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Back to the Future of Wind Energy Technology with Paul Gipe technology and you

I have noticed for a while that the same few “unusual” wind turbine designs seem to crop up over and over again as a “new” wind technology. This video is a critical look at these new wind products with guest Paul Gipe who has been monitoring the wind industry for over 40 years.

I haven’t referred to many by name here, but the advice in this video applies to all the ones I get frequently asked about: PowerPod, IceWind, Alpha311, Archimedes Screw, Lantern-type and any ducted, shrouded or vertical axis wind turbines.

00:00 Intro
02:20 Paul Gipe’s tips to identify a “fantasy wind turbine”
03:29 #1 High hype – experience low
03:45 #2 Aggressive marketing
03:55 #3 Celebrity endorsements
04:01 #4 “not like those other wind turbines”
04:20 #5 New patents
04:39 #6 Drag devices: squirrels in a cage
05:18 #7 Ducted turbines
05:43 #8 No hardware, but a fancy website
06:01 #9 Works in low wind
06:19 #10 Silent
06:44 #11 Does not kill birds
07:19 Small wind turbines have small everything
08:43 History repeats
09:41 A cautionary tale
10:19 Wind turbines in the Eiffel Tower
11:39 Rosie is a party pooper
12:17 Betteridge’s law of headlines

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Check out Paul Gipe’s website:
And Wind Energy for the Rest of Us:
This is the other book I show: Wind Machines by Eldridge 2nd Edition

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It’s out of print, I tracked down a copy on Ebay.
The full paper on bird mortaility is available to download here:

You can find independently certified small wind turbines here:

(download the Excel file)

If you would like to help develop the Engineering with Rosie channel, you could consider joining the Patreon community, where there is a chat community about topics covered in the videos and suggestions for future videos and production quality improvements.

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Back to the Future of Wind Energy Technology with Paul Gipe

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Back to the Future of Wind Energy Technology with Paul Gipe
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36 thoughts on “Back to the Future of Wind Energy Technology with Paul Gipe technology and you”

  1. After all professional Investor means you're a freeloader riding off real innovative and hard-workign people. Its no wonder there is a new breed of freeloader to suck on these professional freeloaders too.

  2. i like hydropower. imagine, 4 dams, (or more), down a mountainside in sequence , spaced apart, with reservoirs using 1 river, and multiple hydro electric plants off of 1 water source might be viable if a pipeline of these "banks" of energy using only 1 water source and gravity may be an option. in addition to wind and solar. but the question still is. how are all the products made without the initial environmental impacts of manufacture?

  3. Wind energy (when it's windy enough to turn the blades or too stormy to use the turbines). Imagine the scenario with a large area of high pressure bringing cold, foggy weather in winter – no wind power, very little solar – NO ELECTRIC.
    Let's go "green" and have expensive
    UNRELIABLE energy.

  4. I have a concept. A omnidirectional solar sail+wind turbine. The way I see it, sails can push tonage of a ship across oceans. So 3 sails that can also absorb and convert solar energy. And the turbine which at the base can turn in either direction to produce electricity. And the solar energy absorbing sails can also convert solar energy. Does this have any sound application or is it a pipe dream.

  5. Siting and tweaking have often proved that vertical axis turbines do a good job for particular situations. Obviously the conventional very large turbines will continue to be used for bulk generation because they are scaled for maximum generation and use the physics of lift as Dr Gipe says.
    However, size and noise bring problems too and I hope that blades and gearboxes will be greatly refined.
    Without bulk storage for days of little wind I feel that cart before horse was allowed to occur.
    In sneering so blatantly about failed — and often hyped — smaller scale wind devices I regret that you have failed to grasp diversity of requirements in context. Gipe seems to relish negatives more than you do along the lines of "my way or no way" — note his WindWorks promotions of 2012 ff.
    One was about a "Jeffersonian revolution" in wind energy across the USA and I do not recall his company or similar ones thinking ahead to 'downtime storage' back then. That seemed to creep up on us in the last 5 years or so except among some who saw that intermittent generation was but half of the job.

  6. Can you do an video about Solar updraft towers? I doubt they are "the future of windo energy" but I´ve loved them since driving by the one in Manzanares 30ish years ago. I understand they are less efficient than pv farms, but I´ve always wondered if treating the bottom part as greenhouses would change the economics of it. having the turbines near the ground is a good thing.

  7. it might have been nice to discuss WHY (some) designs were fatally flawed; regardless of the 'hype' level. for example: in a ducted wind turbine design, there is NO reason for wind to go into a duct; when it can GO AROUND, instead.

  8. I see lots of videos like this pop up on social media (many involving the dreaded flower design of solar panel, too). And lots of products on Amazon making claims they cant back up, I really think retailers need to be challenged by the authorities to save people's money. Great video! Highlights what I've been seeing.

  9. Hi Rosie. I would like to ask if when doing calculations for a small wind turbine directly coupled to a generator, do you assume that the rotor rotational speed is equal to the electric generator rotational speed and then compute TSR or do you assume the TSR ratio and compute the rotor rotational speed.

  10. Okay, so we know the best styles of wind turbine. What about generator designs. What work is being done in this field? Easy enough to put solar panels on our roofs (if we have one), but home turbines just don't cut it. Mostly because the generator produces very little for the costs.

  11. Great overview. Thanks. Okay not as efficient as a hawt, aren’t vawt easier to install and withstand higher winds? I’m in Nova Scotia, Canada and frequently get the tail end of hurricanes, 200km winds. If i had a hawt wouldn’t it just get torn down?

  12. Hi Rosie! Thanks for putting all this in one video – I have been confronted with endless snowflake-fake-environmentalists pushing vertical axis turbines, and now I can direct them to your Youtube video! I even got marked down from an "A" to a "B" in the presentations class during the one semester I was unfortunately enrolled in RMIT University's Sustainable Energy Engineering Master's degree program, after the presentation the faculty chose as "Best in class" was for vertical axis turbines! I could only wish for a timee machine for a quick trip back to November of 2011 with an mp4 of your video to shove in their faces. Keep up the good work – I'm subscribing to you.

  13. I think it can be safely said that any vertical axis winter turbine is a waste of money. I’m not talking about making your own for fun /lawn art or educational purposes. Just anything commercial.

    Great job getting Paul Gipe to make a video within your video! I have two old books of his that I used for reference when installing/selling winter turbines in the 80s and 90s.

    If we are to make a dent in the climate change problem we need thousands of 5 MW plus winter turbines along our coasts worldwide ASAP. Horizontal axis win turbines are Proven technology.

    I think those of us that understand the threat of climate change to human existence should support President Biden and his efforts to install massive amounts of wind energy as soon as possible. He’s touting it as a jobs project, which it is but more importantly it would allow us to use much less fossil fuel to generate electricity.

    Thank you Rosie, I appreciate you 🙂

  14. I run a small wind turbine (450 watts) and other than the wires separating it has been with me since 2008. When I was lowering it for the wire repair I broke the blade(my bad).
    No it doesn't do as much as I would like because of location, city rules, but it does keep a battery topped off.
    Thanks for the good information, and keep up the good work

  15. Well, the difference between cost effective and efficiency. Actual results of a particular design. Maybe talking about hype vs (as an engineer) build and test wind turbine designs and showing the results. Or not and just talk about stuff. Thanks for the vid.

  16. I would like to see more videos on the home turbines , which ones to buy , and even what materials to use to build your own turbines , I own several 3d printers It would be fun to make new designs and be able to test them. I was thinking about the attic turbines that are on houses to remove heat build up if they were a little bigger and had a motor that would be killing two birds with one stone, add this to a solar panel kit and a horizontal turbine you would be creating energy 24/7 and have it tied to the grid so when youre not using energy you could roll back your own usage and save more money.

  17. I have been searching for information on the flapping wing turbine and have not found any informative work. There are a few videos illustrating this type of turbine actually working mostly put out by news channels . I am interested in building a small working model flapping wing turbine and though there are more than a sufficient number of scholarly posts , mathematical analysis, comparative studies etc etc there is no information related to the practical design of the mechanism that enables such a turbine to be built.There seems to be just one manufacturer of the type of turbine being referred to and that is the Tyer firm. No patent seems to have been either awarded or even applied for. I would appreciate design information related to the mechanical details of this new type turbine.

  18. Robert Murray Smith made a low wind speed turbine that functions comparably to a commercial 1kw turbine in typical conditions (built, tested) using a low torque high speed design, built out of a washing machine drum. it's over on his channel. So, whereas I'm sure Mr. Gipe is generally correct in his cautions, it's not impossible.

  19. Ok so what if you combine dyson parts to create a turbine? Basically using the wind to create a negative pressure system for a self sustaining turbine. I’ve seen many designs just non on a smaller scale. My thinking was to combine the parts of the dyson cyclone vacuum, with the bladless technology . From the fans to Frankenstein a generator together. I’m not all sure what has been done in the past to combine jet engine technologies to current turbines design?

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