form the
outside of the assembly. Flange 90A has through holes 96 for passage of
assembly bolts 95, (only one shown here), and flange 90B has tapped holes
97 for connection to bolts 95. Spool piece 92 has a through hole for mast
25A, (not shown), and conical ledges 98 at the top and bottom for receipt
of compression rings 91A and 91B. It also has a series of strut flats,
illustrated here as 93A and 93B to be used as attachment points for rigid
strut connectors as shown in FIG. 3. In the particular example
illustrated spool piece 92 has four strut flats, (the number could easily
be adapted to any desired dome geometry). Tapped holes 94 are provided at
each strut flat for receipt of strut assembly bolts, (not shown) passing
through holes 64 and 69 in the field assembly of turbine 21 to mast 25,
mast 25A, or mast 25B (FIG. 7). Flats 93A and 93B can be countersunk to
allow for better registration of struts and to relieve shearing stress on
these strut assembly bolts. Spool piece 92 is preferably made from metal,
aluminum for non-corrosive applications or corrosion resistant steel for
corrosive applications. Both flanges 90 and spool piece 92 can be easily
produced on multi-spindle machining centers.
 22. After assembly of coupler 24 using bolts 95, flanges 90A and
90B urge rings 91A and 91B into locking contact with mast 25A as the
rings are deflected by conical ledges 98. A choice of hard composites as
the material for rings 91 would result in a tight connection to the mast.
This might be desirable in upper coupler 24B, as this might not be often
 23. Softer thermoplastic as the material choice for rings 91 might
be desirable in order to have a more easily loosened coupler. Turbine 21
could then be lowered on mast 25 after removal of lower structural struts
22 attached to coupler 24A, thus allowing for repair and maintenance of
turbine 21 closer to the ground. In the reverse of this operation,
turbine 21 could be assembled around tower 26, using the tower as a sort
of scaffolding, then attached using coupler 24B to mast 25. The final
operation in assembly would be raising mast 25 from inside the tower,
(not shown), and assembling lower structural struts 22 to coupler 24A. In
this manner, a very large wind turbine might be assembled with a minimum
of heavy crane equipment.
 24. Earlier methods of composite assembly used direct insertion of
metal fasteners through the composite, resulting in ultimate failure
either due to wearing and subsequent cracking of the composite parts.
 25. FIG. 6 is an assembly drawing of thermal generator 30 from FIG.
1. It provides a dedicated assembly for generating fluid friction heat
that cuts the cost of conventional electrical systems. It also represents
a unique driven device for a wind turbine in the sense that the load is
automatically increased in proportion to the power available in
increasing winds. Hollow drive shaft 102 is secured to friction disc 101
and rotates (arrow 100) with it. While shown as a single disc in the
illustration, the system could also be realized with multiple discs
running off of the shaft.
 26. Disc 101 is contained between upper housing 104A and lower
housing 104B, with a specific gap, g, (not shown on the drawing) between
the housing inside surfaces 107 and the face surfaces 108 of disc 101.
Disc projections or roughness 118 are applied to surfaces 108 and housing
projections or roughness 117 are applied to surfaces 107 in order to
allow for effective momentum/heat transfer to working fluid 116 which is
filled into gap g, through the center of shaft 102 during equipment
setup. During manufacture, upper housing 104A is preferably assembled to
lower housing 104B through welding raised flanges 106 of both housings
together. Shaft 102 is held in fixed position relative to this housing
assembly using bearing seal pack 115 mounted in upper housing 104A.
 27. During setup of the generator 30A, fluid 116 fills the lower
gap between housing 104B, moves up through periodic holes 109 in disc
101, then displaces the air between disc 101 and upper housing 104A
emerging from a coupling fitting 119 in housing 104A. Fluid 116 can then
be sealed with either a plug (not shown) or a fluid expansion fitting,
(not shown) threaded into fitting 119. Outer surface 111 of the upper
housing and outer surface 110 of the lower housing carry annular extended
surface fins 112 which serve to facilitate heat transfer to air flow
(from storage) 31B.
 28. The entire assembly is enclosed between a pair of insulated
sheet metal housings 105A and 105B (not shown in drawing) which serve to
direct and contain air flow across outer surfaces 110, 111 and fins 112.
In this case, a blower 113 feeds air through a first stove pipe
connection 114A across surface 111. Air emerges from connection 114B as
flow 31C and is fed through a similar set of connections in lower housing
105B (not shown), then to emerge as flow 31A returning warmed air to
 29. Fluid friction wall stress for turbulent flow within a closed
conduit or chamber is generally proportional to velocity squared, with
fluid friction power consumption being proportional to velocity cubed. As
wind power available varies according to wind velocity cubed, vertical
turbine 21's output would track the power consumed by coupled thermal
generator 30, resulting in a largely self-controlling system without the
use of mechanical braking or feathering.
 30. Additional design sophistication might be introduced through
allowing starting velocity for turbine 21 to occur at a laminar flow
situation within generator 30, with transition to a turbulent flow regime
occurring at the mid-range of wind speed. This would allow for capture of
more prevalent low wind speeds, while also protecting from over-speed by
power consumption in a turbulent fluid friction regime.
 31. Direct drive a a lower cost thermal generator removes the high
costs associated with electrical generators mounted at the top of
conventrional horizontal axis machines, the associated cost of heavier
tower support and electrical power conditioning. It serves the needs of a
large variety of potential customers by providing heat at a low cost to
an established HVAC system serving a building.
Energy Capture and Distribution System
 32. FIGS. 7, 9, 11 and 12 illustrate an alternate embodiment of the
invention in the form of a ship based system for capturing abundant
off-shore wind energy 120 and an energy capture and distribution system
186. A wind energy resource 134 works through system 186 to supply public
needs through an electrical distribution grid 194 and a natural gas
pipeline 193. The completed systems offer the opportunity to reduce CO2
emissions through the displacement of coal and gasoline with natural gas
and Hydrogen and to capture abundant off-shore wind energy in an
economical fashion for the general public good.
 33. FIG. 7 is a perspective drawing of a ship 127 carrying three
wind turbines similar to turbine 21 in FIG. 1. Main turbine 121 is
mounted mid-ship with smaller turbines 122 and 123 mounted forward and
aft. Turbines 122 and 123 are illustrated as simple spheres for drawing
simplicity, and are dome--turbines like 21 and 121 in practice. Turbine
121 rotates clockwise from above, (arrow 100) while turbines 122 and 123
rotate counter-clockwise (arrow 103) to give gyroscopic stabilization to
the ship, and to more effectively utilize wind moving between the three
turbines, (not numbered).
 34. All three turbines are mounted on tubular towers 124, 125 and
126 which in turn are secured to the main deck 176. An unloading
equipment enclosure 132, containing Hydrogen unloading equipment (not
shown) is also mounted on the main deck. Below the waterline 131, the
hull of the ship is modified to include a nacelle 130, which in turn
protects a Hydrogen storage tank 153, (FIG. 10). The ship's bow 129 and
stern 161 extend beyond nacelle 130 to further protect storage tank 153
from collision damage.
 35. FIG. 10 is a mechanical detail cross section of ship 127. Below
the main deck, tower 124 connects with a primary gearing and generator
set 150. Similarly, forward turbine 122 connects with a secondary
generator set 151A and aft turbine 123 connects to a secondary generator
set 151B. Most equipment is mounted on an equipment deck 159 and a lower
deck 160 supports auxiliary tanks 154A, 154B, (other auxiliary tanks not
shown) and ship drive gearing 156. A series of bulkheads 152, separate
compartments with different electrical and chemical functions such as
primary generator 150 and electrolysis bay 162. Electrolysis cells 157
for electrically splitting water into Hydrogen and Oxygen are mounted in
bay 162 and in a forward bay (not numbered). An example of a commercially
available cell 157 is the Hogen RE from Proton Energy Systems,
distributed by Praxair.
 36. Alternatively, a forward bay 165 could be used with
conventional storage batteries 166, to store power provided by generator
sets 150, 151A or 151B. This could either be used to provide utilities
for the crew or to provide electric propulsion (not shown) for the ship.
While not a direct objective of the invention, wind electric propulsion
of ships would build on the proven energy savings demonstrated by
Bergeson in the earlier discussed Flettner rotor work of the 1980's;
particularly considering the small relative area of the Flettner rotors
used compared to the size of wind turbines 121, 122, and 123.
 37. An optional wind deflector 158 is shown mounted to deck 176. In
practice it would serve to increase wind speed to the turbines by
deflecting wind flow upward. It would be constructed from two halves,
hinged to the deck and forming an A frame in use. The wind deflector
would be actuated by hydraulics (not shown) to serve as a wind deflector
at sea and flattened as a loading ramp or platform in ddck. The flattened
wind deflector might also serve as a heliport platform or personnel
platform for transfers on and off the ship at sea.
 38. Drive turbine 155 is mounted on equipment deck 159 and serves a
dual function on the ship. Firstly, it is used to propel the ship
off-shore and back to port. Secondly, through the drive gearing 156, is
can be used to power gas compression equipment (not shown) to take
Hydrogen product 170 from electrolysis cells 157 and pressurize it to
6,000 to 10,000 psi for storage in tank 153. Drive turbine 155 is
configured as a dual fuel unit that could either run from Hydrogen 170 or
liquefied natural gas that could be stored in one of the auxiliary tanks
154A, or 154B. If desirable from a economic standpoint, Oxygen 159 might
optionally be stored in an auxiliary tank after compression at the outlet
of electrolysis cells 157. An example of a commercially available
electrolysis cell 157 is the `Hogen RE` from Proton Energy Systems.
 39. FIG. 11 is a cross section showing details of the power
distribution and storage system. Mast 25B is supported by bearing 181 and
is attached to gear box 171 by means of a flange adapter, (not numbered).
Gearbox 171 increases rotational speed and transmits power to primary
generator 172. Electrical power from generator 172 is transmitted via
wiring/conduit 180 to power conditioning equipment 179 and from there to
electrolysis bay 162 and various other shipboard requirements. The use of
a modern, synchronus, variable speed generator such as the NW 100/19 from
Northern Power Systems would eliminate the need for gearbox 171.
 40. Hydrogen gas 170 is supplied by electrolysis cells 157 and
stored at high pressure in tank 153, preferably a heavy walled alloy
vessel resistant to hydrogen attack. Tank 153 is protected from impact
damage by nacelle 130 which is an extension of hull 184. Compression
plate 173 and gussets 182 further protect tank 153 from damage.
Optionally, area 174, between gussets 182, nacelle 130 and tank 153 could
be used for purified water feed storage (not numbered) to supply
electrolysis cells 157. This usage would also balance the weight of lower
ship as Hydrogen was being produced.
 41. One of the key problems in realizing a Hydrogen energy economy
has been the weight of energy storage for automobiles. In this
application the weight of the Hydrogen storage equipment applied at keel
175 of ship 127 serves to stabilize the vessel in the heavy weather it is
designed to utilize in the generation of wind power. The gyroscopic
effect of the wind turbines would also work to stabilize the ship if
turbines 122 and 123 were designed to be counter rotating to turbine 121.
 42. Like the wind heating system, mast 25B is designed to have the
capability of lowering for repairs to turbine 121. In this case a passage
25C is provided for the mast through gear box 171 and generator 172 for
the mast to be lowered into receiver 183 and to stop at lower deck 160.
In order to provide for repair and upgrades to the generator and gear
train in port, main deck 176 is perforated in the area of tower 124 which
is mounted to an access plate 177. Plate 177 is secured to a support
plate 178 with a series of bolts, (not shown) and may be removed by a
crane in port to allow for repair and replacement of generator 172 and/or
gear box 171.
 43. A complete energy capture and distribution system 186 is
displayed schematically in FIG. 12. Wind turbine 121 captures an
off-shore wind energy resource 134 and converts it to electrical power
through generator systems 150 and 151, (A&B). On-board electrolysis cells
157 produce Hydrogen 170 and Oxygen 159 which are stored on board and
transported by ship 127 to port. Hydrogen 170, (and optionally Oxygen
159) are unloaded at an existing shore based power plant 190 and burned
in a conventional gas turbine, in combination with natural gas 196. The
power plant supplies high voltage electricity 197 to an existing power
grid 194 for public use.
 44. Areas with abundant off-shore wind energy resources having
significant populations and industrial base, such as the Atlantic
seaboard, lakes Erie and Ontario, the Gulf Coast and the West Coast could
be provided with significant electrical power. This would be achieved
without large amounts of objectionable, inefficient (because of low shore
based wind speeds), wind turbines located near the populated areas and
also without the very high cost and potential large storm instability of
 45. Alternatively, Hydrogen 170 can be provided to a natural gas
synthesis plant 191, operating according to the process of Schroeder
(U.S. Pat. No. 3,152,063) or more recent researchers to hydrogenate a
coal resource 192 to produce methane 195 (CH4, or natural gas) and other
light hydrocarbons. From plant 191, the methane is fed to a pipeline 193
for public use. From this perspective, the national energy grid would be
stabilized through providing for sources of natural gas at points that
would normally be users.
Operation and Implementation
 46. FIGS. 8, 10, 11 and 12 delineate the operational details of the
vertical axis wind turbine and the energy capture and distribution
 47. Early experiments with a `sail cloth` version of the dome
turbine configuration shown here as turbine 21 and turbine 121 yielded
the information shown in FIG. 8. Wind resource 134 coming from any
direction is seen to deflect sails 135 (approaching the wind source)
toward the center of the dome. Conversely, sails 137 moving away from the
source are deflected outward from mast 25. This leads to the conclusion
that there is an internal flow 139 moving across the direction of wind
resource 134 from what might be construed as a higher pressure/lower
velocity flow at sail 135 to a lower pressure/higher velocity flow at
 48. In the early sail cloth version, each sail was composed of
polyethylene film wrapped around a strut at it's leading edge 65A, and
tethered with string to a hook at a hub opposite to that leading edge.
(not shown). Struts were composed of 1/4'' dowel material, and the sail
cloth version easily held up to test winds in excess of 45 mph.
 49. Because the turbine is rotating about mast 25, (arrow 100),
internal flow 139 might be taken to imply somewhat of a Magnus effect was
at work. A later experiment with round tubular struts showed that this
vertical axis wind turbine design was self-starting and would rotate with
a wind resource 134 having neither blade shaped struts nor sail cloth
attached to struts. This appeared to be further confirmation of the
Magnus effect at work in the design, and offer the promise of improved
performance with the blade struts 23, 23A, and 23B shown in the earlier
figures. The self-starting characteristics of the invention overcome the
earlier limitations of Darrieus vertical axis turbines without the
complex mechanical linkages present in the subsequent designs of
cylindrical arrays of straight bladed machines, (e.g. Drees, Seki).
 50. In the intermediate positions during turbine rotation, sails
136 and 138 in the early experiment had intermediate deflections toward
and away from the mast. Designing blade flexure into the blade section 52
(FIG. 2) and/or the ring adapter 73 (FIG. 4) seems to be an effective way
to capitalize of the deflections and lift forces available at work in the
 51. Based on the preceding information, it is not desired to limit
the invention to a particular blade geometry as the invention has been
utilized with both sail cloth blades and with a dome structure composed
of simple round tubular struts. The blade geometry illustrated in FIG. 2
may represent, however, a preferred configuration in terms of turbine
aesthetics, ease of assembly, cost/efficiency and environmental concerns.
It is also likely that the observed performance of a sail cloth version
of the invention utilized the `jib effect` where pressure is reduced on a
following sail by a leading sail (Billings), thereby improving
performance of the following sail.
 52. A `sail cloth` configuration comprising plastic film based
sails wrapped around struts 122 and tethered at the trailing edges to
eyebolts 183 secured to nearby hubs, (not shown) would be an economical
and highly compactable system for providing power to explorations on
Mars, (using the thin Martian atmosphere to fill the sails), or the Moon,
(using the solar wind of particles and radiant flux from the sun as the
`wind energy resource`).
 53. Based on known characteristics of Dutch Four Arm windmills and
curved blade Darrieus wind turbines, the new turbine might be expected to
have an optimum tip speed ratio of four times incident wind velocity and
an overall efficiency of about 35%.
 54. Using typical values for wind energy resources off the US East
Coast, a main turbine diameter 200 ft and a `harvesting time` of two
weeks off-shore; ship 127 could collect about 400,000 kWh of electricity
and produce just under 2,000,000 std cubic feet (SCF) of Hydrogen. At a
pressure of about 9000 psig, tank 153 would have an estimated diameter of
5 feet and a length of 180 feet. One to three ships could supply the
average, (about 500 MW), shore based power plant 190 for two to four
hours. Depending on desired mix of Hydrogen 170 to natural gas 196 burned
in the power plant turbine, between 100 and 500 ships could sustainably
support power plant 190.
 55. From an environmental perspective, natural gas 195 emits 14.4
units of carbon per unit of energy, while gasoline (not shown) emits 19.2
units of carbon and coal 192 emits 25.7 units of carbon. Displacing
natural gas usage with wind heating system 46 would eliminate carbon
(CO2) emissions in the buildings served and free up use of natural gas to
displace coal and it's emissions in electrical generation and gasoline
and it's emissions in the transportation sector. Within the
transportation sector, using methane to power hybrid automobiles would be
a rather easy fix to improve the already low emissions of this developed
 56. Replacement of methane and coal in the power generation sector
with Hydrogen through energy conversion and distribution system 186,
would remove present CO2 emissions as it was employed. Wind heating of
green houses would also save significant amounts of natural gas.
 57. From an implementation perspective, these approaches to
resolving parts of the energy crisis can draw on established components
and infrastructure: 1) Existing turbine based electrical power plants. 2)
Existing electrolysis equipment 3) Existing electrical generators 4)
Existing pultrusion equipment for the production of blade struts 23 and
structural struts 22, 5) A variety of coal 192 to methane 195
technologies developed over the years, and 6) Existing hybrid automobile
technology. Energy system 186 could therefore be implemented in a
relatively short period of time.
 58. In World War II, with a scant technology and economic base to
build on, more than 5500 merchant marine ships were built in five years
.(Tassava). It is not unreasonable to assume that the inventions
described herein could be implemented in a shorter period of time than an
entire Hydrogen ecomony, including a hydrogen filling station
infrastructure. The present inventions not only represent a practical
first step toward energy independence, but a practical use, with reduced
environmental consequences, of the coal resources available in the US:
Methane emits 44% less CO2 than coal and 25% less CO2 than gasoline for
the same amount of energy produced
 59. Using Hydrogen as an energy transport and storage media in
conjunction with an existing utility infrastructure allows for an easier
social transition to an environmentally friendly system without
establishment of Hydrogen filling stations for automobiles and saves the
expected 15 to 30 year delay in implementing fuel cell based automobiles.
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