generating power from cave wind using wind turbines

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generating power from cave wind using wind turbines

Postby evanrobinson1985 » Mar 11, 2015 2:16 pm

Does anyone think it's possible to generate power from cave wind using wind turbines..? What type of damage do you think it would cause to the cave of it was permanent.? And does anyone think it's an ingenious idea. .?
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Re: generating power from cave wind using wind turbines

Postby rlboyce » Mar 11, 2015 7:47 pm

Possible? Absolutely. Appreciable power? Probably not for the majority of caves that have airflow. Have something specific in mind?

Damage? Potentially, but more so to the cave life. Probably a time factor in there somewhere for certain caves, which in many cases might not be easily recognized (humans tend to have short attention spans). Microclimate changes, and how this may impact the cave life within, would be the foremost concern. Unnatural frost shattering could occur in certain conditions. Calcium deposition rates and patterns could be affected.

Don't forget that wind turbines and bats don't mix very well. As a matter of fact, I'm surprised to see there are no hate-posts in this thread yet, LOL.

I think the idea has merit, provided the concerns noted above are properly addressed (that would be pretty challenging to accomplish and prove). It would be interesting to see what kind of generative capabilities such a system would possess, and what applications this remote energy source would be likely to power.
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Re: generating power from cave wind using wind turbines

Postby GroundquestMSA » Mar 11, 2015 8:13 pm

rlboyce wrote:Don't forget that wind turbines and bats don't mix very well. As a matter of fact, I'm surprised to see there are no hate-posts in this thread yet


I expected that too.
I can't imagine why this idea has merit, (no offense) even if all of rlboyce's significant challenges were met. Is there really such a shortage of wind out there that we need to start harnessing the relatively small amount that blows through some caves?
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Re: generating power from cave wind using wind turbines

Postby caver.adam » Mar 11, 2015 9:32 pm

You could use wind power for small sensor packages that remain in a cave long term. That's the one I think of. Also have considered peltier generators for the same thing.
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Re: generating power from cave wind using wind turbines

Postby jeffkruse » Mar 12, 2015 2:33 pm

Small wind is 90% of the time a scam. You need a lot of wind at at least 20MPH to make any appreciable amount of power.
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Re: generating power from cave wind using wind turbines

Postby driggs » Mar 12, 2015 4:00 pm

As others have pointed out, this idea probably falls somewhere between "waste of time" and "catastrophe" for the vast majority of situations.

Utilizing the enormous air pressure that issues out of Lechuguilla Cave's airlock, however, could safely produce enough electricity to power some on-site monitoring equipment. There are no bats, an already-modified entrance, a remote location, and mega-wind strong enough to nearly knock a person over. Bruce Zerr measured max wind speeds of +49 and -43 MPH (your turbine will have to handle both in and out airflow).

For expedition use, wind turbines would have too many restrictions on where they could be located, and will still probably generate only small amounts of power. Portable hydroelectric could have enormous use for expeditions (charging batteries, for example). It sounds like several projects have attempted it with varying levels of success, but in theory you'd need just a reliable source of falling water. In practice, there's a lot of torque involved in generating significant power, and big magnets and windings weigh a lot.
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