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Archive for Monday, March 9, 2009

Wind turbine spinning atop Lawrence fuel station

The vertical wind turbine on the roof of the Zarco 66 Earth Friendly Fuels Station at Ninth and Iowa is part of the station's ongoing green initiatives.

The vertical wind turbine on the roof of the Zarco 66 Earth Friendly Fuels Station at Ninth and Iowa is part of the station's ongoing green initiatives.

March 9, 2009

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The goofy-looking white thing spinning on the roof of the Zarco 66 Earth Friendly Fuels station at Ninth and Iowa isn’t just a fancy-looking top.

It’s a vertical wind turbine, said station owner Scott Zaremba. And it’s part of that station’s ongoing efforts to incorporate more green initiatives. “We want to take some of these concepts and move them out into the community,” he said.

The turbine costs about $10,000, before electrical and engineering work are taken into account, Zaremba said. The turbine is anticipated to power about 5 percent of the total needs of the location.

It hadn’t been hooked up to the electrical grid as of late last week, though it was spinning on top of the roof with enough wind, Zaremba said.

The station is working with the Environmental Protection Agency to introduce a number of environmentally friendly initiatives, including green roofs, cleaner fuels and now an individual wind turbine for residential or business use.

The EPA has encouraged Zaremba to use the site as a space for a variety of projects. However, that doesn’t always mean the EPA will foot the bill — Zaremba funded the wind turbine himself.

It’s a project that has been in the works for years, he said.

The station lets community members know what’s possible in case they have similar ideas for their residence or business.

“That’s just another aspect of the green energy gateway” at the station, he said.

— Visit higher education reporter Andy Hyland's Heard on the Hill blog.

Comments

spankyandcranky 5 years, 9 months ago

Does anyone know if the earth friedly fuel they offer can be used in any vehicle that would normally take unleaded? Or do you need to make some modifacations first?

John Hamm 5 years, 9 months ago

No, the E85 is for specially equipped vehicles. Seems to me they're usually identified as "Flex-Fueled." Their 'standard' unleaded will run in all vehicles though.

devobrun 5 years, 9 months ago

The electrical work will probably include a DC to AC inverter wired into the place. It will also include some kind of load monitor and turbine monitor to switch in the turbine when the wind is enough.

Unless he gets a meter that can run backwards, he only reduces his power use. He can't provide any power to the grid.

My guess is that when you factor all the energy that goes into making the turbine, electronics, structural improvements to the building, and maintenance, he will spew more CO2 into the air than saved by replacing coal-fired electricity.

My guess also is that Mr. Zaremba has no idea what the carbon footprint of the system is. How 'bout a CO2 budget? How 'bout an energy budget? Don't give us $. Those are admittedly fudged already. Subsidies and offsets and credits because it is "alternative".

How much do I have to turn my heat down in order to offset Mr. Zaremba's folly?

gphawk89 5 years, 9 months ago

"My guess is that when you factor all the energy that goes into making the turbine, electronics, structural improvements to the building, and maintenance, he will spew more CO2 into the air than saved by replacing coal-fired electricity."

My thoughts exactly. Bozo posted a link a while back to an article that basically stated that large wind turbines (the BIG ones you see on wind farms) will pay for themselves (energy wise, not cost wise) in only two months. Given the presumably lower efficiencies of a much smaller turbine, I'd expect Scott's to take quite a bit longer than that.

So the turbine itself costs $10K. Add another $5K for the engineering and electrical work (just a guess). And let's say Scott's electric bill is $1K/month (a wild, uneducated guess). So at a 5% savings rate he'd save $50/month on his bill. So he'd have to run the turbine 300 months (25 years) to recover his costs. I have a feeling that the poor little turbine will wear out and die long before it pays for itself.

gphawk89 5 years, 9 months ago

"devobrun, my guess is you have no idea what you are talking about."

Actually I think he does...

FreeEnergy 5 years, 9 months ago

There could be no better investment in America than to invest in America becoming energy independent! We need to utilize everything in out power to reduce our dependence on foreign oil including using our own natural resources. Create cheap clean energy, new badly needed green jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.The high cost of fuel this past year seriously damaged our economy and society. The cost of fuel effects every facet of consumer goods from production to shipping costs. After a brief reprieve gas is inching back up.OPEC will continue to cut production until they achieve their desired 80-100. per barrel.It would cost the equivalent of 60 cents per gallon to charge and drive an electric car. If all gasoline cars, trucks, and SUV's instead had plug-in electric drive trains the amount of electricity needed to replace gasoline is about equal to the estimated wind energy potential of the state of North Dakota.We have so much available to us such as wind and solar. Let's spend some of those bail out billions and get busy harnessing this energy. Create cheap clean energy, badly needed new jobs and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. What a win-win situation that would be for our nation at large! There is a really good new book out by Jeff Wilson called The Manhattan Project of 2009 Energy Independence Now. http://www.themanhattanprojectof2009.com

MyName 5 years, 9 months ago

I have a feeling that the poor little turbine will wear out and die long before it pays for itself.

Well, that's probably not including whatever tax deduction/rebate scheme he is getting for putting it up there in the first place. And the associated marketing or promotion angle from having that stuff in place.

This is a business, not a goofy government research project, so I'm sure there's some angle there. And I mean that as a complement to people who are trying to innovate.

grammaddy 5 years, 9 months ago

And who would we go to war with if the turbines fail???

M. Lindeman 5 years, 9 months ago

Here's is the problem. That turbine should give you at least a 65% power usage. The problem I see is he doesn't have the space to store the battries to store the energy that turbine will generate. That perticulare turbine would power my house and still have plenty left to sell back to the grid.

Marc Mondi 5 years, 9 months ago

gphawk 89 states:

So at a 5% savings rate he'd save $50/month on his bill. So he'd have to run the turbine 300 months (25 years) to recover his costs.

My thoughts exactly. That was the first thing I thought of when I read this.... what would be the payback period? I agree 100%; I will be shocked if this turbine lasts 20-25 years w/o maintenance (which is more cost).

ralphralph 5 years, 9 months ago

Symbolic energy. Fluff We Can Believe In.

lwctown 5 years, 9 months ago

Well how much carbon is produced creating and maintaining a coal plant? Then how much carbon is created by the coal plant while producing energy?...Initial investments in wind energy will pave the way for better wind technology.

lwctown 5 years, 9 months ago

It doesnt matter how much less efficient alternative renewable energy is as fossil fuel is not an endless resource ...it WILL run out one day....these other source of energy need to be exploited.

OIL. More Bush lies

devobrun 5 years, 9 months ago

grammady: "And who would we go to war with if the turbines fail???"

Each other.

lwctown: You missed the point. If the alternative energy produces more CO2 than it saves, don't do it. Want a recent example? Corn-based ethanol. Doesn't work. Pollutes more than it saves.

Ditto small turbine generators.

OldEnuf2BYurDad 5 years, 9 months ago

I was sort of excited to read the article until I read about the exorbanant cost! I don't see how that little thing could cost so much, or how it's at all helpful from a business or environmental impact to use such a thing.

It looks like something that should run $2000 and produce more juice than that. Sort of disappointing.

The idea of building my own home and having something like that integrated into the home makes a lot of sense, but there needs to be a clearer cost benefit than "$10,000".

The guess of $1,000 per month for electricity... does anyone have a good idea if that's what a business like that would spend?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"Where are the rightwingers?"

I guess you missed Devo.

gphawk89 5 years, 9 months ago

Benny - What about us longhaired rightwingers who happen to like the Alaskan wilderness?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

This is a demonstration project, and possibly not even a good one. But even if it doesn't work perfectly in all conceivable aspects, as Devo demands, I commend them for at least making the attempt.

The_Voice_of_Reason 5 years, 9 months ago

OldEnuf2BYurDad... Supply and demand my friend. The reason they cost $10K is due to the fact very few people have them, therefore they aren't mass produced. The thing I don't get is why there aren't more companies out there producing these things. The technology is not that complicated, by that I mean run a wire through a magnetic field and you get moving electrons, attach prop and wamm-o a wind turbine! That was a simple explanation of course...

devobrun 5 years, 9 months ago

Bozo: Imagine there no country, its easy if you try. Imagine, Bozo, no political parties, no one to lay blame.

No Bozo, I'm neither right nor left. I'm an engineer. Politics is for people who never learned to think clearly.

This is a vertical axis wind turbine. The advantage is that no pointing device is required. The disadvantage is it isn't as efficient as a horizontal turbine (like an airplane propeller).

Check out this site for similar units: http://www.allsmallwindturbines.com/files/FSW.pdf

Notice that the 1kw and 3kw units are rated at 26mph. That is, they put out 1kw, or 3kw at 26mph. Power out drops as velocity cubed. Thus, each unit puts out 45% of their rating when the wind is 20mph. That's still a pretty stiff wind.

Sure enough, mounting hardware, control unit, and "power conditioner" are separate. Furthermore, you gotta call an electrician to put in the wiring, and a roofer to seal the area around the mounting gear.

Old: If you think that the $ is too much, you should see the carbon footprint. You should see the energy budget (capital, operating). Corn-based ethanol was being demonstrated 15 years ago. People then saw an advantage to the alternative to oil and money to farmers. Can't argue with either of those good reasons.

But it doesn't work. It reeked havoc on the price of corn. It polluted the soil and rivers, and ultimately, it required more energy to produce than it made. The industry today is struggling. It was a bad idea.

So are these toy windmills. I do not commend them for making the attempt.

gphawk89 5 years, 9 months ago

If Scott's turbine brings a bit more attention to wind power as an alternative energy source, and that was his primary intent, then yes he should be commended. All devo and I were saying is that if Scott expected the thing to eventually pay for itself (either in dollars or in reducing pollution) he might be disappointed. Same thing with the solar cells on top of the ambulances a couple of days ago. It might seem like a good idea on the surface but once you run the numbers, it's not.

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for wind power, solar power, hydroelectric, geothermal, bovine flatulence, whatever. We just need to go about harnessing that power in the right way, and I'm not sure that individual residential turbines are quite the right way.

jlcarterKU 5 years, 9 months ago

Devo you sound like what you want is instant gratification. If tomorrow we figured out a way to get fuel from garbage (ala Back To The Future), do you think that we can flick a switch and everyone is rollin on banana peels? Its called infrastructure. Most people in the know understand that corn is not the answer, but it is getting people used to the idea of alternative and jump starting the building of alternative fuel infrastructure that is more pressing right now.

And what do you care if Zarco is doing something to advertise green living? How are you helping anything by bashing the efforts of a business?

Well thank you for showing me the error of my ways. No more recycling, I'm only buying SUVs with 10 mpg, dumping my used motor oil into the drainage systems, and I'm going to start shooting endangered animals! Because how can just one persons actions affect anything?

lwctown 5 years, 9 months ago

devobrun How much Earth does coal save instead of wind....coal WILL eventually end. Wind will never end....which technology should be pursued? Let me guess you protested when the 8 track put the record out of business the color tv put the black and white out of business. No point was missed. When a new technology is put into play it is always met with ignorace like yours until it is recognized as a better way..

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"No Bozo, I'm neither right nor left."

And I bet you even believe that.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"I'm an engineer. Politics is for people who never learned to think clearly."

If you were a good engineer, who could think clearly, you'd be able to recognize that our current energy/economic system is built up around the equivalent of using cannons for door knockers.

Will we replace that entrenched status quo overnight? Hardly. We'll have to ease ourselves off of our addictions somewhat gradually. But if we listen to contented junkies like you, we'll crash and burn long before that happens.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

Well, barry, making it out of your recycled beer cans was a noble idea, but leaves a little to be desired in the "engineering." (Am I permitted to use that word, or is that reserved for Devo?)

kdjayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

I totally agree with the concept of Zarco 66, and I think it's great that they're trying to make Lawrence as a community more aware of green initiatives. What I'd like to know is if Mr. Zaremba is the owner of the Escalade SUV that I saw at Dillions the other day w/ the custom tag "Zarco66". Doesn't scream conservation to me. Practice what you preach anyone??

devobrun 5 years, 9 months ago

How is bringing attention to a technology that doesn't work beneficial to the cause of replacing fossil fuel?

How does showing the public that a device can be put on your roof that requires more CO2 to build than you will save convince the public that they should adopt the technology?

Awareness is all we have right now. Advertising, free news articles, kid's TV shows, you name it. We are bombarded daily by media hype over "green". As if engineers for the past 4 decades were unaware of the demand from society to find alternatives to "entrenched status quo".

You can't just raise awareness and cause a movement in society and repeal the laws of thermodynamics. Believe me, many have tried. Many would love to be the next John Getty, the next Peabody, the next windmill magnate.

You can't win the Kentucky Derby with a mule. I don't care how much hype you lay on down.

Oh, I would like to get a job in alternative energy. I would support any replacement for fossil fuel and apply myself to its development. I'm not against alternatives. I'm against the ones that don't work. There are no engineering jobs in alternative energy because the engineering has been done. The results have been disappointing.

Google vertical axis wind turbine and choose the first item. Ecobusiness links for vawt number 24. 24 manufacturers is a lot. None of them are big business. Is this because there is no money in it? Yes. Is this going to change because technology will yield a new turbine design with much greater efficiency? No.

If awareness was the problem, Exxon would throw a few billion into windmills. They would put advertisements in the NYT and the Super Bowl half time show. They'd be all over it. GE, Mitsubishi, Philips, everybody would be all over it. They don't do it because it doesn't work.

Tens of thousands of engineers would be on this like they did for computers 25 years ago. Back then computers didn't work very well, but the engineers knew that someday they would. They also knew that windmills would not work.

gr 5 years, 9 months ago

I had to read the second sentence twice - I thought it said "virtual" wind turbine. Perhaps more appropriate...

"The turbine costs about $10,000, before electrical and engineering work are taken into account, Zaremba said. The turbine is anticipated to power about 5 percent of the total needs of the location."

Does anyone know what the break even time of $10,000+ is at 5 percent of needs? "So he'd have to run the turbine 300 months (25 years) to recover his costs." Could be a rather conservative guess.

"Unless he gets a meter that can run backwards, he only reduces his power use. He can't provide any power to the grid."

Devo, no need to provide power to the grid. It only generates about 5 percent of his needs. And, you have to be honest in that there was nothing said about the CO2 myth.

"While it sounds rather expensive to only provide 5% of the total needs, at least the guy is trying to do something other than just take off the grid. That is comendable."

none, what is "comendable" about doing "something" if the return on investment should be 25+ years requiring a complete equipment replacement at that time or sooner? What is commendable about something which takes in more energy than it puts out? It IS commendable that they are putting up a demonstration of what is available and whether it is really feasible for use. It IS commendable in a marketing/publicity strategy. 75: "Green bait…." Yep. That's what I was trying to say! kdjayhawk: "What I'd like to know is if Mr. Zaremba is the owner of the Escalade SUV that I saw at Dillions the other day w/ the custom tag “Zarco66”. Doesn't scream conservation to me. Practice what you preach anyone??" What is he preaching? I thought he was preaching, come to my store because you all are a bunch of dead tree huggin' looneys and I'll make money if that's what you want.

rdragon: "That perticulare turbine would power my house and still have plenty left to sell back to the grid." So why haven't you? That speaks volumes, don't you think?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"How is bringing attention to a technology that doesn't work beneficial to the cause of replacing fossil fuel?"

The technology does work. But you want to take a demonstration project done primarily as a public relations stunt by a business seeking to sell its "green" cred, and paint a whole technology as being impractical simply because this is.

lwctown 5 years, 9 months ago

What about it doesnt work.? The wind blows, turns the turbine and makes electricity. Sure every new technology is at first expensive and needs refining but later becomes cheaper wind energy will do the same.

Not exploring this technology is not an option fossil fuel will run out one day.

The large oil companys dont like to invest in wind energy because they cant control the market like they can with oil.

gr 5 years, 9 months ago

"a demonstration project done primarily as a public relations stunt by a business seeking to sell its “green” cred,"

Savor the moment! One of those times when at least part of what bozo says I agree with.

lwctown: "What about it doesnt work.? The wind blows, turns the turbine and makes electricity."

Would you say if we create a contraption which uses an electric motor to pump water up to a platform and then lets the water fall, turning a generator to generate electricity, no one should complain about it not working, because, it DOES work. The water goes up, the water falls down, the generator turns and makes electricity.

Should reason enter into it?

tolawdjk 5 years, 9 months ago

I say we go back to whale oil. It's green -and- renewable!

lwctown 5 years, 9 months ago

gr. your example doesnt make sense. Wind Energy does produce more energy that it consumes.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

Actually, in gr's example, if that electric motor were powered by electricity generated by a wind turbine, what he's describing is a storage device.

In periods of low demand, such as overnight, wind turbines generate electricity, which operates pumps that pump water into a reservoir. When demand increases, the water can be released, turning hydroelectric turbines which feed the grid.

Likewise, wind turbines can be used to compress air, and that compressed air can either be used directly in pneumatic tools, or used to turn a generator at a later time.

Greg Yother 5 years, 9 months ago

Devobrun: "I'm not against alternatives. I'm against the ones that don't work."

What do you suggest?

bevy 5 years, 9 months ago

How much electricity can we generate using the wind from this message board?

d_prowess 5 years, 9 months ago

Here is a funny thought that I wanted to share... How much power would be generated if all the stationary bikes in work centers in Lawrence were hooked up to generate power? Think about it! The student rec center, LAC, Body Boutique, a couple others. That is a lot of people spinning a stationary wheel for nothing but the calorie burn. So what if it generated a little power for the establishment too!

Daytrader23 5 years, 9 months ago

LMAO Flamingdragon. That sums up most Kansans.

devobrun 5 years, 9 months ago

lwctown: "What about it doesnt work.? The wind blows, turns the turbine and makes electricity. Sure every new technology is at first expensive and needs refining but later becomes cheaper wind energy will do the same."

Windmill driven turbines are not new. Even the high technology blades and controllers have been around for 20 to 30 years. Calling wind driven turbines new is laughable. New to you, I guess, but not to anybody who knows anything about energy solutions.

What doesn't work is that they fail to produce a positive bottom line in energy or CO2. Can you build a factory to build turbines and run it on the turbines you make? No, it will fail because the wind turbine technology is fundamentally not able to supply enough energy to make the units. It will wind down like a watch spring.

thx1138: My suggestion is dump money into battery research. Nanotube plates and creative ion exchange mechanisms. Build nuclear fission power plants and gradually replace coal and oil with these. In 20 to 50 years, coal, oil methane, and nuclear will give us energy independence. Need to keep up with continuing demand for oil and gas? Off shore drilling and Canadian tar sands and methane from west Texas and off shore Florida.

Long term dump money into nuclear fission and subatomic particle research. Don't count those chickens any time soon, however. If these areas yield a positive power source, we are set forever. Then all we have to worry about is humans......most of whom couldn't find their butt with both hands.

devobrun 5 years, 9 months ago

flamingdragon: Huh?

d_prowess: It is called incidental energy. Idea has been around a long time. Stationary bicycles, treadmills, stair climbers, and more have the potential to harvest energy from fatties. Better that they don't eat so much to begin with. Just burn the Twinkies in the fireplace and heat yer home that way.

The relatively new technology is piezoelectric transducers attached to folks as they move around. Each step of the foot or motion is an acceleration. Each acceleration produces force that causes a small piezoelectric transducer (crystal) to make a voltage. This energy is stored in a battery and latter used to charge the cell phone that you need to call for someone to save yer sorry butt from yourself. Honest, patents are applied for: http://www.wipo.int/pctdb/en/wo.jsp?IA=WO2004044997

We live in a created reality.

spankyandcranky 5 years, 9 months ago

Why is everyone so worked up? The public isn't paying for this. It isn't causing anyone suffering or harm. If a private business owner wants to put a windmill on his/her roof, why does that matter so much to you? Do you think they'll take it down because some people read the article and then voiced a negative opinion? I hope some of you take high blood pressure pills, because you probably need them.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 9 months ago

"Can you build a factory to build turbines and run it on the turbines you make? No, it will fail because the wind turbine technology is fundamentally not able to supply enough energy to make the units. It will wind down like a watch spring."

Source?

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