Home grown wind power

StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-112007029213176.jpg’, ‘Photo by Sonia Vogl’, ‘On June 16 Bob and Sonia Vogl installed a Bergey wind generator tower on their farm in Ogle County with the help of friends and experts. Bob Vogl, Frank Schier and Bob Maas connect the blades to the rotor. ‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-112007035513176.jpg’, ‘Photo by Sonia Vogl’, ‘The new control box and ammeter for the wind generator. ‘);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-112007043113176.jpg’, ‘Photo by Sonia Vogl’, ‘After assembling the pieces to the tower, Bob Vogl, M.J. Shoemaker, Frank Schier and Bob Maas steady the base, as a tractor pulls the tower to a vertical position, and attach the steel support cables.’);
StoryImage( ‘/Images/Story//Auto-img-112007049013176.jpg’, ‘Photo by Sonia Vogl’, ‘ On June 23 (right), after final connections, the Vogls’ new wind generator is working.’);

Last night at dusk, our newly installed one-kilowatt Bergey wind generator sat waiting for a 7 mph wind to turn the rotor to generate electricity. A morning breeze produced five amps of power. As wind speeds pick up, more power is produced.

Installing the system was like an old- fashioned barn raising as 10 people,

including Frank Schier, were involved in the process. Dave Merrill of Byron, who installs both wind and solar electric systems, directed the project.

The system is known as the BWCXL.1-24. The 1 kilowatt 24-volt current system is designed to charge batteries and supply electric loads as D.C. power that must be converted to A.C. to match the power provided by Commonwealth Edison.

The electrical generating turbine weighs 75 pounds and has three fiberglass blades that sweep an 8.2-foot diameter. It is mounted on a 64 foot collapsable tower. Steel cables attached to the tower at 20-foot intervals connected to ground mounts hold the tower in place.

The turbine is free to pivot around the top of the tower so the rotor will always face into the wind. A tail boom and fin keep the unit facing the wind up to speeds of 28 mph. Above that speed, the rotor turns away from the wind to prevent it from turning too fast and being damaged. Most of the production occurs at wind speeds between 12 and 20 miles per hour.

The electricity generated by the rotor is carried down the hollow center of the tube and underground to a controller. The controller limits the amount of voltage sent to the battery pack to prevent overcharging and damaging it. The D.C. electricity is sent to the inverter, which converts it to A.C. to match the power supplied by the grid. Excess electricity is sent back to ComEd, which buys it for roughly the same price as they charge us. With our 3.2-kW solar system and our 1-kW wind system, we should be close to meeting most of our electrical needs with renewable energy.

With the new system, we will be able to provide both solar electric and small wind system workshops for citizens interested in sustainable, renewable energy. It is the new global energy paradigm.

From the june 29-July 5, 2005, issue

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