Imagine the vast bulk of moving air
that surrounds our planet, and the immense store of energy
that it represents. Wind moves due to the air being
heated by the Sun, so realistically, wind power is
second-hand solar power but in a form that can be used both
day and night.
The standard windmill
design has issues that are sometimes difficult to address,
so I have come up with an entirely new way of getting that
power into your hands. Most windmills must aim into
the wind to operate. What if you could have a windmill
that is insensitive to wind direction?
VAWT or Vertical Axis Wind Turbine
designs have been around for many years, but they show
terrible efficiencies due to a simple problem- when a face
is pushed by the wind, another face is coming around
directly into the wind, thus creating a great deal of
resistance. This reduces efficiency terribly and
leaves most VAWT designs impractical.
In 1989 while writing a novel, I had
an epiphany about moving air and drag. I envisioned a
panel covered with louvers that would allow the air to flow
freely in one direction while airflow in the opposite
direction would snap the louvers shut, creating an airtight
surface to push against.
This panel of louvers "rectifies" the
flow of air in the same way that a check valve or electronic
diode does. Thus I arrived at the name "air diode".
My first physical model was made in cardboard to verify the
principle. My first working model was made of steel
fence grid and fabric from horse feed bags.
YouTube video shows an early operating model here.
Today's version has aluminum
slats as pictured in the rendering. Real-world tests
show that while fabric does work, at high wind speeds it
tends to flutter, creating drag and lowering