1985 - Volume #9, Issue #4, Page #21[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Windmill Powers Ohio Farmstead
The gigantic windmill has a 40-ft. dia. wind wheel - which could eventually be more than doubled in size - and stands over 115 ft. tall. Mounted on a concrete building, the big wheel is built on hinges so it can be lowered to the ground for service. Key to the design are Gerhardt's hand-built air foils that pivot to capture the wind. The farmer-contractor says his unique windmill design could be used on any size windmill from 10 ft. in dia. up to 120 ft.
"Any windmill works good where winds are strong but this windmill starts working even in winds as low as 7 mph, and collects 8 times more energy than any other design available," claims Gerhardt, who's still working on and adapting his windmill for more efficient use while he looks for a manufacturer to take over production. He has already secured more than 22 different patent claims on the new energy generator.
Each air foil on the windmill is 2 ft. wide with a 6-ft. circumference. There's 7 rows of airfoils and all change their angle of "attack" automatically as wind conditions change.
"The airfoils maintain their optimum angle until 20 mph when the cam and spring tension lets the angle decrease. At 35 mph, the angle will have decreased by 20º, when the cam goes over center and the air foils go to full feather position to take the pressure off the windmill and prevent damage, even in winds up to 100 mph," explains Gerhardt.
The windmill powers a 110-volt AC generator and a 12-volt 100 amp converted Chrysler alternator. The alternator is piped directly to a battery storage system in the shop below the windmill. Energy from the generator is consumed directly in the house to power an electric hot water heater and other appliances. Gerhardt notes that extra electricity from such a system can be sold to utilities, which are required by law to buy it.
"A 10-ft. dia. windmill of this design would be enough to power all the electrical needs of an average household. Extra rows of foils can be added as needed to fill other power requirements on the farm," says Gerhardt.
The big wheel begins spinning at 5 mph and starts to generate useable electricity at 7 mph. "I don't know of any other wind generator that can develop such power at low speeds. It's the key to widespread use of wind power in the future," says Gerhardt.
Gerhardt has spent several hundred thousand dollars in materials and labor developing his windmill. Each airfoil is hand-built and many of the components were fashioned in his farm shop.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Kyle Gerhardt, 4111 Yellow Springs Road, Springfield, Ohio 45506 (ph 513 325-3537).
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