Title of Invention

"A FLUID CURRENT MOTOR FOR EXTRACTING ENERGY FROM WIND"

Abstract A series of horizontal axis type rotors is distributed along an elongate torque transmitting driveshaft. In many embodiments, the tower is combined with the driveshaft, projecting upward from its base, supported by cantilevered bearing means, so it is free to rotate about its own axis. The tower/driveshaft is bent downward, until the coaxially attached horizontal axis rotors become sufficiently aligned with the wind to rotate the entire tower/driveshaft. Power is drawn from the rotating shaft at the base. Surface mount, subsurface mount, and marine installations are disclosed, including a sailboat that can sail upwind, and store energy while moored. Vertical axis rotor blades may be attached to the tower, substantially vertical section of the tower/driveshaft and even to the distal section of the tower/driveshaft, should it hang in a sufficiently vertical direction for such blades to contribute towards rotation. Vertical and horizontal axis type rotor blades may be interconnected along the entire length of the tower/driveshaft, serving as structural members, even to the point that a central shaft may be unnecessary. Blade to blade lashing may also be included. Various means, including downwind tails, lifting bodies, buoyant lifting bodies, buoyant rotor blades, and methods of influencing the tilt of the rotors, can help elevate the structure. A conventional tower may support a driveshaft with attached horizontal axis rotors, at an offset angle from the wind direction, to allow fresh wind to each rotor.
Full Text A Fluid Current Motor For Extracting Energy From Wind
This application is divisional of Indian patent application no. 00092/DELNP/2004 Background:
Field of the Invention:
This invention relates generally to the field of extracting usable energy from a moving fluid, more
particularly to windmills.
Prior Art:
The basic design of windmills, whether for grinding grain, pumping water, or generating electricity, has not significantly changed in hundreds of years. A stationary vertical tower supports a single upwind horizontal-axis rotor, which may drive a load either directly, or, more usually, through a mechanical transmission. The traditional windmill tower is rigid, with many historical examples actually being made of stone. A single large rotor served well on these early machines, since a large rotor spins slowly with high torque, perfect for turning a stone to grind grain. The mass of such a large rotor, combined with the primitive state of technology of the day, precluded a serious consideration of a flexible tower.
Currently, the "single large rotor" design still prevails, despite the fact that today's electrical generators require a much higher rotational rate than yesterday's grindstone. Excessive bending deflection of the tower on these modem windmills is seen as sloppy, inefficient, and even dangerous. This basic prior art design has been slowly refined over the centuries, by improvements in tower construction, blade design, transmissions, materials science, control systems, etc. Current models, however, normally used for generating electricity, are still only barely feasible from an economic standpoint.
The rigid, vertical tower is often the most expensive component of a wind turbine. Since wind velocity increases with height, and available power is proportional to the wind speed cubed, a taller tower will result in more power collected. Usually the rigid tower must be strong enough to support not only the huge rotor, but the driveshaft, generator, and associated gearbox as well, in addition to blade feathering mechanisms, yaw control apparatus for
directional guidance, and associated electronics and auxiliary mechanisms, commonly weighing many tons. Access for maintenance personnel, such as an interior stairway or ladder, is often built-in. Erection and even maintenance of such an unwieldy wind energy conversion system often requires a crane and other expensive equipment, to lift the heavy machine components to and from the top of the tower. Deaths have resulted from accidents during these procedures.
The idea that the bending deflection which a tower is so naturally inclined to undergo could be embraced and utilized as advantageous, rather than avoided as a flaw, or minimized as an undesirable characteristic, has not yet found a place in modem windmill design. The idea that a tower could double as a driveshaft, supporting multiple rotors with enough of a space between them for the rotors to get fresh wind, and combining their power, has similarly been absent from wind turbine design. Despite a general
feeling among many designers that there "must be a better way", alternatives to the "standard model" have thus far proven not to be cost-effective. Aside from the vertical axis turbines, such as those of Darrieus, which have enjoyed only limited success, designers have been as yet unable to break away from the traditional, basic, medieval design. As we begin a new millenium, the stationary, rigid windmill tower, with its azimuthally adjustable cap, having a geared mechanism with a horizontal driveshaft, supporting a single large upwind rotor, as originally developed to turn a grinding stone in the middle ages, yet persists.
The decision to use a single large rotor, rather than many small rotors, is based on a desire for simplicity, and economy of scale, but results in a whole new series of expenses: First, the circular area swept by a spinning rotor is proportional to the diameter squared, while the rotor's actual volume (and hence its mass), is proportional to the diameter cubed. In other words, the larger the rotor, the less wind it can capture in relation to its mass. The significance of this cannot be overemphasized: The amount of wind available per unit rotor mass is inversely proportional to the rotor diameter. This means that a IOmeter rotor will capture 100 times as much wind as a I-meter rotor, but will weigh 1000 times as much! So as its diameter has increased by an order of magnitude, its subtended wind collecting area per unit mass has decreased by an order of magnitude.
Of course, 100 of these smaller rotors would each require individual physical support at an effective height, as well as either 100 individual generators, or a mechanical means to combine the rotation of the individual rotors. In the current state of the art, the increased complexity and consequent higher manufacturing and maintenance costs, as well as possible aesthetic clutter of such a multi-rotor technology, have weighed in favor of designs using a single large rotor, despite the disproportionately higher mass.
For a given wind speed, the blade tip speed for any size rotor is about the same, hence, the angular rate of rotation is inversely proportional to rotor diameter. For a given amount of driveshaft power, torque is inversely proportional to rotation rate. Consequently a large rotor will turn a shaft at low rotational speed, but with high torque. This slow rotation rate and consequent high torque of such a large rotor mandate the use of heavy-duty driveshafts and ratio gearing mechanisms in order to transmit the power to a faster-rotating generator. Contemporary generators must turn many times faster than today's large rotors in order to efficiently generate power. The gearbox required to achieve this increased rotational rate represents about 20% of the cost of current systems. The traditional tubular steel tower accounts for another 20% of cost.
There is a strong feeling among researchers that there must be some easier, more simple and cost-effective way to harness wind energy, if only we could find it. The challenge to wind energy development for the new millenium is to meet the wind on its own terms using the stronger, and more flexible materials now available.
Conventional horizontal axis wind turbines suffer from certain drawbacks, some of which are:
High Mass of Large Rotors:
The mass of a rotor increases as function of the diameter cubed, while the swept area only increases as a function of the diameter squared. The amount of wind captured, per unit rotor mass, is therefore inversely proportional to rotor diameter. The single large rotor captures less wind per unit mass than a plurality of smaller rotors sweeping an equivalent area would. Such a single, large, heavy rotor also mandates the use of a commensurately stronger drivetrain and tower to support its ponderous weight.
Slow Rotation Rate of Large Rotors:
Today's windmills, with their single large, slowly turning rotor require either a specially built, slow-speed alternator or generator, or a transmission means providing ratio gearing, such as a gearbox, to bring the rotation rate up to a speed compatible with a generator. Either solution is complicated, expensive, and heavy, adding to the cost of the installation, as well as the strength required of the supporting tower.
For a given wind speed, the tip speed of similarly shaped rotors is substantially the same, regardless of diameter. The rotational rate is therefore inversely proportional to rotor diameter, meaning that a smaller rotor spins faster to maintain the same tip speed as a larger, more slowly rotating set of blades. Conventional generators and alternators typically require such a fast rotation rate for efficient operation. Small rotors, turning more quickly, can therefore often directly drive a substantially standard alternator or generator without ratio gearing, or a transmission. With smaller rotors, if a transmission is required, it need incorporate less ratio gearing, and may therefore be less substantial, since the rotational rate of a smaller rotor is faster to begin with.
Slow Rotation of Prior Art Means High Torque - Faster Rotation Delivers the Same Power at Lower Torque:
A given amount of power is delivered at lower torque by a faster rotating shaft, further reducing the required robustness, and therefore the cost and weight, of the drivetrain.
Low Power Output from Smaller Rotors in Prior Art:
Though smaller rotors are desirable from the standpoint of achieving a higher rotation rate, the amount of wind power available from the area swept by a smaller rotor is less than that of a larger rotor, being proportional to the diameter squared. Conventional windmills having a single small rotor therefore require high winds for useful amounts of energy to be generated.
Many schemes have been put forward in the prior art to mechanically harness a multiplicity of smaller rotors together to power a single load. None has proven to be simple and reliable enough to have enjoyed commercial success. Prior art designs utilizing a multiplicity of rotors coupled to a single shaft disposed these rotors closely together, and directly in line with the wind, and had no means for supplying fresh wind to each rotor, and therefore suffered from excessive wind shadow effects between rotors, making the redundancy of multiple rotors largely ineffective, non-advantageous, and indeed, burdensome and unworkable.
A dedicated azimuthal orientation means is normally required to keep a conventional upwind rotor properly aimed into the wind. This directional orientation means normally comprises either downwind
fluid reaction surfaces, such as a tail fin, or an active directional control mechanism. Either solution adds extra cost, weight, wind resistance, and complication to an installation, while not otherwise contributing to power generation.
6. Safety Issues: It is possible for virtually any wind turbine to undergo structural failure at some point in its service life. With tip speeds often exceeding 150 mph (~mach 0.2), the ponderously large blades of conventional wind turbines store a tremendous amount of kinetic energy, and are known to be very dangerous if broken or detached, even in home installations. These huge rotor blades, (with a mass proportional to the diameter cubed, even though the power collected is only proportional to the diameter squared) often require a heavy-duty crane to be lifted into place. On the average one person dies every year in such operations.
7. Vibration issues: Prior art turbines are known to transmit low frequency vibration to structures upon which they are mounted, often making rooftop mounting inadvisable.
8. Noise issues: Conventional windmills with a single rotor often produce noise in high winds, which may be objectional in residential areas.
9. Aesthetic issues: Many people object to the slow, unsynchronized motion of the many large blades of many separate turbines.
10. Tower issues: In many cases it would be advantageous to dispense with the need for a tower. Towers tend to be permanent installations, and only achieve limited height. They are also expensive.
Brief Summary of the Invention:
The present invention discloses a Coaxial Multi Rotor Wind Turbine comprising:
A fluid current motor for extracting energy, in the form of shaft rotation capable of driving a load (6),
from a fluid flow relative to a surface (1), flirther comprising:
a resiliently flexible tower/driveshaft (10) having a stiffness, having a basal end (7) and a distal end (9),
said tower/driveshaft (10) projecting from substantially proximate said surface (1), substantially
proximate said basal end (7), substantially away from said surface (1);
a cantilevered bearing means (5) which rotatably supports said tower/driveshaft (10), in a cantilevered
manner, substantially from said basal end (7);
a multiplicity of fluid reactive rotors (13), coaxially attached at spaced intervals to a section of said
tower/driveshaft (10);
wherein:
said tower/driveshaft (10) is caused by said fluid flow and gravity to bend along, atleast a portion of its
length in a generally downstream direction;
whereby:
due to said bending, said section is caused to become sufficiently properly oriented to said fluid flow that
said rotors (13) are caused by said fluid flow to rotate, thereby causing the tower/driveshaft (10) to rotate,
along its entire length, however it may bend, so that usefiil power in the form of shaft (10) rotation is drawn therefrom, proximate said basal end (7).
Further, the Coaxial Multi Rotor (13) Wind Turbine applied with:
a) a floating marine wind turbine installation, comprising:
atleast one horizontal axis type rotor (13);
a tower/driveshaft (10), that rotates in its entirety, as a unit, having a basal end (7), and an upper section
(9);
a base (2), comprising; an upper end, a lower end, a floatation means (68), a downward force means (67),
a base rotation resistance means (69), a load (6), and a cantilevered bearing means (5):
wherein:
said horizontal axis type rotor (13) is substantially coaxially mounted to, and rotationally coupled to, said
upper section (9) of said tower/driveshaft (10):
said floatation means (68) acts to push said tipper upper end of said base (2) upward, and;
said downward force means (67) acts to pull said lower end of said base (2) downward;
whereby said base (2) is maintained in a generally upright orientation;
said cantilevered bearing means (5) supports said tower/driveshaft (10), substantially from said basal end (7), in a cantilevered, rotationally free manner, whereby said tower/driveshaft (10) projects substantially upward from said base (2);
whereby the detent position of said upper section (9) of said tower/driveshaft (10) having said attached rotor (13) is to be aimed substantially straight upward, subject to modification by the forces of the wind and gravity thereupon; said load (6) is rotationally coupled to said tower/driveshaft (10);
whereby:
said horizontal axis rotor (13), and said upper section (9), are blown in a downwind direction;
whereby said upper section (9), where said horizontal axis type rotor (13) is attached, is caused to
become sufficiently parallel to the wind that said horizontal axis type rotor (13) is caused thereby to
rotate;
said rotor (13) causing said tower/driveshaft (10) to rotate;
said rotating tower/driveshaft (10) driving said load (6);
said base rotation resistance means (69) acting to counter the torque of the rotating tower/driveshaft (10),
substantially preventing said base (2) from rotating along with said tower/driveshaft (10).
b) a windmill comprising
a base means (2) further comprising:
a mounting means (3), for being supported proximate a surface (1);
a rigid bearing support means (4), attached to said mounting means (3);
a cantilevered bearing means (5), securely retained by said rigid bearing support means (4);
a resiliently flexible tower/driveshaft (10), having a basal end (7), said tower/driveshaft (10) being supported, proximate said basal end (7), in a cantilevered, rotationally free manner, by said cantilevered bearing means (5), and projecting upward therefrom, the detent shape of said tower/driveshaft (10) being substantially straight;
a fluid reactive rotor (13), coaxially mounted to said tower/driveshaft (10), at some distance from said basal end (7);
wherein said tower/driveshaft (10) is caused by gravity, and the force of the wind, to bend over in a generally downwind direction;
whereby, due to said bending, said rotor (13) is caused to become sufficiently properly aligned with the wind to be caused thereby to undergo rotation, causing said tower/driveshaft (10) to rotate, along its entire length, however it may bend, whereby usefiil power, in the form of shaft (10) rotation, is extracted from said basal end (7).
c) a wind mill comprising
a tower/driveshaft (10);
a multiplicity of horizontal axis type rotors (13), coaxially mounted at spaced intervals to a section of
said tower/driveshaft (10), rotationally coupled thereto;
a cantilevered bearmg means (5), supporting said tower/driveshaft (10) with rotational freedom, whereby
said tower/driveshaft (10) projects substantially upward from said cantilevered bearing means (5);
a base (2), to generally support said windmill;
a directionally compliant means (61);
wherein:
said directionally compliant means (61) allows said section of said tower/driveshaft (10), and said
attached rotors (13), to be caused by the force of the wind to be blown to a substantially downwind
position, relative to said base (2);
whereby:
said section of said tower/driveshaft (10) is caused to become aimed in a direction that is sufficiently
parallel to the wind that said coaxially mounted horizontal axis type rotors (13) are caused to become
sufficiently properly oriented to the wind that they are caused thereby to undergo rotation;
said rotation of said rotors (13) causing said tower/driveshaft (10) to undergo rotation;
whereby useful power, in the form of shaft (10) rotation, is drawn from said rotating tower/driveshaft (10) proximate said base (2).
d) a fluid reactive motor comprising:
a rotor (44), substantially having a longitudinal axis of rotation, said axis being oriented substantially perpendicular to the flow of a fluid;
wherein:
said rotor (44) comprises a substantially cylindrical tube (52), said cylindrical tube comprised of an open
latticework structure comprising a geometric pattern of interconnected struts (51, 54);
those of said struts (51, 54) not perpendicular to said axis being aerodynamically shaped and disposed to
function as fluid reactive blades (12), operating on the Darrieus principle, to impart rotation to said rotor
(44), substantially about said axis of rotation.
e) a fluid reactive rotor for providing attractive force for a fluid borne vehicle, comprising:
a resiliently flexible shaft (10), having a basal end (7), and a longitudinal axis;
a multiplicity of propeller type rotors (13), coaxially attached, and rotationally coupled, to said shaft (10),
at spaced intervals along said shaft (10);
wherein:
said spaced intervals being of sufficient distance to allow sufficient intermixture of substantially
undisturbed fluid with the downstream effluent of each said rotor (13), before that effluent encounters the
next said rotor (13), to sufficiently dilute said effluent, whereby each of said rotors (13) interacts with a
substantial proportion of undisturbed fluid;
said propeller type rotors (13) being shaped and disposed to exert a pulling force, when undergoing
rotation, on said shaft (10), in a direction substantially away from said basal end (7);
whereby, when said shaft (10) is projected from proximate said vehicle (79) into said fluid, substantially
from said basal end (7), and caused to rotate about its own said longitudinal axis, said rotors (13) are
caused thereby to exert a sufficient force on said vehicle (79) to influence its position relative said fluid.
f) a windmill for exfracting power from wind, comprising:
a base means (2), said base means (2) comprising a bearing means (5) and a load (6); an elongate torque fransmission means (10), having a longitudinal axis of rotation and generally having two ends;
a horizontal axis type rotor (13), having an axis of rotation;
said rotor (13) comprising atmospherically buoyant blades (12) having a positive buoyancy, said buoyancy of said blades (12) serving to elevate said rotor (13); wherein:
said elongate torque fransmission means (10) is retained with rotational freedom proximate one said end
by said bearing means (5);
said elongate torque fransmission means (10) is rotationally coupled to said load (6);
said horizontal axis type rotor (13) is coaxially attached to said elongate torque fransmission means (10)
at some distance from said one end;
whereby:
said elongate torque transmission means (10) substantially extends from said base means (2) to said rotor
(13);
said rotor (13) is blown downwind of said base means (2);
said axis of rotation of said rotor (13) is thereby caused to become aimed sufficiently parallel to the wind
that said rotor (13) is caused thereby to rotate;
said rotation of said horizontal axis type rotor (13) causes said elongate torque fransmission means (10)
to rotate about its own said longitudinal axis of rotation;
said load (6) is driven by said rotation of said elongate torque transmission means (10).
g) a windmill comprising:
a base means (2), said base means (2) comprising a first bearing means (5) and a load (6);
an elongate torque fransmission means (10), having a longitudinal axis of rotation and generally
having a basal end (7) and a distal end (9);
a horizontal axis type rotor (13), having an axis of rotation;
a substantially non-rotating atmospherically buoyant lifting body (32) (32) having a positive
buoyancy, and further having a second bearing means (33); wherein:
said elongate torque fransmission means (10) is retained with rotational freedom proximate said basal end (7) by said first bearing means (5);
said elongate torque transmission means (10) is retained with rotational freedom proximate said distal end (9) by said second bearing means (33), whereby said elongate torque fransmission means (10) is suspended from said lifting body (32), said buoyancy of said lifting body (32) serving to elevate said rotor (13) and at least a portion of said elongate torque transmission means (10); said elongate torque fransmission means (10) is rotationally coupled to said load (6); said horizontal axis type rotor (13) is coaxially attached to said elongate torque transmission means (10) at some distance from said basal end (7); whereby:
said elongate torque transmission means (10) substantially extends from said base means (2) to said rotor (13); said lifting body (32) and said rotor (13) are blown downwind of said base means (2);
said axis of rotation of said rotor (13) is thereby caused to become aimed sufficiently parallel to the wind
that said rotor (13) is caused thereby to rotate;
said rotation of said horizontal axis type rotor (13) causes said elongate torque transmission means (10)
to rotate about its own said longitudinal axis of rotation;
said load (6) is driven by said rotation of said elongate torque transmission means (10).
h) a windmill comprising:
a base means (2), said base means (2) comprismg a first bearing means (5) and a load (6);
an elongate torque transmission means (10), having a longitudinal axis of rotation and generally
having a basal end (7) and a distal end (9);
a horizontal axis type rotor (13), having an axis of rotation;
a substantially non-rotating aerodynamic lifting body (31) having aerodynamic lift, and further
having a second bearing means (33); wherein:
said elongate torque transmission means (10) is retained with rotational freedom proximate said basal end (7) by said first bearing means (5);
said elongate torque transmission means (10) is retained with rotational freedom proximate said distal end (9) by said second bearing means (33), whereby said elongate torque transmission means (10) is suspended from said lifting body (31), said aerodynamic lift of said lifting body (31) serving to elevate said rotor (13) and at least a portion of said elongate torque transmission means (10); said elongate torque transmission means (10) is rotationally coupled to said load (6); said horizontal axis type rotor (13) is coaxially attached to said elongate torque transmission means (10) at some distance from said basal end (7); whereby; said elongate torque transmission means (10) substantially extends from said base means (2) to said rotor
(13);
said lifting body (31) and said rotor (13) are blown downwind of said base means (2);
said axis of rotation of said rotor (13) is thereby caused to become aimed sufficiently parallel to the wind
that said rotor (13) is caused thereby to rotate;
said rotation of said horizontal axis type rotor (13) causes said elongate torque fransmission means (10)
to rotate about its own said longitudinal axis of rotation;
said load (6) is driven by said rotation of said elongate torque transmission means (10).
i) a wind turbine comprising hollow blades (12) filled with an atmospherically buoyant gas.
j) a wind turbine, comprising:
a series of substantially horizontal axis type rotors (13) attached in a substantially coaxial manner at
spaced intervals along a driveshaft (10);
said driveshaft (10) aimed sufficiently parallel to the wind for the rotors (13) to effectively harness the
wind, but at an offset angle from the wind direction, sufficient to allow an admixture of fresh wind,
substantially undisturbed by upwind rotors (13), to each rotor (13);
said driveshaft (10) held in a rotationally free, cantilevered manner, by a cantilevered bearing means (5)
from which it projects; wherein at least part of said driveshaft (10) projects from said cantilevered
bearing means (5) substantially toward thp wind.
k) a wind turbine comprising:
a cantilevered bearing means (5); an upwind section (49) of a driveshaft (10), projecting from one end of said cantilevered bearing means (5), supported thereby in a substantially rotationally free manner;
a series of substantially horizontal axis rotors (13) attached at spaced intervals to said upwind section (49) of said driveshaft (10) in a substantially coaxial manner;
each said rotor (13) consisting of:
a substantially coplanar set of blades (12), and;
means for attaching said substantially coplanar set of blades (12) to said driveshaft (10) whereby when said rotor (13) is spinning, said substantially coplanar set of blades (12) sweeps through a substantially disc shaped region, said rotor (13) extracting a major portion of the power available coefficient from whatever wind passes through said disc shaped region; wherein:
said driveshaft (10) projects in a direction sufficiently parallel to the wind for said attached rotors (13) to effectively harness the wind and thereby cause rotation of said section of said driveshaft (10); said rotors (13) are axially separated by a sufficient distance to allow an admixture of at least some fresh wind, substantially undisturbed by upwind rotors (13), to enter the wind sfream passing through each rotor (13).
1) a wind turbine comprising:
a cantilevered bearing means (5); an upwind section (49) as claimed in a driveshaft (10), projecting from one end of said cantilevered bearing means (5), supported thereby in a substantially rotationally free manner;
a series of as claimed in substantially horizontal axis rotors (13) attached at spaced intervals to said upwind section (49) of said driveshaft (10) in a substantially coaxial manner;
wherein: said driveshaft (10) projects in a direction sufficiently parallel to the wind for said attached rotors (13) to effectively harness the wind and thereby cause rotation of said section of said driveshaft (10);
said rotors (13) are separated by a sufficient distance to allow an admixture of atleast some fresh wind, substantially undisturbed by upwind rotors (13), to enter the wind stream passing through each rotor (13); the direction of projection of said driveshaft (10) is at an offset angle from the wind direction, sufficient to allow a substantial part of the disk swept by each rotor (13) to encounter a stream of air substantially undisturbed by upstream rotors (13).
m) a wind turbine, comprising:
an elongate driveshaft (10);
a plurality of substantially horizontal axis type rotors (13);
a cantilevered bearing means (5);
a load (6); means for allowing a substantially consistent region of the disk swept by each said rotor (13) to encounter a substantially constant influx of fresh wind, substantially undisturbed by upwind rotors (13);
said substantially consistent region does not rotate with the upwind rotor (13); wherein:
said driveshaft (10) is supported in a rotationally free manner by said bearing means (5), projecting therefrom in two opposing directions;
said rotors (13) are mounted to said driveshaft (10) in a substantially coaxial manner, at axially spaced intervals therealong;
said load (6) is configured and disposed in a manner whereby it is driven by the rotation of said driveshaft (10);
said driveshaft (10) is disposed sufficiently parallel to the wind that said attached rotors (13) are driven by the wind to cause said shaft (10) to rotate about its own longitudinal axis;
wherein all corresponding blades (12) of each rotor (13) disposed radially in the same direction and perpendicular to the axis of the driveshaft (10).
n) a wind turbine, comprising:
an elongate driveshaft (10);
a plurality of substantially horizontal axis type rotors (13);
a cantilevered bearing means (5);
a load (6); means for allowing a substantial portion of the disk swept by each said rotor (13) to encounter fresh wind, substantially undisturbed by upwind rotors (13); wherein:
said driveshaft (10) is supported in a rotationally free manner by said bearing means (5), projecting therefrom in two opposing directions;
said rotors (13) are mounted to said driveshaft (10) in a substantially coaxial manner, at spaced intervals
therealong;
said load (6) is configured and disposed in a manner whereby it is driven by the rotation of said
driveshaft (10);
said driveshaft (10) is disposed sufficiently parallel to the wind that said attached rotors (13) are driven
by the wind to cause said shaft (10) to rotate about its own longitudinal axis;
wherein said means for allowing a substantial portion of the disk swept by each said rotor (13) to
encounter fresh wind comprises:
an offset angle means (94, 95) that causes said driveshaft (10) to be disposed at an offset angle from the
exact wind direction.
The present invention discloses simple way to achieve the mechanical linkage of a multiplicity of rotors, combined with a way to resiliently support the rotors at an effective operational height, combined with a way to automatically orient the rotors, combined with a way to mechanically transmit the power of the rotors to the ground, and finally, even generate electricity, using as few as one single moving part.
The windmill of the present invention in many embodiments puts the natural flexibility of a tower to good use, rather than attempting to make the tower rigid. This tower doubles as a high rotational speed, low-torque, flexible driveshaft. Rather than supporting one large, heavy, slowly spinning rotor, our flexible, spinning tower supports multiple, small, lightweight, rapidly rotating rotors, attached coaxially at intervals along its length. Since multiple small rotors weigh much less than a large rotor of equivalent area, and tower flexure is permitted, the tower can be of much lighter duty construction than current designs permit. Further, in many embodiments, the generator or other load, and associated hardware, are located at the base of this tower/driveshaft. The flexible tower/driveshaft therefore supports only itself and the attached rotors, further reducing its required sfrength.
For those embodiments having the generator at the base, the rotating tower/driveshaft projects substantially upward, to achieve distance from the ground. This lower section may be provided with vertical axis type blades. Higher up, the tower/driveshcift begins to bend with the direction of the wind flow. With increasing distance from its base, the to^¥er/driveshaft becomes increasingly bent over, becoming more driveshaft, and less tower. At some height, the tower/driveshaft becomes sufficiently parallel to the wind for any coaxially attached horizontal axis rotors to effectively harness the wind, and thereby confribute toward its rotation. Multiple horizontal axis type rotors are therefore attached at spaced intervals to this upper section.
Depending on their angle of tilt, certain of the rotors may generate some lift, in the fashion of a kite. Still further from the base, the planes of rotation of the coaxially attached, horizontal axis-type rotors become increasingly perpendicular to the wind direction, and along this upper section, the flexible tower/driveshaft may be blown into a completely horizontal orientation. Toward its extreme distal end, the tower/driveshaft may even point downward, depending on conditions. Such a downward hanging
section may advantageously be provided with vertical axis type blades. In addition to its simple rotation, due to its resilience, the tower/driveshaft may conditionally undertake swinging, waving, serpentine, or corkscrew types of motion, or combinations thereof, which add to the effective wind-collection area swept by the windmill.
The flexibility of the rotating tower/driveshaft naturally results in a passive downwind orientation for the rotors. The flexible tower/driveshaft smoothly converts the rotation of the substantially horizontal-axis-type rotors, as well as that of any attached vertical-axis-type rotors, whatever the wind direction, into a uniform, reliable, substantially vertical-axis rotation at the base. The high rotational rate reduces or eliminates the need for a gearbox. If a gearbox is used, it can be lighter-duty because of the lower torque requirements of a faster-spinning shaft. The motion of the flexible tower/driveshaft is stabilized to some extent by the gyroscopic action of the individual rotors spaced along its length. The resuh is a much lighter, simpler, and more cost-efficient windmill.
Lashing between the horizontal axis type blades may be added to help transmit torque downward, or the vertical axis blades may be extended upward and serve as lashing. If sufficiently strong, the presence of vertical axis type blades may even make a central shaft unnecessary. And the vertical axis type blades need not be exactly parallel to the axis of the tower as a whole, but may wrap around it helically, or even comprise a geometric latticework formed into a generally cylindrical shape. The tower/driveshaft and attached rotors is supported against the pull of gravity and the force of the wind by the stiffness of the rotating tower/driveshaft tower itself, as supported by a cantilevered bearing means at the base. Guy wires may also be used. Additionally, vertical support may be provided by natural buoyancy, by aerodynamic lifting forces, or a combination thereof. In embodiments having a directionally compliant base, these additional means of vertical support may predominate, reducing the radial loading on the cantilevered bearing means at the base.
Other embodiments of the present invention having the generator near the middle of the driveshaft retain the support, such as a stationary tower, of a conventional wind turbine, while nonetheless preserving several of the advantages of the other embodiments. In these more balanced versions, the driveshaft extends both forward, substantially into the direction of the wind, as well as backward, or substantially downwind. This more balanced configuration involves less leverage, and results in less stress on the cantilevered bearing means, less stress on the shaft, as well as requiring less bending of the shaft. The entire assembly is mounted on a conventional support means, such as a tower, building, tree, pole, or other elevating structure. Since the shaft protrudes in two directions from the cantilevered bearing means, the stress on the shaft is automatically cut at least in half. Since the driveshaft is not acting as the entire tower, leverage and stresses on the shaft are further reduced. And since the length of shaft presented is more parallel to the wind, bending stresses on the shaft are even further dramatically reduced. And, this more balanced configuration places the rotors more positively, more closely controlling their positioning. The supporting frame may be extended longitudinally to support the driveshaft on bearings.
The direction of projection of the shaft, while having a major component substantially parallel to the wind, may be offset from the actual wind direction in an amount sufficient to allow an intermixture of fresh, undisturbed wind into the disk swept by each succeeding rotor, so that each rotor may effectively harness wind energy without undue disturbance from upwind rotors, and substantially contribute toward the overall rotation of the shaft. The direction of shaft projection may be changed to protect the turbine in excessively strong winds.
Objects and Advantages:
Object: To harness energy from the wind in an environmentally and aesthetically acceptable manner, with safety, at the least cost. Advantages:
Lighter rotor weight: A multiplicity of smaller rotors weighs less than a single larger rotor sweeping an equivalent total area. This is because the mass of a rotor is proportional to the third power of the diameter (diameter cubed), while the area swept is only proportional to the second power of the diameter, (diameter squared). The larger the rotor, the less wind it can capture relative to its mass. Significantly, the amount of wind available per unit rotor mass is therefore inversely proportional to the rotor diameter. This means that a 10-meter rotor will capture 100 times as much wind as a 1-meter rotor, but can weigh 1000 times as much! From this standpoint, a multiplicity of smaller rotors is lighter for the same amount of wind captured, and therefore makes better use of materials than a single larger rotor. This dramatic savings in weight even further reduces the required tower strength.
Faster rotation: For a given rotor type, in a given wind speed, the tip speed is basically some multiple of the wind speed, independent of rotor diameter. Therefore, smaller rotors rotate at a faster rate (rpm) than larger rotors. The multiplicity of smaller rotors of the present invention has a faster rate of rotation (rpm) than a single larger rotor of equivalent swept area. Since electrical generators perform best at such a relatively high rate of rotation (rpm), the present invention more closely matches the desired rotation rate (rpm) of current electrical generating equipment. This means that a gearbox is either not needed, or, if needed, may be less substantial than would be the case with a single, large, slowly spinning rotor with its commensurate high torque. One version of the present invention even takes advantage of counter-rotating sets of rotors, and their differential relative rate of rotation, which essentially doubles the effective rate of rotation.
Lighter Duty Drivetrain: A faster-rotating driveshaft can transmit the same power at less torque than a more slowly rotating driveshaft. Since the present invention rotates faster, torques are lower, requiring a less substantial drivetrain. This lowers cost, as well as further lowering overall weight. The torque required to transmit a given amount of power through a driveshaft is inversely proportional to the rate of rotation. Since small rotors spin faster than large ones, multiple small coaxial rotors can provide the same power as a single large rotor through a less substantial driveshaft, spinning at a higher rotational
rate. Therefore, the use of smaller, multiple rotors further reduces the strength required of our tower/driveshaft, and of the drivetrain in general
4. No gearbox needed: The faster rotational speed of our driveshaft eliminates or reduces the need for a gearbox to translate slow shaft rotation to a faster generator rotation. If such a gearbox is needed, it can be lighter-duty, since at higher rotational speeds, less torque is involved.
5. The simplicity and redundancy of the present invention will reduce design, manufacturing, installation, and maintenance costs;
6. The wind-shadow effect can actually be beneficial by protecting the windmill from damage in unusually high winds; Wind-shadows lengthen with the increased Reynolds numbers encountered at higher wind speeds. Also, as wind speed increases, the tower/driveshaft is increasingly bent over toward a horizontal position. These effects increase the wind-shadow effect from one rotor to the next in higher winds, protecting against destructively fast rotation.
7. As with purely downwind machines, the rotors are unlikely to contact the tower/driveshaft, and so may be made light and flexible enough to bend with extremely strong winds, avoiding damage while decreasing costs.
8. This same light flexibility allows each blade to more fully respond to instantaneous localized gusts.
9. The driveshaft is also rotationally flexible along its length, to some extent. This allows an entire rotor, or a series thereof, encountering a sudden gust to quickly accelerate. The extra energy is first absorbed by the local rotational flexibility of the driveshaft, then transmitted down the length of the shaft by its resilience. This overcomes a well-recognized problem with larger, stiff, heavy rotors: due to their relative rigidity and high momentum, the energy of a localized gust cannot be efficiently harvested; The blades can't speed up fast enough to take full advantage of the extra energy in the momentary gust before it is too late and the gust has passed. Since available power is proportional to wind velocity cubed, this can represent significant amounts of wasted energy.
10. An aesthetic improvement: The windmill of the present invention answers the question: "If Nature could somehow build, or grow, a windmill, what might it look like?" As such, it has a very natural appearance. Especially in smaller versions, the blades appear as a blur, and the assembly resembles a tall tree, naturally bending with the wind. Green coloration may be used to augment this appearance. Faster rotating blades are less visually distracting.
11. Mounting verstaility; Many versions are highly suitable for being mounted atop a building
12. Safety: Multiple smaller rotors store less kinetic energy than equivalent larger ones. This translates to less danger should mechanical failure occur. Smaller blades can do less damage, should they become detached.
13. Vibration: The low frequency vibrations associated with larger rotors are reduced or eliminated with multiple smaller rotors, making rooftop installations more practical.
14. Noise: Multiple small rotors will have different noise characteristics, in high winds, than single larger ones, and may therefore be less objectionable to nearby residents. Multiple rotors tend to collectively make an unobtrusive "white" noise, which blends in with other wind noise.
Advantages of embodiments having the generator at base level:
1. It's a downwind machme: Utilizing the natural effect of passive downwind orientation, the present invention, in many of its embodiments, harnesses wind equally well from any direction, eliminating the need for active directional (yaw) control apparatus, mechanisms, software, and associated wind-direction sensors.
2. As with a purely vertical-axis machine, when the generator or other load, and all associated hardware, can be located at the base of the tower, this placement greatly reduces the strength required of the tower, as well as simplifying maintenance procedures, especially if the generator must be repaired, rebuilt or replaced.
3. In embodiments utilizing a rotating, flexible tower, the elimination of the requirement that the tower be absolutely rigid further reduces the required strength of the tower. Taking a lesson from nature, we note that trees are not completely rigid; we therefore let the tower do exactly what it wants to do in the wind: bend. The tower in turn rewards us by allowing lighter construction,
4. In addition to simple rotation, a windmill of the present invention may assume a swinging, waving, serpentine, or corkscrew motion. Such a trajectory sweeps the rotors through a larger area of wind than a statically rotating configuration, reducing the wind-shadow effect from one rotor to the next, thereby harnessing more total wind energy than might otherwise be expected.
5. Like purely vertical-axis machines, theoretically, simple versions of this new design could require only "one moving part"
6. An aesthetic improvement: The windmill of the present invention answers the question: "If Nature could somehow build, or grow, a windmill, what might it look like?" As such, it has a very natural appearance. Especially in smaller versions, the blades appear as a blur, and the assembly resembles a tall tree, naturally bending with the wind. Green coloration may be used to augment this appearance.
Some advantages that the embodiments having the generator near the midpoint of the shaft have over the embodiments having the generator at the base are:
1. Since the shaft protrudes in two directions from the cantilevered bearing means, the sfress on the shaft is automatically cut at least in half in the present invention.
2. Since no part of the driveshaft is acting as the tower, the overall length of the shaft, as well as leverage and stresses on the shaft are further reduced.
J. Since the length of shaft presented is more parallel to the wind, bending sfresses on the shaft are even further dramatically reduced, because the wind has less leverage.
4. The radial loads on the bearings are dramatically reduced, since the windmill is largely balanced about the bearings, since the driveshaft protrudes therefrom in both directions.
5. Versions having a longitudinally extended supporting frame exhibit still further reductions in bending stresses on the driveshaft and even less radial loading on the bearings.
6. The appearance has been noted to be no more obtrusive than a TV antenna.
Accompanying Drawings in General:0
Fig. 1 shows the first embodunent of a windmill of the present invention having three-bladed rotors, a
gear-driven generator, and sub-surface bearing means, from an offset endwise downwind aerial view.
Fig. 2 illusfrates a side view of the windmill of Fig. 1.
Fig. 3 is a closeup view of the base of the windmill of Fig. 1.
Figs. 4-6 show alternative base configurations, similar to the base of Figs, 1- 3, described in the second
through fourth embodiments.
Fig. 4 shows a base with a subsurface cantilevered bearing means and a directly driven inline load.
Fig. 5 shows an above surface base with the directly driven load below the cantilevered bearing means.
Fig. 6 shows an above surface base with the directly driven load within the cantilevered bearing means.
Fig. 7 is a side perspective view from an elevated position of the fifth embodiment, having a subsurface
base with directly driven load, and two-bladed rotors.
Fig. 8 shows a closer view of the base of the fifth embodiment.
Fig. 9 shows the base of the sixth embodiment, an alternative version of the base of the previous, fifth
embodiment.
Figs. 10-13 show closeup side views of part of the upper section of a tower/driveshaft illusfrating
alternative rotor blade configurations, applicable to many of the embodiments described herein:
Fig. 10 shows a closeup side view of part of the upper section of the tower/driveshaft of the fifth
embodiment shown in Fig. 8.
Fig. 11 shows the seventh embodiment.
Fig. 12 shows the eighth embodiment.
Fig. 13 shows the ninth embodiment. Fig. 14 shows a perspective side view of the tenth embodiment, a floating marine installation of a windmill of the present invention.
Fig. 15 shows a closeup view of the floating marine base of the tenth embodiment shown in Fig. 14. Fig. 16 shows a closeup view of the floating marine base of the eleventh embodiment. Fig. 17 shows a closeup view of the floating, rotating, counterweighted marine base of the twelfth embodiment, having the cantilevered bearing means comprised of the liquid interface between the rotating base and the surrounding water.
Fig. 18 shows a perspective side view of the thirteenth embodiment, a sailboat powered by a windmill of
the present invention.
Fig. 19 shows a closeup view of the simple marine drivetrain of the fourteenth embodiment.
Fig. 20 shows a closeup view of the wind/electric hybrid marine drivetrain of the fifteenth embodunent.
Fig. 21 shows a perspective side view of the sixteenth embodiment, a tower/driveshaft having a turntable
base.
Fig. 22 shows a closeup perspective side view of the turntable base of the sixteenth embodiment.
Fig. 23 shows a perspective side view of the seventeenth embodiment, a tower/driveshaft having a
dtrectionally compliant base with bias toward vertical, (graphically represented by a simple coil spring)
Fig. 24 shows a closeup perspective side view of the directionally compliant base of the seventeenth
embodiment, (graphically represented by a simple coil spring)
Fig. 25 shows a perspective side view of the eighteenth embodiment, having helical, torque transmitting
lashing.
Fig. 26 shows a perspective side view of the nineteenth embodiment, having helical, and longitudinal
lashing.
Figs. 27 - 30 show closeup side views of part of the upper section of a tower/driveshaft illustrating
alternative lashing configurations, applicable to many of the embodiments described herein:
Fig. 27 shows a closeup view of part of the upper section of a tower driveshaft of the eighteenth
embodiment, having helical lashing.
Fig. 28 shows a closeup view of part of the upper section of a tower driveshaft of the nineteenth
embodiment, additionally having longitudinal lashing.
Fig. 29 shows a closeup view of part of the upper section of a tower driveshaft of the twentieth
embodiment, additionally having reverse helical lashing.
Fig. 30 shows a closeup view of part of the upper section of a tower driveshaft of the twenty-first
embodiment, additionally having circumferential lashing.
Fig. 31 shows a perspective side view of the twenty-second embodiment, having a latticework
tower/driveshaft.
Fig. 32 shows a closeup perspective side view of the upper section of the latticework tower/driveshaft of
the twenty-second embodiment.
Fig. 33 shows a perspective side view of the base of the twenty-second embodiment, having a latticework
tower/driveshaft.
Fig. 34 shows a side view of the twenty-third embodiment, showing a tower/driveshaft in profile,
depicting regions of varying longitudinal flexibility.
Fig. 35 shows a side view of the twenty-fourth embodiment, showing a tower/driveshaft in profile,
depicting regions of varying longitudinal flexibility.
Fig. 36 shows an upper side perspective view of the windmill of the twenty-fifth embodiment, having a
single horizontal axis type rotor.
Fig. 37 shows an upper side perspective view of the windmill of the twenty-sixth embodiment, having a
vertical axis rotor, and a horizontal axis type rotor.
Fig, 38 shows an upper side perspective view of the windmill of the twenty-seventh embodiment, having
multiple vertical axis rotors, and multiple horizontal axis type rotors
Fig. 39 shows an upper side perspective view of the twenty-eighth embodiment, having multiple
horizontal axis, and multiple vertical axis rotors, supported by guy wires.
Fig. 40 shows an upper side perspective view of the twenty-ninth embodiment, having multiple
horizontal axis type rotors, and supported by guy wires.
Fig. 41 shows an upper side perspective view of the thirtieth embodiment, having a single horizontal axis
type rotor, supported by guy wires.
Fig. 42 shows the thirty first embodiment - a wind farm of wind turbines of the twenty-eighth
embodiment, interconnected through a shared grid of guy wires.
Fig. 43 shows an upwind side perspective view of a wind turbine of the thirty-second embodiment,
having an elongate vertical axis rotor, and multiple horizontal axis type rotors.
Fig. 44 shows a closeup view of the upper end of the elongate vertical axis rotor of the thirty-second
embodiment.
Fig. 45 shows an upwind side perspective view of a wind turbine of the thirty-third embodiment, having
elongate vertical axis type rotor blades extending along the entire length of the tower/driveshaft, attached
to the multiple horizontal axis type rotors.
Fig. 46 shows a closeup view of the tower/driveshaft of the thirty-third embodiment.
Fig. 47 shows an upwind side perspective view of a wind turbine of the thirty-fourth embodiment, having
elongate vertical axis type rotor blades extending along the entire length of the tower/driveshaft, attached
to the multiple horizontal axis type rotors, with no central shaft.
Fig. 48 shows a closeup view of the tower/driveshaft of the thirty-fourth embodiment.
Fig. 49 shows an upwind side perspective view of a wind turbine of the thirty-fifth embodiment, having
elongate vertical axis type rotor blades extending along the entire length of the tower/driveshaft, attached
to the multiple horizontal axis type rotors, with no central shaft, and helical lashing
Fig. 50 shows a closeup view of the tower/driveshaft of the thirty-fifth embodiment.
Fig. 51 shows an upwind side view of the thirty-sixth embodiment, a windmill of the present invention
mounted atop a building, having both vertical and horizontal axis type rotor blades, with a distal end
hanging below the level of the base.
Fig. 52 is a closeup view of a section of the tower/driveshaft of the thirty-seventh embodiment, having
helically wrapped vertical axis blades.
Fig. 53 is a closeup view of a section of the tower/driveshaft of the thirty-eighth embodiment, having
reverse helically wrapped vertical axis blades.
Fig. 54 is a closeup view of a section of the tower/driveshaft of the thirty-ninth embodiment, having
reverse helically wrapped vertical axis blades, and helical lashing.
Fig. 55 is a closeup view of a section of the tower/driveshaft of the fortieth embodiment, having vertical
axis blades, helically wrapped, in both directions.
(The forty-first embodiment is not specifically illustrated, but refers back to Fig. 55 also.)
Fig. 56 is a closeup view of a section of the tower/driveshaft of the forty-second embodiment, having
helically wrapped vertical axis type blades, and longitudinal vertical axis blades.
Fig. 57 is a closeup view of a section of the tower/driveshaft of the forty-third embodiment, having
reverse helically wrapped vertical axis type blades, helical torque transmitting lashing, and longitudinal
vertical axis blades.
Fig. 58 is a closeup view of a section of the tower/driveshaft of the forty-fourth embodiment, having
vertical axis type blades, helically wrapped in both directions, as well as continuous longitudinal vertical
axis type blades.
Fig. 59 is a closeup view of a section of the tower/driveshaft of the forty-fifth embodiment, having
vertical axis type blades, helically wrapped in both directions, as well as extending longitudinally, as in
the previous embodiment, but with no central shaft.
Fig. 60 is a downwind side view of the forty-sixth embodiment, having a cylindrical lower section
composed of a hexagonal array of aerodynamic struts comprising vertical axis type blades, and an upper
section having horizontal axis type blades.
Fig. 61 is a closer view of the forty-sixth embodiment, where the lower section meets the middle section.
Fig. 62 is a closer view of the forty-sixth embodiment, where the lower section meets the base.
Fig. 63 is an even closer view of the forty-sixth embodiment, where the lower section meets the middle
section.
(The forty seventh embodiment is not illustrated, but refers back to Figs. 60 - 63)
Fig. 64 shows an extreme closeup view of the forty-eighth embodiment, having a cylindrical lower
section comprised of a triangular array of aerodynamic struts comprising vertical axis type blades, where
the lower section meets the middle section.
Fig. 65 shows a closeup view of the forty-ninth embodiment, having a cantilevered tail.
Fig. 66 shows an upwind side perspective view of the windmill of the fiftieth embodiment, having
multiple cantilevered tails.
Fig. 67 shows a closeup view of the upper section of the tower/driveshaft of the fifty-first embodiment,
comprising a lifting body.
Fig. 68 shows an upwind side perspective view of the windmill of the fifty-second embodiment, having a
lifting body and multiple cantilevered tails.
Fig. 69 is a closeup view of the upper section of the tower/driveshaft of the fifty-third embodiment,
having cantilevered tails, cantilevered noses, pulled toward the base by a tension transmission means.
Fig. 70 is a perspective side view of the tower/driveshaft of the fifty-third embodiment, having
cantilevered tails, and cantilevered noses, pulled toward the base by a tension transmission means.
Fig. 71 is a closeup view of the upper section of the tower/driveshaft of the fifty-fourth embodiment having a lifting body, cantilevered tails, and cantilevered noses, pulled toward the base by a tension transmission means.
Fig. 72 is a closeup view of the upper section of the tower/driveshaft of the fifty-fifth embodiment having cantilevered tails with adjustable elevator surfaces.
Fig. 73 is a closeup view of the upper section of the tower/driveshaft of the fifty-sixth embodiment having tilting rotors rotationally coupled to tilting cantilevered tails.
Fig. 74 is an upwind side perspective view of the fifty-seventh embodiment, comprising multiple horizontal axis type rotors, and a buoyant lifting body.
Fig. 75 is a closeup view of the buoyant lifting body of the fifty-seventh embodiment. Fig. 76 is an upwind side perspective view of the fifty-eighth embodiment, comprising multiple horizontal axis type rotors having buoyant blades.
Fig. 77 is a downwind perspective view from above, looking down the tower/driveshaft of the fifty-eighth embodiment.
Fig. 78 shows a closeup view of the base of the fifty-eighth embodiment.
Fig. 79 shows a downwind perspective side view of the fifty-ninth embodiment, having buoyant horizontal axis type rotors and a directionally compliant base.
Fig. 80 shows a downwind perspective side view of the sixtieth embodiment, having multiple horizontal axis type rotors, a buoyant lifting body, and a directionally compliant base.
Fig. 81 is a downwind perspective view from above, looking down the tower/driveshaft of the sixty-first embodiment, comprising multiple horizontal axis type rotors having buoyant blades, and helical torque transmission lashing sequentially connected to multiple armatures.
Fig. 82 shows a closeup view of the base of the sixty-first embodiment, showing the lashing attached to the lowest armature.
Fig. 83 shows a downwind perspective side view of the sixty-second embodiment, having multiple horizontal axis type rotors having buoyant blades, and a directionally compliant base. Fig. 84 shows a downwind perspective side view of the sixty-third embodiment, having multiple horizontal axis type rotors connected by helical torque transmitting lashing, a buoyant lifting body, and a directionally compliant base.
Fig. 85 is a side perspective view of the sixty-fourth embodiment, having buoyant horizontal axis type rotors, held by torque transmitting lashing, with no central shaft.
Fig. 86 shows an upwind side perspective view of the sixty-fifth embodiment, having a buoyant lifting body, and multiple horizontal axis type rotors suspended by torque transmitting lashing. Fig. 87 shows a closeup view of the buoyant lifting body of the sixty-fifth embodiment. Fig. 88 is a downwind side perspective view from above, of the sixty-sixth embodiment, having buoyant rotor blades tethered by torque transmitting lashing, and a directionally compliant base.
Fig. 89 is a downwind side perspective view from above, of the sixty-seventh embodiment, having a
buoyant lifting body, multiple horizontal axis type rotors suspended by torque transmitting lashing, and a
directionally compliant base.
Fig. 90 shows a dovrawind side perspective view from above of the sixty-eighth embodiment, having
multiple horizontal axis type rotors with buoyant blades, helically wrapped torque transmitting lashing,
elongate lashing, and a directionally compliant base with means for directional bias.
Fig. 91 shows a downwind side perspective view from above of the sixty-ninth embodiment, having
multiple horizontal axis type rotors with buoyant blades, helically wrapped torque transmitting lashing,
elongate lashing, a directionally compliant base with means for directional bias, and no central shaft.
Fig. 92 shows a downwind side perspective view from above, of the seventieth embodiment, having
horizontal axis type rotors, which may be buoyant, mounted on tilting hubs, steerable by elongate lashing
attached to an armature, rotationally supported by a directionally compliant base, as influenced by a
means for directional bias.
Fig. 93 is a closeup view of the base of the seventieth embodiment.
Fig. 94 shows a downwind side perspective view from above, of the seventy-first embodiment, having
rotors mounted on tilting hubs, steerable by elongate lashing, an armature, and a directionally compliant
base with means for directional bias, further having the load coaxially mounted directly to the upper
section of the tower/driveshaft.
Fig. 95 is a closeup view of the base of the seventy-first embodiment.
Fig. 96 shows a downwind side perspective view from above, of the seventy-second embodiment, having
rotors mounted on tilting hubs, steerable by elongate vertical axis blades, an armature, and a directionally
compliant base with means for directional bias.
Fig. 97 is a closeup view of the base of the seventy-second embodiment.
Fig. 98 is an aerial side perspective view of the lower end of the windmill installation of the seventy-third
embodiment, having rotors mounted on tilting hubs, steerable by elongate vertical axis blades, an
armature, a directionally compliant base with means for directional bias, and torque fransmission lashing
provided with slack uptake means.
Fig. 99 is an aerial side perspective view of the seventy-fourth embodiment, having buoyant horizontal
axis type rotors connected by buoyant, elongate vertical axis type blades, an armature, a directionally
compliant base, and torque transmission lashing, with no central shaft.
Fig. 100 is an aerial side perspective view of the seventy-fifth embodiment, having buoyant horizontal
axis type rotors connected by buoyant, elongate vertical axis type blades, an armature, a central shaft, and
a directionally compliant base.
Fig. 101 is an aerial side perspective view of the seventy-sixth embodiment, having buoyant horizontal
axis type rotors connected by buoyant, elongate vertical axis type blades, helically wrapped to transmit
torque to an armature, and a directionally compliant base.
Fig. 102 shows an upwind side perspective view from below, of the seventy-seventh embodiment having
buoyant horizontal axis type rotors connected by buoyant, elongate reverse helically wrapped vertical
axis type blades, torque transmission lashing, and a directionally compliant base.
Fig. 103 is an aerial side perspective view of the seventy-eighth embodiment, having buoyant horizontal
axis type rotors connected by buoyant, elongate vertical axis type blades, helically wrapped to transmit
torque to an armature, a directionally compliant base, with the inclusion of the central shaft.
Fig. 104 shows an upwind side perspective view from below, of the seventy-ninth embodiment having
buoyant horizontal axis type rotors connected by buoyant, elongate reverse helically wrapped vertical
axis type blades, torque fransmission lashing, and a directionally compliant base.
Fig. 105 is an aerial side perspective view of the eightieth embodiment, having buoyant horizontal axis
type rotors connected by buoyant, elongate vertical axis type blades, helically wrapped in both directions,
and a directionally compliant base.
(The eighty-first embodiment is not specifically illustrated, but refers back to Fig. 105.)
Fig. 106 shows an oblique side view of the eighty-second embodiment, having the generator near the
center of an elongate driveshaft with attached horizontal axis rotors.
Fig. 107 shows a side view of the eighty-second embodiment, illustrating a flow of wind impinging upon
the turbine.
Fig. 108 shows the eighty-third embodiment from the side, with an equal number of rotors upwind and
downwind of the cantilevered bearing means, with a downwind horizontal offset means serving to
maintain aim into the wind.
Fig. 109 shows the eighty-fourth embodiment, with a very long downwind section of the driveshaft,
balanced by a counterweight on the upwind section. A spring and shock absorber to govern vertical
furling behavior are shown.
Fig. 110 is a closeup of the cantilevered bearing means and load of the eighty-fourth embodiment,
showing a closer view of the furling mechanism.
Fig. Ill is a side view of the eighty-fifth embodiment having active aiming mechanisms in both the
vertical and horizontal planes.
Fig. 112 is an oblique front view of a turbine of the eighty-sixth embodiment, having an offset angle in
the horizontal plane, as implemented by a fluid-reactive fin extending to one side.
Fig. 113 is a side closeup view of the cantilevered bearing means of the eighty-seventh embodiment,
wherein an upwind driveshaft and a downwind driveshaft counterrotate.
Fig. 114 shows an oblique front view of the eighty-eighth embodiment, having multiple turbines
mounted on a single rotating frame.
Fig. 115 is a side view of the eighty-ninth embodiment - a turbine having muhiple horizontal axis rotors
mounted along a driveshaft, supported by a longitudinally extended support frame that reaches out
partway along the shaft to support it.
Fig. 116 is a side view of the ninetieth embodiment, wherein the longitudinally extended support frame is
comprised predominantly of struts.
Fig. 117 is a side view of the ninety-first embodiment, wherein the longitudinally extended support frame
is comprised predominantly of guy wires.
Fig. 118 is a side view of the ninety-second embodiment, wherein the longitudinally extended support
frame is comprised of both struts and guy wires.
Part Numbers in the Drawing Figures:
1. surface
2. base means
3. mounting means
4. bearing support means
5. cantilevered bearing means
6. load
7. lower section of tower/driveshaft
8. middle section of tower/driveshaft
9. upper section of tower/driveshaft

10. resilient tower/driveshaft or driveshaft as a whole
11. bearing means
12. horizontal axis type blade
13. horizontal axis type rotor
14. power takeoff means
15. axle
16. armature means
17. ...
18. torque transmission helical lashing means (helically wraps around tower/driveshaft, from bottom to top, in direction of rotation, transmitting torque in tension.)
19. reverse helical lashing means (helically wraps around shaft top to bottom, in direction of rotation) (wraps in opposite direction of 18)

20. continuous longitudinal lashing means (substantially parallel to shaft)
21. latitudinal lashing means (substantially perpendicular to shaft)
22. cantilevered tail means
23. tail boom means
24. tail lifting surface means (horizontal stabilizer)
25. passive downwind tail orientation means (vertical stabilizer)
26. cantilevered boom rotational bearing means
27. resilient spring means
28. cantilevered nose boom means
29. linear tension transmission means (shown as a cable)
30. tension adjustment means (shown as a winch)
31. lifting body
32. buoyant lifting body
33. suspension bearing means
34. damping means (shock absorber)
35. horizontally rotatable azimuthal directional orientation means (such as a turntable or yaw bearing)
36. elevation angle control means
37. lifting means or lifting mechanism
38. pivot means
39. resilient, directionally flexible, non-rotating mounting interface (having a bias toward vertical) (shown as a simple spring)

40. longitudinally oriented, vertical axis type blade (substantially linear blade that operates on the general principle of a Darrieus type blade)
41. longitudinally oriented, vertical axis type blade that doubles as linear lashing or otherwise fijnctions as linear structural means
42. vertical axis type (Darrieus type) blade that helically wraps around the structure, proceeding upward from the base end, in the direction of rotation, whereby it can also serve as helical diagonal lashing means, transmitting torque downward in tension
43. vertical axis type (Darrieus type) blade that wraps around the structure, proceeding from top to bottom, in a substantially helical manner, in the direction of rotation, that serves as helical diagonal structural means, transmitting torque downward in compression
44. vertical axis (Darrieus type) rotor
45. adjustable elevator surface
46. elevator actuating means
47. elevator control means
48. tilting hub
49. upwind section of driveshaft
50. downwind section of driveshaft
51. circumferentially oriented strut (perpendicular to tower/driveshaft)
52. cylindrical repeating geometric pattern of vertical axis type rotor blades (generally cylindrical continuous geometrical lattice comprising struts having an airfoil cross-section, disposed so as to fiinction as Darrieus-type vertical-axis rotor blades.
53. open latticework structure comprising tower/driveshaft
54. a diagonal strut comprising part of a latticework structure
55. guy wire
56. upper bearing hub means for guy wires
57. horizontal guy wire between units
58. ...
59. slack uptake means (elastic or resilient spring means)
60. non-rotating directionally compliant support means (gimbal mounting frame)
61. means for directional bias (usually toward vertical) (passive (spring) or powered)
62. steering means (rudder) (for embodiments featuring a boat)
63. directionally flexible rotational coupling means (universal joint)
64. directionally flexible non-rotating coupling means
65. non-rotating mount means for load (attached to non-rotating part of load, resists torque applied to load by rotating tower/driveshaft, so the load fiinctions properly, rather than simply rotating as a whole)
66. continuous power conduit means (example shown is an electric cable)
67. ballast counterweight means
68. buoyant upper section of axle (hollow tube, marine installation)
69. anchor means (shown as a simple chain)
70. armature rotational bearing means
71. power conversion unit
72. combination generator/reversible motor
73. first clutch means
74. second clutch means
75. underwater propeller driveshaft
76. underwater propeller driveshaft bearing means
77. underwater propeller
78. power storage means (shown as a bank of electrical batteries)
79. boat
80. building
81. brake means
82. transmission means including reverse gear
90. tower means
91. outer rotating half of load 6
92. inner rotating half of load 6 (turns in opposite direction o f 91)
93. supporting armature means for moimting multiple turbines
94. fluid reactive offset angle inducing means (side fin)
95. downwind offset extension means
96. active azimuthal directional orientation control means
97. streamlined mounting pylon
98. downward hanging distal section of tower/driveshaft
99. distal end of tower/driveshaft

100. streamlined nacelle
101. longitudinally extended supporting frame
102. oblique longitudinal strut i03. oblique longitudinal guy wire

104. circumferential guy wire
105. radial strut
106. passive aerodymamic azimuthal aiming means (tail fm)
Preferred Embodiments:
1. In the first embodiment, referring to Figs. 1, 2, and 3, a rotating tower/driveshaft 10 comprising a resilient elongate structure, such as a flexible pole, that serves as both a tower and a driveshaft, extends substantially upward from a base means 2 located substantially at surface level.
The base means 2, comprises a mounting means 3, a cantilevered bearing means 5, a power takeoff means 14, and a load 6. A closer cutaway view of such a base 2, as in Fig. 78, shows that the cantilevered bearing means 5 may comprise, for example, a substantially vertical axle 15, rotationally supported by two rotational bearing means 11, said bearing means 11 being located substantially proximate either end of said axle 15. Radial loads on the bearings can be substantially reduced by making the shaft 15 as long as is practical, thereby separating these bearings as far apart as is practical, so as to enhance their effective, combined leverage. The bearings are securely retained by a bearing support means 4, which in this case comprises an enclosing, rigid, vertical tube.
Cantilevered bearing means 5, securely so attached to mounting means 3, supports the tower/driveshaft 10 in a manner that allows the tower/driveshaft to freely rotate about its own longitudinal axis. The structure of the base means, including the mounting means 3 and the cantilevered bearing means 5, is sufficiently robust to support the weight of the tower/driveshaft 10 and its attached rotors, in addition to the aerodynamic loads generated thereupon by the wind, as exerted through the leverage afforded by the length of the tower/driveshaft. The base means may be mounted at a surface in such a manner that the cantilevered bearing means 5 extends below the surface, to add stabilty while reducing surface clutter. The lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft is coaxially coupled to, and rotatably supported by, the cantilevered bearing means 5, meaning that the tower/driveshaft is securely held, in both position and direction of projection, at its base, yet is free to rotate about its own longitudinal axis. This lower section 7 therefore emerges fr'om the base substantially perpendicular to the surface, serving to achieve distance from the surface, so as to reach the higher speed winds found away from the surface, like the tower of a conventional windmill. With increasing height, the tower/driveshaft begins to bend in a progressively more downwind direction, due to both its own weight, the weight of its attached rotors, and the force of
the wind. The middle section 8 of the tower/driveshaft serves both to achieve additional distance from the surface and, by its bending deflection, to transition toward a more horizontal direction of projection. The tower/driveshaft may vary in thickness along its length, or be otherwise tailored for a specific bending response. In this embodiment the tower/driveshaft is thickest at the base, tapering to a more narrow profile with increasing distance from the base, as does, for example, a fishing pole, becoming more constant in thickness toward its distal end 99.
A multiplicity of substantially horizontal axis type rotors 13 are coaxially attached at intervals to the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft. This upper section 9 begins at a point where the shaft becomes sufficiently parallel to the wind for these rotors to effectively confribute toward its rotation; As the tower/driveshaft is naturally bent over in a downwind direction, the rotors become oriented substantially perpendicular to the direction of wind flow. The wind then causes the rotors to spin. With increasingly rapid rotation, the disk swept by each rotor becomes more opaque to the wind, adding to its effective aerodynamic drag, and depending on its angle, providing lift, ftirther influencing the bending behavior of the tower/driveshaft.
It is a classic blunder in wind turbine design to closely place one rotor directly in front of another, since the wind shadow of the upwind rotor renders the downwind rotor less effective, and the high pressure region in front of the downwind rotor even slightly reduces the amount of wind flowing through the upwind rotor, by causing back pressure, impairing its effectiveness as well. The present invention is to be distinguished from those which simply cluster multiple horizontal axis rotors on a single short horizontal driveshaft, stacked too closely for new air to enter the stream between rotors, in disregard of wind shadow effects. In the present invention, the rotors are placed far enough apart that undisturbed air from the surroimding airstream has some chance to dilute the wind shadow from one rotor before that air makes it to the next rotor. Also, most of the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft is not exactly horizontal, but rather at some slight angle to horizontal, so that each rotor is not exactly downwind from the preceding rotor, but offset either above or below, or even to the side, depending on how the shaft bends. The tilt of any rotor also fortunately acts to deflect its wind shadow away from the succeeding rotor. In addition, the entire upper section 9 of the serpentine tower/driveshaft may wave, swing, or otherwise actively bend, further exposing the affected rotors to a wider section of undisturbed airstream. Such a waving motion can also serve to raise the relative speed at which the air impinges upon the rotor blades. The gyroscopic effect of each rotor 13, however, tends to stabilize the shaft in the region where that rotor is attached. The aggregate stabilizing effect is quite significant, substantially reducing wild swings and gyrations of the shaft in gusty conditions, making for smoother power generation, reduced material fatigue and wear, and increasing safety. The net sum of the power confributed by all of the rotors turns the entire tower/driveshaft 10. The shaft rotates about its own axis, along its entire length.
The resulting collective power may be drawn off and utilized by a load 6 at the base end of the shaft. In this embodiment, the load 6 comprises an electrical generator, coupled to the shaft through a power takeoff means 14 as illusfrated by the set of gears shown. Since this load 6 is not, as an entire unit,
rotatably mounted, as is the load of conventional horizontal axis windmills, the power may be conveniently conducted away from the load 6 by a continuous power conduit means 66, which in this case comprises an electric cable. If the load were a pump or compressor, the continuous power conduit means would comprise a hose, pipe, or tube. Other suitable continuous power conduit means could include fiber optic cable, or a driveshaft, chain, belt, or other mechanical means. This new horizontal axis type wind turbine therefore has two huge advantages previously reserved for vertical axis windmills;
that of having a stationary load at ground level, which is clearly a distinct improvement over prior art horizontal axis windmills. Since the load need not revolve to follow the direction of the wind, no slip rings are needed to remove electrical power from the installation. Since the load need not be supported by the tower, the tower can be dramatically less robust, therefore lighter and less expensive. Installation and periodic maintenance of the load is safer and less complicated at ground level.
that of responding equally well to wind from any direction, with no need for an active yaw control mechanism, since this downwind machine is naturally self-aiming, inherently comprising passive downwind orientation behavior, and therefore inherently comprising passive downwind orientation means.
Such a load 6 may also be directly driven by the rotating tower/driveshaft, as in Figs 4, 5, and 6. Whether the load is directly or indirectly driven, the advantages over prior art horizontal axis turbines therefore include, but are not limited to:
that such a simple conduit means as a cable or hose is sufficient to remove power from this self-orienting, downwind machine, with no slip rings nor active yaw control being necessary, and; that the tower can be made less robust since it need support only itself and the attached rotors, and not the generator and yaw confrol apparatus;
that the tower can be made still less robust, since it is free to bend, and;
that a multiplicity of small rotors weigh less than a single, similar, larger rotor, while subtending the same area, therefore harvesting the same amount of wind with less total rotor mass, further allowing an even less robust tower;
that these smaller rotors turn faster than a larger one, requiring a less robust driveshaft for the same power delivered;
that this faster-spinning, less robust driveshaft requires less robust bearings to support it; that this faster-spinning, less robust driveshaft requires a less robust gearbox, if any, to handle the lower torque of this faster-spmning, less robust shaft,
that this increased rotational rate reduces the amount of, or even eliminates the need for, ratio gearing needed to raise the rotation speed of the shaft up to a speed that is suitable for driving a generator; since it already turns faster due to the smaller rotor diameter. It is well known in windmill design that turbines having smaller diameter rotors can often effectively drive an alternator with no gearbox, due to the high rotation rate of a smaller rotor, for a given wind speed.
With the gearbox eliminated, as in the next embodiment, a wind turbine of this general design, with all of its diverse fiinctions and advantages, can comprise as few as one single, flexible, rotating, moving part. Such a turbine is ideal for atmospheric use, but a turbine of this general design may also be driven by another moving fluid, such as, for example, an ocean current.
2. In Fig. 4, an alternate base 2 is shown. The load 6 is directly driven, securely mounted to mounting means 3, directly in line with the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft, above the cantilevered bearing means 5. As in the base of the first embodiment, the cantilevered bearing means 5 extends below the surface, and the fluent power may be transmitted from the load, here a generator, via continuous power conduit means 66, here comprising a simple electric cable. Having no gearbox, this wind turbine comprises but a single, flexible, rotating, moving part.
3. In Fig. 5, the entire base means 2 is ideal for being installed above a surface. As in the previous embodiments, the cantilevered bearing means 5 and the load 6 are both mounted to mounting means 3. The load 6 is coaxial with, and directly below, the cantilevered bearing means 5, and is directly driven by axle 15.
4. In Fig. 6, the cantilevered bearing means 5 comprises two rotational bearing means 11 disposed at opposite ends of a shaft 15. The load 6 is located between the bearings, above one and below the other, directly driven by the shaft. All components are secured by mounting means 3 in an above-surface, vertically stacked, coaxial configuration. Increasing the distance between the bearings 11 reduces the radial loading upon them.

5. Figs. 7, 8 and 10 show a version of the present invention having a base 2 designed for subsurface installation, having two-bladed rotors, and a directly driven load 6, also located below the surface, within the rigid cylindrical housing provided by bearing support means 4. Referring to Fig. 8, cantilevered bearing means 5 comprises two rotational bearing means 11, separated by an axle 15, which is rotatably retained by the bearings. Load 6 is directly driven by axle 15, being coaxially coupled thereto, and is located below cantilevered bearing means 5. The power may be conveniently drawn off by means of continuous power conduit means 66, which in this case comprises an electric cable, since the load comprises an electric generator. Referring to Fig. 10, Each horizontal-axis-type rotor 13 has two blades, and is offset by 90 degrees from the previous rotor. Other numbers of blades per rotor, or amounts of angular offset, are also to be considered within the scope of the present invention.
6. Fig. 9 shows an alternative subsurface base means similar to that of the fifth embodiment, in Fig. 8, except that the load 6 is disposed between the two rotational bearing means 11, as opposed to below them, taking up less overall space while maintaining the distance between the bearings 11. This
particular base configuration was chosen for the sake of example only, to illusfrate the wide variety of types of bases possible, within the overall scope of the invention, and need not necessarily be specifically associated with any particular rotor configuration.
7. Fig. 11 presents an alternative rotor blade configuration: three-bladed horizontal axis type rotors 13,
sequentially offset by 60 degrees. (Due to symmetry, it would be equally accurate to say that they simply
alternate in direction, and are therefore offset by 180 degrees.) The key concept here is that the rotors
need not be perfectly aligned from one to the next. The rotors may be originally mounted in this offset
way, or such a configuration may simply result from a dynamic twisting of the upper section 9 of the
tower/driveshaft 10 caused by the torque exerted upon the rotors by the wind, since the tower/driveshaft
10 will naturally have some torsional flexibility.
8. In Fig. 12, single-bladed rotors alternately project in opposite directions from the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft 10. (They are sequentially offset by 180 degrees.) Though any small region of the tower/driveshaft may be unbalanced, the shaft as a whole maintains overall balance. Each blade 12 is pulled outward by centrifugal force, bending the shaft outward slightly at that point. This resilient deformation of the tower/driveshaft allows each rotor to sweep a slightly enlarged arc, harvesting more total wind energy. Single bladed rotors weigh less, and may produce less wind shadow effects on downwind rotors, than regular, balanced, multi-bladed rotors. It is not absolutely necessary that each rotor be designed m an attempt to extract the fiill capacity factor of energy allowed by the betz limit; Considering that the rotors encounter the wind in somewhat of a serial manner, available power missed by one rotor may well be salvaged by a downwind rotor.
9. In Fig. 13, single-bladed rotors project from the shaft in a helical pattern, at increments of 60 degrees. Such a configuration may encourage the entire tower/driveshaft to spin in a helical mode. The effect at any one point, as in the eighth embodiment, is that the rotor sweeps an enlarged arc, encountering more wind. One or more regions of stability, or harmonic nodes, having a more balanced rotor configuration, such as that of Fig. 10, may be combined on the same tower/driveshaft with a configuration such as this. One can quickly see that a wide variety of rotor configurations, combinations, and permutations thereof, are possible, within the scope of the present invention.
10. Figs. 14 and 15 show a floating marine installation. Here the mounting means 3 is buoyant, being less
dense than water, and floats at the surface 1 of a body of water. The bearing support means 4, here
comprising a rigid hollow tube, extends below the water surface, being held down by the weight of
ballast counterweight 67, attached to the lower end of the tube. The base means 2 is moored by anchor
means 69, graphically represented as simple chains, extending from the mounting means 3 downward
toward an unseen point of attachment below. Load 6, here shown as an electrical generator, is located at
the top of the tube that serves as bearing support means 4, allowing easy access for service, and minimizing the likelihood of damage by water. The power may be conveniently drawn off by means of continuous power conduit means 66, which here is an electric cable.
The cantilevered bearing means 5 comprises an axle 15 and two bearings 11, securely retained within the hollow tube comprising bearing support means 4, below the load 6. At the bottom, the ballast counterweight 67 serves to counteract the combined forces of gravity and the wind upon the tower/driveshaft and its attached rotors, as exerted through the leverage of its length. This counterweight, by being pulled downward, acts to maintain a substantially upward aim to the direction in which the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft 10, projects from the surface 1. As in the previous embodiments, these same forces must be bourne by the bearings 11 of cantilevered bearing means 5. Increasing the distance between the bearings helps to reduce the magnitude of the radial loading thereupon. Since this floating base with attached ballast counterweight is not hard mounted, and therefore has some freedom of directional aim, the entire assembly will tend to be naturally tilted in a downwind direction, with the degree of tilt commensurate with wind speed. Some advantages of marine installations are that higher speed winds are generally found over bodies of water, since there are no obstacles to slow it, that no excavation of earth is needed for the base to extend below the surface, and that valuable land is not used.
11. Fig. 16 shows a similar floating base similar to the previous, tenth embodiment, with two differences:
a. The load 6 is located below the bearings, instead of above.
b. The counterweight is replaced by an additional anchor means 69, attached to a convenient point
near the lowest part of the entire assembly, which in this configuration happens to be the lower end of the
substantially tubular bearing support means 4. This third point of attachment helps this base to resist
tilting with the wind.
These two particular differences from the tenth embodiment are only exemplary in nature, illustrative of such differences that can comprise a wide range of possible marine installations of the present invention.
12. Fig. 17: In this surprisingly simple version of the present invention, the axle 15, is comparatively
enlarged in the radial dimension, and comprises a single rotating cylinder having a buoyant upper
section 68, which is less dense than water, and therefore floats, and a heavy lower section comprising a
ballast counterweight 67, which is significantly more dense than water, and therefore sinks. Virtually all
of the functions of the bearings 11, the bearing support means 4, and the mounting means 3, are here
served by the buoyant axle with its counterweighted end, and the water in which the axle floats. These
functions include, but are not limited to:
acting as the cantilevered bearing means 5, by rotatably supporting the tower/driveshaft and its attached rotors, in a substantially upwardly projecting direction, against the forces of gravity and the wind, as exerted through the leverage afforded by the length of the tower/driveshaft.
maintaining a substantially upright bias to the angular orientation of the tower/driveshaft by the natural ambient hydraulic pressure of the water, which exerts an upward force by seeking to displace the buoyant upper end of the axle, while the lower end is pulled downward by its own weight, including the rotating ballast counterweight 67 under the influence of gravity. For this reason the water itself is labeled 4, since it serves as the bearing support means.
allowing full rotational freedom, as provided by the liquid interface between the cylindrical surface of the axle and the water in which it floats. For this reason, this cylindrical surface, comprising a single elongate liquid bearing, is labeled as bearing 11 in Fig. 17.
The lower end of the axle is coaxially coupled to the load 6, in this case an electrical generator. The load 6 is essentially stationary, being attached to non-rotating mount means 65, as moored by anchor means 69, so that power may be conveniently drawn off through a continuous power conduit means 66, in this case a simple electrical cable.
The extremely important point to grasp here is that the highly stressed bearings 11 of the cantilevered bearing means 5 in previous embodiments, are entirely replaced by the floating cylindrical axle with its counterweighted lower end, and the water in which they float. Both the axial and radial loads previously borne by the bearings 11 in previous embodiments are here borne by the water itself. This means that this entire embodiment comprises just a single, floating, moving part, plus an attached load (generator) which depends therefrom. Without the attached load, since no solid part moves against any other solid part, this unitary rotating wind turbine structure could actually be said to have zero moving parts, at least insofar as parts in mutual contact moving with respect to one another, although without a load, it would also seemingly have little or no purpose, and with no way to moor it, it would eventually be blown away. It is nonetheless possible that a use could be found for such a non-anchored apparatus, for instance as a migrating buoy, or that some type of load that simply rotates along with the structure, perhaps interacting with the water, the geomagnetic field, or otherwise utilizing such rotation, could be found. The point is that this new class of flexible windmill, having only a single moving part, is in this embodiment, made yet even simpler, with the need for the manufactured main bearings 11 of previous embodiments completely eliminated.
The bearings of the load itself may be greatly less robust than the bearings 11 of the cantilevered bearing means 5, since they need only bear the stresses due to the power transmitted by the rotation of the shaft, and of mooring the assembly against being blown away, but need not generally provide the major portion of the support of the structure, since that function is provided by the floating, buoyant axle with its counterweighted lower end. Such a floating, counterweighted axle configuration is easily fabricated by, for example, filling the bottom end of a hollow tube with gravel, sand, or concrete.
Of course the types of marine installations of the present invention represent just a sampling of those possible. Other possibilities include being directly moored to the seafloor, or, as will be disclosed in the next embodiment, not being moored to anything at all!
13. Fig. 18 shows a propeller-driven boat 79, whose underwater propeller 77 is directly powered by the
rotation of a windmill of the present invention. The cantilevered bearing means 5 is mounted directly to
the boat, and supports the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft with rotational freedom, in a
substantially vertical orientation. The propeller is driven by the propeller driveshaft 75, which is held by
a propeller driveshaft bearing means 76. The propeller driveshaft 75 is in this case flexible, and forms a
rotational coupling between the propeller and the tower/driveshaft, depending coaxially from the lower
end of the cantilevered bearing means 5, then curving back to make the directional transition to the
substantially horizontal axis underwater propeller 77. In this embodiment, the entire driveline, including
the propeller 77, and indeed even the hull of the boat itself, can be considered, in a sense, to comprise the
load 6. A steering means 62 is graphically represented as a simple rudder, ft is interesting to note that,
unlike conventional sailing craft, this boat has no trouble sailing directly into the wind! In fact, the
power extracted from the wind is greater when traveling upwind than downwind, due to increased
relative wind speed and consequently increased apparent volumetric flow of air. Of course this is a
simplified illustration, for sake of example only, with no provision for stopping, or a reverse gear
illustrated, though such are well within the known art of marine drivetrains.
Also, note should be taken that, while not illustrated, it is possible to mount several such windmills on the same watercraft, within the scope of the present invention, even projecting in different directions to avoid mutual entanglement.
14. Fig. 19 illustrates an example of a more usable marine drivetrain, for being mounted in a boat, having a
power conversion unit (PCU) 71 installed between the rotating tower/driveshaft, as supported by the
cantilevered bearing means, above, and the propeller below. The PCU 71 is driven by the axle 15, which
is itself rotationally coupled to the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft, being essentially an extension
thereof, rotationally held by cantilevered bearing means 5. The PCU comprises a brake means 81, and a
typical marine fransmission means including reverse gear 82, which transmission 82 also serves to
transfer rotation from the substantially vertical axle 15 to the substantially horizontal prop shaft 75. The
brake 81 may be used to slow or stop the rotation of the tower/driveshaft, and therefore may be used to
control power during maneuvering, in a similar manner to that of a throttle being used to attenuate the
power of an engine. Shifting to and from reverse gear is also best accomplished under little or no power,
therefore application of the brake allows shifting to occur when necessary. The brake 81 also allows the
craft to be "parked", with the tower/driveshaft m a nonrotating state, and can therefore serve to protect
the tower/driveshaft from damage in excessively high winds.
IS. Fig. 20 illustrates an example of an even more versatile, and sophisticated marine drivetrain, a wind/electric hybrid drive. In this embodiment, the Power Conversion Unit 71 comprises a first clutch means 73, a controllable, combination generator/reversible motor means 72, and a second clutch means 74. A continuous power conduit means 66 cormects the generator/motor 72 to the power storage means 78, which in this case comprises a bank of electrical batteries. (If the generator/motor produced, for example, compressed air instead of electricity, the power storage means would comprise a high pressure air storage tank.)
This drivetrain is capable of several modes of operation:
a. The first mode is simple sailing, as in the previous two embodiments, with the rotation of the
tower/driveshaft 10 directly powering the propeller 77. Both clutches are engaged, and the
motor/generator is switched to a neutral state so as to offer no electromagnetic resistance to rotation.
Such sailing can proceed in any direction, no matter what the direction of the wind.
b. The second mode is sailing with both clutches 73, 74 engaged, with the motor/generator
switched to a generating mode that extracts only a portion of the rotational power as electricity, allowing
the rest to drive the propeller 77. In such a mode, the PCU (Power Conversion Unit) 71 functions as an
Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), and mamtains the batteries 78 in a charged state, and/or contributes power
to operate lighting, navigational instruments, computers, or electrical appliances while under way.
c. In a third mode, the first clutch 73 is engaged, while the second clutch 74 is disengaged. The
generator/motor 72 is caused to rotate by the rotation of the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft, as
transmitted by the axle 15 through the first clutch means 73. The generator/motor 72 acts in its generator
mode to charge the energy storage means 78, for later use. Since the second clutch means 74 is
disengaged, no power is transmitted to the propeller 77 below, so the boat can actually harvest wind
energy while moored. The stored energy may be used to power lights and other appliances while moored
or later while underway, and/or for powered cruising.
d. Mode four: Sailing with power assist: The wind causes the tower/driveshaft to rotate, providing
power to the drivetrain. Both clutches are engaged, and the generator/motor 72 acts as a motor,
providing additional power to the drivetrain, while draining the batteries 78. The propeller receives both
the power of the instant wind, and power stored in the batteries from previous wind, allowing faster
travel. This feature allows cruising to continue at full speed, even when winds die down.
e. Powered cruising under electric drive only, with the upper clutch 73 disengaged, and the lower
clutch 74 engaged. The underwater propeller 77 is powered by the motor/generator 72 acting as a motor,
in the manner of a conventional electric boat, and the tower/driveshaft, with its attached rotors, does not
contribute power.
f Powered operation in reverse, with the upper clutch 73 disengaged, the lower clutch 74 engaged,
and the generator/motor operating as a motor in reverse mode, supplying power to rotate the propeller in a reverse direction, for backing up and maneuvering during docking.
The batteries, being heavy, may also serve as useful ballast, if properly placed. For example many sailboats utilize a heavy keel, weighted with up to several tons of lead, to stabilize the craft and prevent capsizing. If this lead ballast is in the form of batteries, a dual purpose is served. If a boat is going to have a large amount of lead on board anyway, it might as well be utilized for its ability to store power, as well as for its weight.
The preceding three embodiments are but examples of the myriad of marine drives made possible by utilizing wind turbines of the present invention.
16. Figs. 21 and 22 show a directionally adjustable version of the present invention wherein the base means 2 comprises both azimuthal and elevational directional orientation means; Both the horizontal and vertical components of the direction in which the tower/driveshaft projects from the base means may be controlled. The horizontal, or azimuthal component, is in this case controlled by lateral rotation of the mounting means about horizontally rotatable azimuthal directional orientation means 35 (here shown as a simple turntable), upon which mounting means 3, as well as the rest of the base, is itself supported. The vertical component, or elevation angle, is controlled by an elevation angle control means 36, which in this case comprises a lifting mechanism 37, that raises and lowers the upper end of the bearing support means 4, the tubular enclosure that securely retains the bearings. This tubular bearing support means 4 pivots about a pivot means 38 at its lower end.
The exact aiming mechanism shown is exemplary only, serving to illustrate the point that the aim may be actively controlled in general. Many simple alternative mechanisms known in the art may be adapted. Note in Fig. 21 that the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft 10 is actually aimed into the wind at its base, but, proceeding upward, the middle section 8 of the tower/driveshaft begins to bend back with the wind, until, at sufficient distance from the base, the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft is eventually blown back into the opposite direction - downwind. Such aiming technique may be used, for example, in strong winds that might otherwise blow the tower/driveshaft and attached rotors too far over, resulting in ground contact. With the aim of the tower/driveshaft being pre-biased toward the wind, it reaches higher before being blown backward. In lighter winds, however, that don't bend the tower/driveshaft as severely, the base is allowed to freely rotate, so as to naturally aim itself in a downwind direction. Additional reasons for aiming the tower/driveshaft in a direction other than vertical include the avoidance of other objects, such as buildings or even other windmills, and bringing the system down for maintenance.
This embodiment exemplifies the strong tendency of the general flexible design disclosed herein to aim itself in the proper downwind direction, no matter what the direction of initial projection. The important point is not the specific mechanism of aiming the windmill, but the fact that it may be desirable, within the scope of the present invention, for the tower/driveshaft to project from the base in some direction other than vertical. Also to be considered within the scope of this embodiment, with reference to Fig. 22, are:
1. A version which the direction in which the tower/driveshaft projects from the base is simply fixed, firmly locked in some direction other than vertical. Reasons for this could include directionally consistent prevailing winds, being mounted on a ship, building, bridge, or other vehicle or structure, or the avoidance of objects such as buildings, landforms, or other windmills.
2. A version in which the elevation angle, at which the flexible tower/driveshaft projects from the base in the vertical plane is fixed at an angle other than exactly vertical, while free rotation of the base is allowed in the horizontal (azimuthal) plane. In this case the tower/driveshaft may emerge from the base means in a direction sufficiently parallel to the wind that horizontal-axis-type rotors may effectively be mounted quite close to the base end (as in the next embodiment, shown in Fig 23.) The freely rotating turntable base will naturally allow the entire tower/driveshaft to passively aim itself in a downwind direction. Projection at a sufficiently low angle even allows the middle section 8 of the tower/driveshaft, to effectively be eliminated. (This middle section normally serves the purpose of making the directional transition between the substantially vertical lower section of the shaft and the upper section with its attached rotors, by bending downwind.)
3. A version in which the elevation angle at which the tower/driveshaft projects from the base is fixed, and the azimuthal orientation (rotational in the horizontal plane) is controlled or adjustable, rather than freely rotating.
4. A version having a fixed directional aim in the horizontal (azimuthal) plane, while the elevation angle (direction in the vertical plane) at which the tower/driveshaft projects from the base is controlled or adjustable. Reasons for such a configuration could include installation in a location with directionally consistent winds that vary in sfrength, and having the ability to bring the system down for maintenance.
5. A version that can be operated in reverse, with a motor substituted for the load, so as to actually provide the motive interface to propel, and/or provide lift for, a vehicle.
17. Figs 23 and 24 show a version wherein the base means 2 comprises a resilient, directionally flexible, non-rotating mounting interface 39 with a bias toward vertical (spring). This mounting interface, represented graphically by a simple coil spring, has directional flexibility as in the previous embodiment, but is non-rotating, so that power may be conveniently drawn off by a Continuous Power Conduit Means 66, such as a simple electric cable. The cantilevered bearing means 5 is attached to the mounting means 3 by a resilient, directionally flexible, non-rotating mounting interface 39, graphically represented by a coil spring. Such a flexible interface allows the cantilevered bearing means 5 to be naturally aimed downwind by the tower/driveshaft. Both gravity and the force of the wind, as applied through the leverage of the tower/driveshaft 10 and the cantilevered bearing means 5, combine to force the resilient mounting interface 39 to yield to a position where the tower/driveshaft projects from the cantilevered bearing means in a substantially downwind direction. Depending on the magnitude of the deflection, the tower/driveshaft may emerge from the cantilevered bearing means in a direction sufficiently parallel to
the wind for the coaxially attached horizontal axis type rotors 13 to function effectively even when placed fairly close to the basal end of the tower/driveshaft. In such a case, the resilient interface may be considered to have at least partially replaced the middle section 8 of the tower/driveshaft of the first embodiment, whose purpose is to deflect in a downwind direction.
18. Figs. 25 and 27 show a rotating tower/driveshaft 10 as previously disclosed, extending downwind from a flexible mounting interface 39, shown for the sake of example. The key feature to note in this embodiment is the helical lashing means 18, three of which wind their way up the tower/driveshaft, from one rotor tip to the next, transmitting torque all the way from the most distant rotor back to the base of the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft, where the torque is taken up by an armature means 16. Such lashing may, or may not, be elastic, have elastic properties, or be provided with elastic property means (such as the slack uptake means 59, comprising elastic or resilient spring means in the seventy-third embodiment, as shown in Fig. 98). The helical configuration may be preconfigured, or may resuh from a twisting deformation of the central shaft under load.
19. Figs. 26 and 28 show a version having hehcal lashing means, like the seventeenth embodiment, with the addition of continuous longitudinal lashing means 20, shown extending from one rotor tip to the next, along the length of the tower/driveshaft, running substantially parallel to the shaft. This longitudinal lashing acts to structurally augment the stiffness of the tower/driveshaft 10, by serving, when brought under tension, to oppose any longitudinal bending of the tower/driveshaft. This limits the downward, and downwind, bending behavior. The substantially linear longitudinal configuration may be preconfigured, or may resuh from a twisting deformation of the central shaft under load.
20. Fig. 29 shows a section of a driveshaft tower similar to that of the previous, nineteenth embodiment shown in Fig. 28, with the addition of reverse helical lashing means 19, that winds in the opposite direction of helical lashing means 18, and so does not help to transmit torque downward, but may transmit it upward in cases where the lower rotors encounter a sudden gust. This type of lashing acts to contribute to the overall structural stiffness, interconnection, and integrity of the structure as a whole. It may be incorporated with, or without, the longitudinal lashing means 20.
21. Fig. 30 shows a section of a driveshaft tower similar to that of the twentieth embodiment shown in Fig. 29, with the addition of latitudinal lashing means 21 (substantially perpendicular to shaft), that winds in a circumferential circuit from rotor tip to rotor tip, of the same rotor. Such lashing helps, by acting in tension, to transmit torque from one blade to the next, as an interim step before it is finally transmitted downward, and may likewise confribute toward its transmission upward, or otherwise contribute to the overall structural stiffness, interconnection, and integrity of the structure as a whole.
22. This embodiment, shown in Figs. 31, 32, and 33, is similar to the first embodiment, except that in this case the tower/driveshaft 10 comprises an open latticework structure 53, rather than a solid shaft. In operation, as with other windmill towers, this flexible, rotating, latticework column, serving as a tower/driveshaft, can have higher strength for a given weight, more effectively transmit torque, and may cast less wind shadow than a solid tower, by allowing some wind to pass through it. Such an open latticework structure 53 may be comprised of, for example, struts. Referring to Fig. 32, One such strut 54 member extends diagonally from top to bottom in the direction of rotation. A strut so placed would tend to transmit torque exerted by the rotors downward in compression. A strut placed in the opposite diagonal direction would tend to transmit the torque downward in tension. These are only examples. Many lattice structures are possible, within the scope of the present invention. The tower/driveshaft 10 of such an embodiment may be said to resemble, for instance, a floppy truss-type radio tower with no guy wires. In Fig. 33, The base 2 is seen in a closer, cutaway depiction showing that the cantilevered bearing means 5 may comprise, for example, a bearing support means 4, such as the substantially vertical cylindrical enclosure means shown, with a pair of bearings 11, one mounted at each end. The bearings 11 rotatably support a substantially vertical rigid axle 15, upon which the power takeoff means 14 and the tower/driveshaft 10 are coaxially mounted, as in the first embodiment. As in other embodiments, the radial loads on the bearings 11 may be lessened by increasing the distance between them.
Figs. 34 and 35 illustrate two examples of how a desired bending response may be built into a tower/driveshaft of the present invention, so that each section of the tower/driveshaft 10 is specifically tailored to its intended purpose:
23. In Fig. 34, depicting the twenty-third embodiment, the lower section 7 is thick and substantially rigid, serving to attain distance from the ground, like the tower of a conventional windmill, with the added duty of transmitting torque, and therefore mechanical power, downward by its rotation. At a desired height the lower section 7 gives way to the longitudinally more flexible middle section 8 of the shaft.
This middle section 8 of the shaft is depicted as being thinner than either the lower section 7, or the upper section 9, to denote that this middle section 8 is more longitudinally flexible. Many known structural means, other than simply making the shaft thinner, could also be utilized to provide such enhanced longitudinal flexibility. This increased flexibility allows an enhanced bending transition toward horizontal, reducing the required length of this middle section 8. This reduces the overall mass, as well as the overall height, and the horizontal extension, of the tower/driveshaft, which in turn reduces the lever moment applied at the base, and so reduces the radial loads which must be bom by the bearings comprising cantilevered bearing means 5. At a point where the tower/driveshaft 10 is sufficiently parallel to the wind for an attached rotor 13 to effectively contribute toward its rotation, the upper section 9 of the shaft begins. Rotors are coaxially attached at intervals along this upper section of the shaft. Further bending of the shaft beyond this point will tend to increase the wind shadow effect from one
rotor to the next, so for added stifftiess, this upper section 9 of the shaft begins thicker than the middle section 8, while tapering toward its distal end 99, to save weight. The gyroscopic effect of each rotor 13 tends to stabilize the shaft in the region where that rotor is attached. As described in the first embodiment, the aggregate stabilizing effect is quite significant, substantially reducing wild swings and gyrations of the shaft in gusty conditions.
Note that in this illustration, the mounting means 3, which may comprise, for example, a concrete footing, extends sufficiently far below the surface 1 that the cantilevered bearing means 5, also below the surface, is substantially embedded within the mounting means. The load is at the surface for easy access. Since the base and load do not rotate, power may be easily extracted from the assembly by a continuous power conduit means 66. This base configuration is an example, which need not be exclusively associated with this embodiment of the tower/driveshaft.
24. Fig. 35: The twenty-fourth embodiment shown in Fig. 35 is similar to that of the previous embodiment, shown in Fig. 34, except that in this case, no well-defined delineation exists between the stiffer, thicker lower section 7, and the thinner, more flexible middle section 8 of the tower/driveshaft. The tower/driveshaft simply gradually tapers with increasing distance from the base, becoming thirmer and more flexible until, sufficiently bent in a downwind direction for coaxially attached horizontal axis type rotors to effectively contribute toward rotation, it transitions to the upper section 9, which again begins thicker for added stiffness, tapering toward its distal end 99 to save weight.
It is important to note that the differences between the first embodiment, and the twenty-third and twenty-fourth embodiments may be interpreted as simply a matter of degree, involving how thick, or stiff, one chooses to make the tower/driveshaft 10 at any point along its length, in order to fine tune its behavior under differing conditions. The designations of the different sections of the shaft are only intended as a simplified illustration of the basic concepts involved. Other variations of stiffness or thickness along the length of the shaft may occur to other designers for whatever reason.
25. Figs. 36 and 78: The twenty-fifth embodiment is similar to the first embodiment, except for having only one rotor. As in the first embodiment, the substantially rigid lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft 10 is substantially vertical to achieve height, rotationally supported, in an upwardly cantilevered marmer, by cantilevered bearing means 5. Fig. 78 shows a closer view of the base, wherein the cantilevered bearing means comprises a vertical axle 15, rotationally supported by a pair of vertically spaced bearings 11, securely retained by a rigid bearing support means 4, which in this case comprises a rigid, hollow, vertical tube. The middle section, 8 bends, and the upper section 9 therefore has a substantially horizontal component to its direction, allowing any coaxially attached, horizontal axis rotors to effectively harness the energy of the wind. In this case, rather than a multiplicity of rotors, we utilize only a single, three-bladed, horizontal axis type rotor. The power takeoff means 14, moimted to the
mounting means 3 and attached to the rigid lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft, above the cantilevered bearing means 5, supplies ratio gearing to convert the relatively slow rotation of this single rotor 13 to a faster rotational rate suitable for driving a generator 6.
26. Fig. 37: The twenty-sixth embodiment is similar to the twenty-fifth, having only a single horizontal axis type rotor, but with the addition of a Darrieus type vertical axis type of rotor 44, coaxially mounted to the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft 10. The two rotors, one a vertical axis type rotor 44, one a horizontal axis type rotor 13, work in tandem, turning the same tower/driveshaft 10 in unison. The upper, horizontal axis type rotor 13 makes the machine self-starting, and is located at a substantial distance from the surface to capture more wind energy. The lower, vertical axis rotor 44 adds to the total amount of power collected, by making extra use of the rotating, rigid, vertical shaft comprising the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft, necessary to support the upper rotor, and to transmit its rotation to the base 2. This lower rotor, being closer to the base 2 than the upper rotor, applies less leverage on the base 2 and therefore contributes less radial loading to the bearings 11 of cantilevered bearing means 5. The subsurface base of the sixth embodiment, shown in Fig. 9, was chosen as an example, but another type of base could be used. This embodiment can also be thought of as coupling the middle section 8 and the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft 10 of a windmill of the present invention, with a standard Darrieus type of windmill, to make the Darrieus machine self-starting, and also add to the amount of power it can produce. This embodiment therefore overcomes one of the main drawbacks of a Darrieus machine, that it is not self-starting, making the Darrieus machine a viable alternative to conventional, horizontal-axis wind turbines.
27. Fig. 38: The twenty-seventh embodiment is similar to the twenty-sixth, further comprising additional rotors of each type. Coaxially mounted to the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft are muhiple Darrieus type vertical axis rotors 44; In this case two are shown, but more can be added within the scope of the present invention. Some of the uppermost vertical axis type rotors 44 may encroach upon the middle section 8 of the tower/driveshaft, yet remain sufficiently vertical to contribute toward the shaft rotation. Coaxially attached to the upper section 9 of the tower driveshaft are a multiplicity of horizontal axis-type rotors, as in the first embodiment. This embodiment combines several horizontal axis turbine rotors, with a multiplicity of vertical axis turbine rotors, including a means of rotationally supporting them all at an effective height, and harnessing their combined power to run a load, with automatic directional orientation guidance, all using only "a single moving part".
28. Fig. 39 The twenty-eighth embodiment, somewhat similar to the previous, twenty-seventh embodiment, having multiple rotors of both the horizontal type 13, and vertical axis type 44. This embodiment utilizes guy wires 55, attached to a hub means 56, which comprises a bearing 11, which is the upper bearing of cantilevered bearing means 5, coaxially aligned with, mounted to, and horizontally supporting, with
rotational ireedom in the horizontal plane, the upper end of the vertical rigid axle 15, which in this embodiment, is coincident with the rigid lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft. Cantilevered bearing means 5 in this case therefore comprises the bearings 11, the bearing support means 4, (which, in addition to the usual cylindrical housing, that here holds only the lower bearing, also comprises the hub means 56, and the guy wires 55, as moored to the surface itself), and the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft, which in this case is rigid along its entire length, and therefore also serves the ftinction of the axle 15, and is so labeled. So here, since the cantilevered bearing means 5 is mostly above the surface, and is therefore exposed to the wind, it is provided with vertical axis rotors to help turn the shaft. The advantages to this design over, say, the first, fifth, and sixth embodiments include, but are not limited to:
a. The overall structure is shorter, since the axle 15 does not extend as far underground,
but instead doubles as the lower section of the tower/driveshaft 7, being coincident therewith.
b. The rigid axle 15 can be easily made longer, without providing it with a deep
subsurface excavation and a commensurately long underground tubular bearing support housing 4, since
it is located primarily above the surface, and can be made as long as the lower section 7 of the tower
driveshaft.
c. The excavation, being less deep, is easier and safer to dig.
d. The cylindrical housing comprising bearing support means 4 is shorter, requiring less
material.
e. Problems related to deep excavations, such as water accumulation and access for
maintenance, are lessened.
f. The bearings can be less robust, since:
1. the longer axle 15 allows the bearings 11 to be separated more, adding to their combined leverage.
2. the leverage that the middle section 8, and the upper section 9 with its attached rotors, can exert upon these bearings is now less as well, without the additional leverage length that the lower section 7 adds in other embodiments.
g. The vertical axis rotors 44 add to the power generated by the horizontal axis rotors,
making this a more powerfiil machine.
29. Fig. 40 shows a machine similar to that of the twenty-eighth embodiment, except for having no vertical axis blades. Such a configuration has many of the advantages of the previous embodiment, while allowing more availablity of the land below for other uses, such as agriculture. The cantilevered bearing means 5 comprises the two bearings 11, and the rigid axle 15, which is also, in this case, the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft. As in the previous embodiment, the axial loading on each individual bearing 11 is lessened by increasing the distance between them, with such increased distance being facilitated by having the axle 15 above the surface. This axial loading is further reduced by the fact that, since the lower section of the tower/driveshaft is now also part of the rigid axle 15, which is part of
cantilevered bearing means 5, less of the tower/driveshaft projects above the cantilevered bearing means 5, reducing the leverage exerted by the projecting remainder of the tower/driveshaft 10 thereupon.
30. Fig. 41 The thirtieth embodiment is similar to the twenty-fifth embodiment, having a single downwind horizontal axis rotor, with the load 6 located above the surface, driven by a power takeoff means 14, which is rigidly attached to, and driven by, the rigid, rotating axle 15. Additionally, as in the previous two embodiments, this embodiment also utilizes guy wires 55, attached to a hub means 56, which comprises a bearing 11, which is the upper bearing of cantilevered bearing means 5, coaxially mounted to, and horizontally supporting, with rotational freedom in the horizontal plane, the upper end of the vertical rigid axle 15, which is, here again, coincident with the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft. As in these previous two embodiments, this allows the axle 15 to be made longer, lessening the axial load on the bearings 11, and requires no deep excavation for installation.
31. Fig. 42 The thirty-first embodiment shows a wind farm, comprising a multiplicity of the turbines of the twenty-eighth embodiment, arranged in a rectangular grid pattern, separated by a sufficient distance that collisions between turbines are prevented. Around the perimeter of the grid, guy wires 55 extend from the surface to each hub 56. Within the grid, horizontal guy wires 57 connect each hub 56 to its neighbors, leaving the surface below, within the grid, uncluttered by guy wires, so that the land may be more easily utilized for other purposes, such as agriculture.
32. Figs. 43 and 44 show a wind turbine similar to the twenty-seventh embodiment, having a vertical axis rotor 44, coaxially mounted to the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft, and horizontal axis type rotors 13 coaxially mounted to the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft. Here the vertical axis rotor 44 is comprised of elongate, substantially straight, longitudinally oriented, vertical axis type blades 40, running parallel to the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft and mounted to the ends of armatures 16, which are vertically spaced at intervals therealong.
Another key feature in this embodiment to note is that the tower/driveshaft extends past even the upper section 9, forming a downward hanging distal section 98, to which additional horizontal axis rotors are coaxially mounted. The length of this downward-hanging distal section 98 is limited by the overall stiffness of the tower/driveshaft; It may extend only as far as its attached horizontal axis type rotors remain sufficiently perpendicular to the wind to contribute to, rather than hinder, the rotation of the tower/driveshaft.
33. Figs. 45 and 46 show a version similar to the previous embodiment, having both vertical axis rotors and
horizontal axis rotors. The key feature here is that both types of rotors are moimted along the entire
length of the tower driveshaft, rather than being restricted to the upper or lower section, and are
interconnected to each other. The horizontal axis type blades 13 serve as the armature means to which
the vertical axis type blades 41 are connected. The vertical axis type blades 41 of this embodiment differ from the vertical axis blades 40 of the previous embodiments, in that they also serve as structural components of the tower/driveshaft; These vertical axis blades serve as longitudinal lashing means 20 when under tension, and may otherwise contribute strength to the structure as a whole by their stiffness, or rigidity, and by resistance to compression forces. During one rotation of the tower/driveshaft, each longitudinal vertical axis type blade 41 is placed alternately under tension, then compression. Since the tower/driveshaft is constantly twisted by the wind in one direction, along its entire length, these elongate vertical axis blades may even assume somewhat of a helical configuration of the type illustrated in Fig. 52 when under load.
Referring to Fig. 45, notice that this tower/driveshaft is so long in relation to its stififness, that the entire distal section 98 of the structure hangs significantly downward. At some point, its direction of downward projection will have a sufficient vertical component that the attached vertical axis type blades 41 in that region will begin to be aerodynamically affected in a manner favorable to rotation. While one may wonder at first glance whether the aerodynamic forces on the vertical axis blades of this downward hanging distal section would tend to augment, or to counter, the rotational forces exerted by the rest of the blades, remember, vertical axis type blades, in general, are equally responsive to wind from any direction. These vertical axis rotors don't "know" or "care" whether they are upside down or right side up, or from which direction the wind comes, only that they are rotating, and that wind flows through them, substantially perpendicular to their longitudinal axis.
Therefore, it is extremely important to note that this distal section 98, even though "upside-down", still contributes toward, rather than detracts from, the overall rotation of the tower/driveshaft.
(In fact, if the base 2 of such a turbine is installed at a point higher than the surrounding surface, as illustrated in Fig. 51, where a similar windmill is mounted atop a building, the downward hanging distal section 98 may actually comprise the most significant power-generating portion of the tower/driveshaft, extending well below even the base itself, and harvesting more total wind energy than any other section.)
An advantage of the wind turbine of this embodiment is that, if all sections of this tower/driveshaft are similar, it can be fabricated in a uniform, modular fashion; Virtually the entire tower/driveshaft 10, including the horizontal axis type rotors and the longitudinal vertical axis blades, can be prefabricated in easy-to-ship, identical sections, then assembled in the field. Or, the elongate blades can be rolled up on spools for shipping, then attached to the armature rotors in the field.
Alternatively, if we are willing to give up the cost savings of uniform parts throughout, the components of each section of the tower/driveshaft may vary, being optimized for their particular function, placement, and orientation. For example, the "horizontal axis type rotors" 13 which are mounted to the vertical lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft are not properly oriented to contribute aerodynamically toward the overall rotation of the tower/driveshaft. They exist primarily to serve as armatures 16 for the vertical axis blades. In fact, the wide blades of a conventionally-shaped horizontal axis type rotor, in this instance would tend to produce drag, rather than contributing toward rotation.
Therefore these lower rotors 13, serving mainly as armatures, should optimally be streamlined to reduce drag, and need not be shaped to generate rotational forces from the wind.
The shape of the horizontal axis rotors 13 of the middle section 8, being somewhere between parallel and perpendicular to the wind, may optimally be somewhere between that of a simple streamlined armature and that of a dedicated horizontal axis turbine rotor, or may be otherwise optimized for the type of airflow they will encounter in their position along the bending tower/driveshaft.
The horizontal axis rotors of the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, on the other hand, being substantially perpendicular to the wind, are fully aerodynamically functional, and should be so shaped.
Proceeding toward the distal end 99 of the tower/driveshaft, as it begins to point in an increasingly downward direction, at some point the horizontal axis type rotors 13, once again may become aerodynamically ineffective due to improper orientation, and therefore serve primarily as armatures for mounting the vertical axis type blades, which do indeed, once again, become effective in this downward hanging distal section 98. Here again, in this distal section 98 the aerodynamic shape of the horizontal axis type rotors/armatures 13 may be adjusted toward being simply streamlined, to fimction as armatures, rather than being shaped as a fluid reactive surface in an attempt to generate rotational forces, (although very strong winds may still blow this distal section to a more horizontal direction). Similarly, the longitudinal blades 41 of the vertical axis type rotors, where they pass through the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, are not properly oriented to produce power, but instead serve as structural members, and so may be shaped to simply minimize drag, rather than to produce rotation, although this difference in shape is less pronounced than that of the horizontal axis type rotors. Other differences in rotor shape, depending on position, could include diameter and pitch. For example, faster winds are found at higher altitudes. Since the blade tip speed is proportional to wind speed, if all rotors have the same diameter, the higher altitude rotors will be driven to rotate faster than lower altitude rotors, creating a possible discrepancy in optimal rotational rate from one section of the shaft to the next. Since the whole shaft turns as a unit, lower rotors may tend to slow the higher rotors, reducing overall efficiency. This effect may be mitigated by slightly increasing the diameter of the higher altitude rotors, or by varying their pitch.
In the final analysis, whether or not the rotors are uniform throughout the tower/driveshaft, or are tailored for their specific placement, is based on cost. At one, low cost extreme, all rotors and sections of blade, and therefore all modules of a modular construction, are exactly identical. At the other, high cost manufacturing extreme, each rotor, or section of blade, is specifically designed to be optimized for its exact placement. Between those two extremes, a limited number of types of modules, having different rotor, and blade variations, may be mass-produced, with the best type for each position chosen from among those.
34. Figs. 47 and 48: The thirty-fourth embodiment is similar to the thirty-third, except that here the central shaft has been eliminated from all but the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft. In this lower section 7,
the central shaft is reduced to a vertical extension of the axle 15, of sufficient length to provide a rotational coupling between the tower/driveshaft 10 and the load 6. The longitudinal stiffness of the remainder of the tower/driveshaft is provided by the longitudinal vertical axis type blades 41, which alternate between tension and compression once with every revolution. These longitudinal blades 41 are maintained in their relative geometry by being connected at intervals along their length by the horizontal type rotors 13 that serve as armatures. Torque transmission as well is provided by the stiffness of these longitudinal blades 41, as interconnected with these aerodynamic armatures. The tower/driveshaft may therefore become twisted under load, so that these elongate blades 41 then assume a somewhat helical configuration. The beauty of this configuration is that, with the exception of the vertical extension of the axle 15, which projects upward into to lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft, virtually every part of this tower/driveshaft 10 is capable off serving the aerodynamic function of extracting mechanical rotational energy from the wind, in addition to its structural duties, depending on wind strength and direction. Like the latticework tower/driveshaft 53 of the twenty-second embodiment, this tower/driveshaft 10 can be thought of as being comprised of struts 54. In this case, every strut 54 is a blade, and every blade is a strut. Amost no element offered to the wind is wasted on only support, nor on only catching wind, as in prior art windmills. With the possible exception of the horizontal axis type rotors 13 connected to the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft, practically all components, to some degree, serve both fiinctions. Here is a self orienting windmill, having only a single moving part, whose blades also serve as its flexible, rotating, latticework tower. Whatever the wind direction or strength, every section of this serpentine windmill, however it may bend, has aerodynamic surfaces that will translate that wind into localized forces that contribute to the rotation of the tower/driveshaft. It is easy to see that a myriad of possible structures exist, within the scope of the present invention, for a tower/driveshaft having similar combinations of blades acting as struts, for example, a configuration based on four- or five-bladed, rather than three-bladed rotors, or one with struts at various geometric angles, having various combinations of aerodynamic properties, all acting in concert to cause the tower/driveshaft as a whole to rotate.
35. Figs. 49 and 50 The thirty-fifth embodiment is similar to the thirty-fourth, having no central shaft, but
with the addition of diagonal torque transmission lashing means 18 running diagonally from proximate
one horizontal axis type rotor 13 blade tip to the next, wrapping its way helically upward in the direction
of rotation. This lashing, while producing some wind drag and not contributing aerodynamically toward
rotation, greatly increases the torque transmission capabilities of the tower/driveshaft, acting to help
prevent excessive twisting of the structure.
36. Fig. 51 Shows a windmill similar to that of the thirty-fourth embodiment, mounted atop a building 80,
with the base 2 being substantially embedded within the structure of the building. The hanging distal
section 98 of the tower/driveshaft 10 actually extends below the level of the base, with its length limited
by the height of the building, minus that of other obstacles below. Such turbines may be installed at any convenient perch, such as hilltops, utility poles, water towers, etc.
37. Fig. 52 illustrates a section of a tower/driveshaft similar to that of the thirty-third embodiment, having
both horizontal axis type, and continuous elongate vertical axis type blades. The direction of rotation is
counterclockwise, as viewed from above, with the left side coming out of the page, toward the viewer.
The horizontal axis type blades 13 serve as armature means to which helically wrapped vertical axis
blades 42 are mounted. The elongate vertical axis type blades 42 wrap in a helical fashion, proceeding
from bottom to top, in the direction of rotation, connecting the tips of the blades of each horizontal axis
rotor with those of the next. These helically wrapped vertical axis blades serve as diagonal lashing
means, transmitting torque downward in tension, like the diagonal lashing means 18 of the eighteenth
embodiment, shown in Fig. 27. Such a helical configuration of these elongate vertical axis type blades
may be a prefabricated feature, or may also result from the natural twisting forces exerted by the wind, as
transmitted downward along the length of the tower/driveshaft. The central shaft 10 may, or may not be
included, depending on the strength of the blades.
The advantage of this helical configuration is that the upper horizontal axis rotors pull the vertical axis blades in the direction of rotation, which then pull the rotors and blades below them, and so on all the way down the tower/driveshaft, thereby transmitting the torque of all rotors down to the lowest rotors and to an armature 16 at the base of the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft.
A disadvantage is that, along the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, which runs substantially horizontal and parallel to the wind, these substantially vertical axis blades will cease to function in their usual vertical axis mode. Yet still they are exposed to the wind, and indeed present a surface configuration thereto, having, to some extent, the form of an Archimedian screw. Any such aerodynamic rotational forces generated in the manner of a simple Archimedian screw on these elongate helical blades, however, will be counter to the direction of rotation, due to the direction of their helical wrapping.
38. Fig. 53 shows a configuration similar to that of the previous, thirty-seventh embodiment, in that the
vertical axis blades wrap in a helical fashion along the length of the tower/driveshaft. The difference is
that the direction in which the vertical axis blades wrap around the structure is reversed. These vertical
axis blades 43 wrap, in the direction of rotation, from top to bottom, rather than vice-versa, and help to
transmit torque downward in compression, rather than in tension. It should be apparent that the helical,
vertical axis blades 42 of the previous embodiment, wrapping in the opposite direction, would have the
advantage in that they transmit torque in tension, rather than in compression. Nevertheless, any forces
generated on these helical blades 43 in the manner of a simple Archimedian screw will be with the
direction of rotation, rather than against it.
39. Fig. 54 shows an embodiment similar to the previous, thirty-eighth embodiment, having vertical axis blades, helically wrapped, from top to bottom in the direction of rotation, additionally having torque transmission lashing means 18 which wraps from bottom to top, in the direction of rotation, transmitting torque downward in tension. (This overcomes the problem of the thirty-eighth embodiment, that the torque is only transmitted downward in compression along the blades.)
40. Fig. 55 shows a combination of the thirty-seventh, and the thirty-eighth embodiments, having elongate vertical axis type blades 42, 43 helically wrapped in both directions, together comprising a cylindrical repeating geometric pattern of vertical axis type rotor blades 52, with the repeated geometry comprising a diamond, or trapezoidal shaped, four-sided polygon. The blades that wrap from bottom to top in the direction of rotation 42 serve to transmit torque downward in tension, while the blades that wrap from top to bottom in the direction of rotation 43 will transmit torque downward in compression. The central shaft 10 may or may not be included, as necessary. Horizontal axis rotors having four, five, or more blades may alternatively be utilized, to create a denser, more continuous geometric pattern.

41. Not illustrated If the central shaft of the previous, fortieth embodiment, shown in Fig. 55 is not included, then the entire tower/driveshaft comprises only fluid reactive components, or blades. That configuration, then, forms this forty-first embodiment. Every blade is a strut and every strut is a blade. Along most sections of such a tower/driveshaft, every part can aerodynamically contribute to overall rotation in some way, in any wind, from any direction, depending on how the tower/driveshaft may bend or swing about, and every part helps to physically support the parts above it, as well as to form an integral element of the structure that transmits torque downward.
42. Fig. 56 shows a section of a serpentine windmill that is similar to that of the thirty-seventh embodiment, having helically wrapped vertical axis type blades 42, additionally comprising continuous longitudinal vertical axis type blades 41 that double as a linear lashing and structural means. These help strengthen the structure, greatly adding to its overall bending strength. Of course, the central shaft 10 may or may not be included.
43. Fig. 57 shows a section of a serpentine windmill that is similar to that of the thirty-ninth embodiment, having vertical axis blades helically wrapped from top to bottom in the direction of rotation 43, and torque transmission lashing 18, helically wrapping its way up the tower/driveshaft, from tip to tip of successive horizontal axis rotors 13, in the direction of rotation, from bottom to top. The key new feature of this embodiment, as in the previous embodiment, is the addition of continuous longitudinal vertical axis type blades 41. These aerodynamically shaped blades of course help the structure rotate, and also help strengthen the structure longitudinally, greatly adding to its overall bending strength. Of course, as in other similar embodiments, the central shaft 10 may or may not be included.
44. Fig. 58 shows an embodiment similar to the fortieth embodiment, having vertical axis type blades that wrap helically in both directions 42, 43, with the additional feature of having elongate longitudinal vertical axis type blades 41, as in the previous embodiment. Since these vertical axis type blades run in three directions, they form a latticework of repeating triangles, comprising a cylindrical repeating geometric pattern of vertical axis type rotor blades 52. Such a perforated cylindrical configuration is capable of being made stronger, and therefore taller, than one relying only on a central shaft for its strength.
45. Fig. 59 This forty-fifth embodiment is the latticework tower/driveshaft of the previous, forty-fourth embodiment, comprised of both horizontal axis type rotors 13 and vertical axis type blades, with the vertical axis type blades running longitudinally 41, and wrapping helically in both directions 42, 43, but without the central shaft. Here the entire structure acts together to form the composite cylindrical tower/driveshaft 10, comprising a cylindrical repeating geometric pattern of vertical axis type rotor blades 52. Every strut is a blade and every blade is a strut. Any section of the elongate structure of this tower/driveshaft 10 has fluid reactive surfaces that will act to harness rotational energy from any wind, coming from any direction. This exact geometric configuration is exemplary only, with many variations on this general theme, of an elongate flexible rotating structure comprising both horizontal axis type and vertical axis type fluid reactive blades, being possible. More blades, struts, or lashing means, serving to fiarther tie the structure together, could certainly be added within the scope of the present invention, working from the general principles disclosed herein.
46. Figs. 60, 61, 62, and 63: This forty-sixth embodiment is similar to the thirty-second embodiment, in that the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft 10 is surrounded by vertical axis type rotor blades, attached to armatures 16, while the upper section 9 has only horizontal axis rotors 13. Here the form taken by these vertical axis type blades is a cylindrical, repeating geometric pattern of aerodynamic struts, as in the previous embodiment, with the repeating geometric form comprising this exterior cylinder being the hexagon, rather than the triangle of the previous embodiment. These struts comprise the vertical axis type blades 54, which run at about a 30 degree angle from parallel to the inner shaft, and act to contribute aerodynamically to the rotation of the structure, and the circumferentially oriented, aerodynamically shaped struts 51, which are substantially perpendicular to the inner shaft, and therefore contribute little, if any, aerodynamic forces to the overall rotation, but nevertheless provide structural integrity. The hexagons may alternatively run at a different angle, such as, for example, rotated by thirty degrees from those described above. Note that the armatures 16 are illustrated as being aerodynamically shaped as horizontal axis type rotors, although this is not a necessary characteristic of this embodiment.
47. (Not illustrated) The forty-seventh embodiment is the same as the previous, forty-sixth embodiment
shown in Figs. 60 - 63, except that the hexagons do alternatively run at a different angle, rotated by
thirty degrees from those described above. In this embodiment, the aerodynamically shaped struts run
both longitudinally, and at an angle of 60 degrees thereto, to form regular hexagons. Some other angle of
offset for these non-longitudinal struts, such as 45 degrees, is also possible, to form non-regular
hexagons. All struts, to some degree, act as vertical axis type blades, since none is exactly
circumferential in direction. Other possible configurations for such an exterior cylindrical shell of
vertical axis type blades include, but are not limited to, those of any honeycomb lattice type tube
configuration, such as those exemplified by "buckytubes" or "carbon nanotubes", etc.
48. Fig. 64 In this embodiment the cylindrical latticework configuration of vertical axis blades 54
surrounding the lower section 7 is comprised of repeating equilateral triangles, alternating between
pointing up and down. These triangles are comprised of aerodynamic struts, including vertical axis type
blades 54 oriented at about 30 degrees from parallel to the central shaft, and circumferentially oriented
struts 51, running substantially perpendicular to the central shaft. These vertical axis blade struts 54,
when considered as connected from end to end, also collectively form continuous elongate helically
wrapped vertical axis blades 42 and 43, as in the thirty-seventh through forty-fifth embodiments. The
helically wrapped blades 42 run from bottom to top in the direction of rotation, transmitting torque down
the tower/driveshaft in tension. The helically wrapped blades 43 run from top to bottom in the direction
of rotation, transmitting torque down the shaft in compression. Again, other angles are possible for such
a pattern, either collectively, or referring to the three directions of its constituent struts, relative to one
another.
Lift Augmentation for the Tower/Driveshaft:
In previous embodiments, we have discussed how certain of the horizontal axis rotors, depending on the position, may generate some lift, in the manner of a gyroplane. This lift, and more predominantly the stiffness of the tower/driveshaft, as supported by the cantilevered bearing means 5, have been the only forces holding the structure aloft until this point. In the following embodiments we outline means of augmenting these forces, further helping to keep the structure of the tower/driveshaft and its attached aerodynamic blades aloft.
49. Fig. 65 In this forty-ninth embodiment, we introduce the concept of a downwind cantilevered tail means
22, which functions like the tail of an airplane. The tail is attached in a cantilevered manner, with
rotational freedom, to the upper section 9 of a tower/driveshaft 10 similar to that of the first embodiment,
by cantilevered boom rotational bearing means 26. A tail boom 23, extends downwind from the bearing
26. At the far end of the tail is lifting surface 24 (like the horizontal stabilizer of an airplane) and passive
downwind tail orientation means 25 comprising a substantially vertical surface (like that of the vertical
stabilizer on an airplane). Any functional equivalent, such as a V-tail, a flexible tail, an inflated tail, or any other type of tail means, is to be considered within the scope of this invention.
As previously discussed, when a tower/driveshaft 10, with its attached horizontal axis rotors 13, begins to be bent downwind, and the axes of the rotors 13 are tilted back from vertical, the rotors, once spinning, begin to produce lift, as does a gyrocopter. The planar disk of each spinning rotor forms a virtual "lifting surface", somewhat like a kite, or like the wing of a tethered airplane, or glider, or more specifically, like a tethered helicopter in autogyro mode. This lift helps to support the tower/driveshaft against gravity. As the tower/driveshaft becomes increasingly bent over, however, the angle of attack at which the disk of each rotor encounters the wind increases. While the rotor 13 produces more power when so tilted back, at a certain point it will begin to provide less vertical lifting force to the tower/driveshaft as a whole, as when an airplane wing "stalls".
This tail 22 serves the same purpose as the tail of an airplane, to influence the "angle of attack" of the rotor 13, as if the rotor were a wing, and thereby to substantially oppose its tendency toward "stalling"; The lift provided by the tail's lifting surface 24 tilts the rotors 13 forward by applying a forward lever arm to the structure as a whole, (as does the tail of an airplane when the control yoke is pushed forward) as shown by the curved arrows.
In this embodiment a single tail 22 guides the distal section 98 of the tower/driveshaft 10, and its coaxially attached upper rotors 13, into a more forward angle of attack. These upper rotors then, guided by the forward pitch rotation exerted by the tail 22, help to pull the entire tower/driveshaft forward, tilting the rotors below into a more forward position as well, with these rotors further influencing the rotors below to pull forward on the rotors below them, and so on down the line.
To some extent, just as a train follows the engine, the lower rotors are brought forward toward a less extreme angle of attack. The column of rotors flies like a stack of kites, guided by the single tail 22.
50. In this, the fiftieth embodiment, illustrated in Fig. 66, multiple tails 22 of the previous embodiment are rotationally attached at intervals, by means of cantilevered boom rotational bearing means 26, along the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, between the rotors. Again, the column of rotors flies like a stack of kites, with each vertical surface 25 serving to insure that the tail is blovra downwind of the tower/driveshaft, and each horizontal lifting surface 24 serving to elevate that tail, thereby in the aggregate lifting the entire upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, and applying a forward pitching moment thereto that serves to help elevate it, keeping the tower/driveshaft from being blown all the way over. The base 2 shown, similar to the base of the third embodiment, was chosen for the sake of example, and need not necessarily be associated with this embodiment over any other base.
51. Fig. 67 Here an entire lifting body 31, rather than just a tail, is attached to the distal end of the upper section 9 of the tower driveshaft by means of suspension bearing means 33. The lifting body 31 is aerodynamically lifted by the force of the wind, and flies like a kite, or tethered glider, helping to support
the tower/driveshaft against gravity, as well as helping to "steer" or guide the rotors 13 below forward into a better lifting orientation, having less angle of attack.
52. Fig. 68 This embodiment is a combination of the previous two, having both the multiple tails 22 of the fiftieth embodiment, as well as the lifting body of the previous, fifty-first embodiment. Each rotor/tail combination acts as a lifting body, with the whole assembly additionally pulled upward by the dedicated lifting body 31. It is easy to see that many combinations of tails and/or lifting bodies could be used, within the scope of the present invention. The base 2, similar to that of the fourth embodiment, having the load 6 vertically sandwiched between the two bearings 11, was chosen as an example; alternative base configurations could be used within the context of this embodiment.
53. In Fig. 69 the cantilevered tail boom 23 is extended to the upwind side of cantilevered boom attachment rotational means 26, formmg cantilevered nose boom 28. A linear tension transmission means 29, such as, for example, a cable, attached sequentially to the tip of each nose boom, pulls downward on the nose booms, pulling the entire tower/driveshaft forward, thereby helping to elevate it, in addition to decreasing the angle of attack presented by the disks of the spinning rotors, causing the rotors to migrate upwind. This linear tension transmission means 29 may have a substantial stiffness in the region proximate the rotors, to avoid entanglement therewith. The passive downwind tail orientation means 25, comprising the "vertical" surface on each tail, insure that the tails are held in a downwind position, so that the nose booms remain projecting upwind. In Fig. 70 we can see that the tension on linear tension transmission means 29 is provided by tension adjustment means 30, here illustrated as a simple winch, located at the base 2. A turntable base 35, similar to that of the sixteenth embodiment, allows the entire assembly to passively track the wind.
54. Fig. 71 shows a combination of the previous, fifty-third embodiment, having cantilevered tails 22 with forward projecting cantilevered nose booms 28, and the fifty-first embodiment, having a lifting body 31 attached to the tower/driveshaft by suspension bearing means 33. The tension transmission means 29 is attached to the cantilevered nose booms 28, and the nose of the lifting body 31, and thereby adjusts the attitude of not only the tails, but of the lifting body as well. The entire assembly may be "flown" in the manner of a kite, or more specifically, a stack of kites.
55. Fig. 72 In this embodiment, similar to the fifty-third embodiment, the tail 22 further comprises an adjustable elevator surface 45, which is controlled by an actuating mechanism 46, with the particular mechanism illusttated pivoting at cantilevered boom rotational bearing means 26. This actuating mechanism, here comprising pivots and push rods, pivotably supports the nose boom, and is responsive to the angle thereof The tension transmission means 29 pulls downward on the cantilevered nose booms 28, pivoting the actuating mechanisms 46, which adjusts the elevator surface 45. These components,
along with the tension adjustment means 30, located proximate the base (as shown in Fig. 70) together comprise elevator control means 47.
The control means 47 and actuating mechanism 46 could comprise alternative methods and apparatus than that shown, be they electric, hydraulic, pneumatic, electronic, radio controlled, etc., within the scope of the present invention.
56. Fig 73 This fifty-sixth embodiment is similar to the fifty-third, having tails 22, and projecting cantilevered noses 28 which are pulled downward by a tension transmission means 29. Each rotor 13 turns with the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, being rotationally coupled thereto, but is allowed to tilt, being mounted on a Tilting Hub 48. Each cantilevered boom rotational bearing means 26 is similarly mounted to this tilting hub and so tilts with the rotor, while allowing the boom to rotate independently thereof, so the tails can remain downwind. So the rotor turns with the tower/driveshaft, but tilts with the nose and tail. Therefore, downward tension on the tension transmission means 29 can easily tilt both the rotors and their attached tails forward, reducing their angle of attack, without having to pull the entire tower/driveshaft forward against the force of the wind, with the limited leverage offered. Like a kite that is tilted forward, reducing its angle of attack, each rotor/tail combination will have an increased tendency, by its lift, to pull the tower/driveshaft upward and toward the wind. Through tension applied to tension transmission means 29, the entire tower/driveshaft may be caused to move to a more windward position, to fly, like a string of kites, to a position more overhead and less downwind, with less tension on tension transmission means 29 required than in the fifty-third embodiment. By using the wind itself to help lift the tower/driveshaft, strain on the tower/driveshaft 10, base 2, and tension transmission means 29 are also reduced.
57. Figs. 74 and 75 show an embodiment similar to the fifty-first embodiment, with the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft suspended from a lifting body by means of suspension bearing means 33. The difference here is that this lifting body 32 is buoyant, in the fluid in which it is suspended; in this example, it is inflated with a buoyant gas such as helium and/or hydrogen, to be buoyant in the atmosphere. This helps to elevate the tower/driveshaft even in low wind or zero wind conditions. The buoyancy may augment, or largely replace, the stiffness of the tower/driveshaft itself as a means of supporting the entire upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft and its attached horizontal axis rotors 13. Such an inflatable aerodynamic lifting body can also simply be filled with air, or a mixture of gases, to be lightweight in the atmosphere, even if not fully buoyant.
Alternatively, such a buoyant lifting body may simply comprise a bag, balloon, or other shape, whether preconfigured or indeterminate, that contains the buoyant gas without providing significant aerodynamic lift. The fraction of lift provided by buoyancy versus aerodynamic forces of a lifting body will therefore vary depending on the exact configuration, as well as the wind speed.
58. Figs. 76, 77, and 78 In this fifty-eighth embodiment, the actual rotor blades 12 themselves are buoyant, inflated with a lightweight gas, in an embodiment otherwise similar to the first embodiment. Torque is transmitted down the length of the tower/driveshaft 10. The closeup view of the base in Fig. 78 shows a typical configuration, similar to that of the first embodiment, with the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft extending upward from cantilevered bearing means 5, comprising an axle 15, which is rotatably supported by two bearings 11. The low speed, high torque rotation is converted to a higher speed rotation required by the load 6, via the ratio gearing provided in this case by power takeoff means 14. This lighter-than-air, downwind turbine remains aloft in zero wind conditions.
59. Fig. 79 This fifty-ninth embodiment is similar to the previous embodiment, having horizontal axis type rotors 13, whose buoyant blades 12 are inflated with a gas such as helium or hydrogen, and so float in the air. In this embodiment the rotors are held up by their buoyancy and aerodynamic lift only, not by the stiffness of the tower/driveshaft per se. The radial loading on cantilevered bearing means 5 is thus reduced. The base 2 comprises a non-rotating directionally compliant support means 60, here comprising, as an example, a gimbal mounting frame. Such a gimbal-equipped base is free to directionally track the tower/driveshaft, while not itself rotating, allowing the power to be drawn off by means of continuous power conduit means 66.
60. Fig. 80 This sixtieth embodiment is similar to the fifty-seventh embodiment, with the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, and its attached horizontal axis type rotors being suspended by a buoyant lifting body 32 via suspension bearing means 33 (not visible, see Fig. 75), while also incorporating the non-rotating directionally compliant support means 60, or gimbal mount, of the previous embodiment. This downwind machine stays aloft even in low or no wind conditions.
61. Figs. 81 and 82 This sixty-first embodiment is similar to the fifty-eighth embodiment, having buoyant rotor blades, with the tower/driveshaft projecting upward from the base 2, rotationally supported by cantilevered bearing means 5, which comprises two bearings 11 at either end of a vertical axle 15. A series of armature means 16 are coaxially mounted to the tower/driveshaft, with helical torque transmitting lashing means 18, wrapping sequentially from tip to tip of the armatures, from bottom to top, in the direction of rotation, helping to fransmit torque downward along the tower/driveshaft, as in the eighteenth embodiment, shown in Fig 27.
62. Fig. 83 shows an embodiment similar to the fifty-ninth embodiment, having buoyant horizontal axis type rotor blades 13 and a directionally compliant base 60, having the additional feature of helical torque transmission lashing means 18, wrapping sequentially from the tip of one blade to the tip of the next, and connecting at its lower end to an armature means 16, mounted coaxially to the lower section of the tower/driveshaft 10, as in the eighteenth, and previous embodiments.
63. Fig. 84 shows an embodiment similar to the sixtieth embodiment, having multiple horizontal axis type rotors, with the tower/driveshaft suspended from a buoyant lifting body 32, and having a directionally compliant base, further comprising the additional feature of helical torque transmission lashing means 18, wrapping sequentially fi-om the tip of one blade to the tip of the next, as in the eighteenth, and previous embodiments.
64. Fig. 85 shows the sixty-fourth embodiment, an embodiment similar to the sixty-second embodiment, having buoyant horizontal axis rotors, and a vertically cantilevered flexible shaft comprising the lower, and middle sections 7, 8 of the tower/driveshaft, except that this embodiment has no actual central shaft comprising the upper section 9 of the tower driveshaft, since, with the rotors being buoyant, an actual central shaft is not necessary to support the rotors. Nevertheless, the functions served in previous embodiments by this central shaft of the upper section 9, namely supporting the rotors and transmitting torque, are yet fulfilled by the buoyancy of the rotors, the aerodynamic forces on them, and the lashing 18. Therefore in a virtual sense, the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft still exists, as a self elevating, wind harvesting, rotating elongate structure, even without the central shaft.
65. Figs. 86 and 87 show the sixty-fifth embodiment, having a buoyant lifting body 32, horizontal axis type rotors 13, and a tower/driveshaft that projects vertically from the base 2, similar to the fifty-seventh embodiment. The difference is that in this embodiment, like the previous embodiment, the central shaft comprising the upper section 9 of the tower driveshaft has been largely removed, with the rotors instead being supported by the torque transmission lashing 18. Only the uppermost and lowermost rotors are still attached to a solid central shaft. The uppermost rotor depends from the distal section 98 of the tower/driveshaft, which is itself rotationally supported from the buoyant lifting body 32 by suspension bearing means 33. The lowermost rotor is coaxially mounted to the end of the middle section 8 of the tower/driveshaft. The rotors in between are suspended by the lashing means 18, which also rotationally transmits their torque downward to the lowest rotor, which acts as an armature in conveying that torque to the middle section 8 of the tower/driveshaft.
66. Fig. 88 shows the sixty-sixth embodiment, an embodiment similar to the sixty-fourth embodiment having horizontal axis type rotors with buoyant blades, and no central shaft, but with the base 2 comprising a non-rotating directionally compliant support means 60, here comprising a gimbal mounting frame, which can track the direction of the wind without itself rotating, so that power can be drawn off by means of continuous power conduit means 66. Torque is transmitted from upper rotors downward by torque transmission lashing 18, to an armature means 16, which drives the truncated lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft, being coaxially mounted thereto.
67. Fig. 89 shows the sixty-seventh embodiment, an embodiment similar to the sixty-fifth embodiment having horizontal axis type blades, a buoyant lifting body and no central shaft, but with the base 2 comprising a non-rotating directionally compliant support means 60, as in the previous embodiment, here comprising a gimbal mounting frame, which can track the direction of the wind without itself rotating, so that power can be drawn off by means of continuous power conduit means 66. Torque is transmitted from upper rotors downward by torque transmission lashing 18, to an armature means 16, which drives the truncated lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft, being coaxially mounted thereto.
68. Fig. 90 shows the sixty-eighth embodiment, similar to the sixty-second embodiment, having buoyant horizontal axis type rotor blades 13 and a directionally compliant base 60, with helical torque transmission lashing means 18, wrapping sequentially from the tip of one blade to the tip of the next, and connecting at its lower end to an armature means 16, mounted coaxially to the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft 10, as in the eighteenth embodiment. This embodiment additionally comprises longitudinal linear lashing means 20, running from rotor tip to rotor tip, substantially parallel to the central shaft, to lend stiffness, or rigidity, to the structure as a whole. Additionally, the directionally compliant support means 60 further comprises a means for directional bias 61, which may be passive, and biased toward vertical, as in resilient or spring-loaded, or powered, as in actively controlled. This directional bias means 61, when exerting a force tending to aim the shaft toward vertical, acts to physically oppose the force of the wind blowing the tower/driveshaft over, as well as reducing the angle of attack with which the spinning rotors encounter the wind, which also helps to elevate the tower/driveshaft.
69. Fig. 91 This sixty-ninth embodiment is similar to the previous embodiment, except with the cenfral shaft eliminated, as in the sixty-fourth embodiment. The tower/driveshaft 10 nonetheless still exists, in the virtual sense, even without the cenfral shaft, being comprised of the buoyant rotors, the longitudinal lashing means 20, and the helical lashing means 18, as held in a rotationally stable elongate configuration by the bouyancy of the rotors and the force of the wind against them, as consfrained by the tension of the lashing means. The lashing means in this case, particularly the helical lashing 18, may have elastic properties, or be provided with elastic means, such as that of the seventy-third embodiment, to allow the tower/driveshaft structure to deform in a manner that would resemble a parallelogram if viewed from the side. The attitude, or pitch of the rotors may thereby be affected by the infiuence of the means for directional bias 61 toward vertical, as transmitted through the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft, to the armature 16, to the longitudinal lashing means 20, reducing the angle of attack of the rotors 13, thereby helping to keep the structure as a whole elevated.
70. Figs. 92 and 93 This seventieth embodiment is similar to the previous two, in that the base 2 has a directionally compliant support means 60, with a means for its directional bias 61, whose bias toward
vertical is transmitted to the rotors by means of armature 16 and longitudinal lashing means 20. The horizontal axis type rotors shown are buoyant, so as to remain aloft in low or no wind conditions, but could also be non-buoyant, within the scope of this embodiment. The central shaft of the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft is retained, with the torque being substantially transmitted thereby. The key difference of this embodiment from the previous one is that the linear continuity of the tower/driveshaft is broken by directionally flexible rotational coupling means 63, here comprising a universal joint, and that each rotor is rotationally coupled to the shaft 9 by a tilting hub 48, allowing it freedom to tilt in relation to the shaft. The directional flexibility that this universal joint 63 provides for the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, relative to the armature means 16, is matched by the directional flexibility afforded to each rotor relative to the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, by the tilting hubs 48. The net result is that the column of buoyant, rotating, horizontal axis type blades may be "flown" in the manner of a stack of kites, with the armature 16 acting as a yoke to control the angle of attack that the rotors 13 present to the wind. This angle of attack may be biased in any direction, independent of the direction of projection of the tower/driveshaft, within the degree of freedom allowed by the universal joint 63, and the tilting hubs 48. Since the tower/driveshaft is not held up by its own stiffness, but rather by buoyant and/or aerodynamic forces, the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft therefore exerts less radial loading on the cantilevered bearing means 5, which allows that bearing means to be less robust. Note that in this embodiment, the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft is co-rotational, but not strictly coaxial with the load, projecting at an angle thereto, while the rotors are also co-rotational with the load, with their axes of rotation being substantially parallel to that of the armature, which in this case is the same as that of the load.
71. Figs. 94 and 95 The seventy-first embodiment is similar to the previous embodiment, with the angle of the armature 16 determining the angle of attack of the buoyant, horizontal axis rotors 13 through linear lashing means 20, except that here the load 6 is coaxial with the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, with the angle between the rotational axis of the armature 16 and the tower/driveshaft being accomplished by a directionally flexible non-rotating coupling means 64, which as illustrated appears similar to the universal joint 63 of the previous embodiment, but is non-rotating, and therefore is subject to less wear and energy loss through friction. This directionally flexible non-rotating coupling means 64 supports a non-rotating load mount means 65, providing a rotationally stable, directionally flexible mounting means for the load 6. So the load is allowed to follow the direction of the tower/driveshaft and remains coaxial thereto.
Looking somewhat like, and serving part of the function of, the lower section 7 of the tower/driveshaft of other embodiments, is the bearing support means 4, herein illustrated as a simple post projecting from the gimbal mount 60. The armature rotational bearing means 70 is retained by bearing support means 4, and supports the armature 16 in a rotationally free, yet angularly definitive manner. The angle at which the armature rotates is then influenced by directional bias means 61, which controls
the directional orientation of the non-rotating directionally compliant mounting means 60 (the gimbal mount). This bearing support means 4 does not rotate, but extends entirely through the armature bearing 70, then forming a non-rotating point of attachment for the directionally flexible non-rotating coupling means 64 , supporting non-rotating mount means 65, for mounting the load 6. The resulting fluent power is drawn off by means of continuous power conduit means 66, which is conveniently routed down the center of the mounting means 4, which penetrates the armature bearing 70. Here the load is a generator, so the conduit means 66 is an electric cable.
The directionally flexible non-rotating coupling means 64 of this embodiment has less friction, and is therefore more efficient, and requires less maintenance than the directionally flexible rotational coupling means 63 of the previous embodiment.
While buoyant rotors are shown, since they allow the structure to remain aloft during periods of low or no wind, non-buoyant rotors could also be used, within the scope of this embodiment.
72. Figs. 96 and 97 This seventy-second embodiment is similar to the seventieth embodiment, comprising a directionally compliant non-rotating support means 60 (gimbal mount), provided with means for directional bias 61, causing an attached rotating armature 16 to steer and affect the angle of attack, as well as the horizontal angle, of the buoyant horizontal axis type rotors 13 through a linear means. The directionally flexible rotational coupling means 63, here shown as a simple universal joint, allows angular freedom between the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft and the axis of rotation of the armature 16. And the tilting hubs allow angular freedom between this upper section 9 and the attached horizontal axis rotors 13. The linear lashing means 20 of the seventieth embodiment is replaced by linear vertical axis type blades 41, which not only act to connect the arms of the armature 16 with the tips of the horizontal axis type rotor blades 12, thereby allowing the armature 16 to affect the angle of attack of each horizontal axis rotor 13, but also act to aerodynamically contribute to the rotation of the tower/driveshaft as a whole, by harvesting wind energy as vertical axis type rotor blades. Even though the vertical axis type blades 41 are not strictly vertical, but are at the same angle to vertical as is the upper section 9 of the central shaft, their direction of travel is more horizontal than their direction of projection, being substantially parallel to the plane of rotation of the armature 16. These vertical axis type blades 41 may also be buoyant, filled with a lighter than air gas, to help elevate the structure. Torque is transmitted down the length of the central shaft comprising the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft. The vertical axis type rotors 41 are illustrated as having a break at each horizontal axis rotor. They could equally well be configured as continuous, unbroken, very long blades, (see Fig. 100) having the stiffness lent by that continuity. Therefore, torque may also be transmitted, or partially transmitted by the vertical axis rotors 41, either through their stiffness, through simple tension, or both. If the vertical axis type rotors have sufficient strength, the central shaft of the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft may be omitted, within the scope of this embodiment.
73. Fig. 98: This seventy-third embodiment is similar to the previous, seventy-second embodiment, having
buoyant horizontal axis rotors mounted on tilting hubs 48, controlled by a tilting armature 16, through
elongate vertical axis type blades 41, which may be substantially continuous, running from tip to tip of
the horizontal axis rotors 13. The difference in this embodiment is that torque is transmitted by torque
transmission lashing means 18, which wraps helically from bottom to top in the direction of rotation,
running substantially from tip to tip of the horizontal axis type rotor blades 12.
When tilted relative to the shaft, the axes of rotation of the horizontal axis rotors are mutually parallel, but offset from one another. As the rotors turn simultaneously, the distance from the tip of one rotor, to the next sequential tip, in the direction of rotation, of the next rotor, will vary, with the magnitude of variance dependent on the angle of tilt. To maintain a stable configuration, it is desirable that the torque transmission lashing 18 be able to vary in length, while maintaining tension, as it completes each revolution, in order to accommodate this constantly changing distance. Therefore each torque transmission lashing means 18 is provided with slack uptake means 59 here comprising an elastic or resilient spring, to accomplish this adjustment in length, while maintaining tension. This allows the other components to more closely maintain their original configuration as they rotate, since their need to deform in order to accommodate the changing configuration as the shaft rotates is reduced.
74. Fig. 99 This seventy-fourth embodiment is similar to the previous, seventy-third embodiment, having
horizontal axis type rotors 13 with buoyant blades, with elongate vertical axis blades 41 extending
longitudinally from blade tip to blade tip of the horizontal axis rotors 13, connecting sequentially to each,
and is likewise provided with a torque transmission lashing means 18, which wraps helically from
bottom to top in the direction of rotation. In this embodiment however, all of the rotor blades, including
both horizontal and vertical axis blades, comprise lightweight, inflated structures. Optimally, they are
buoyant, meaning for atmospheric use on Earth that they are inflated with helium and/or hydrogen. (For
aquatic use, they need be less dense than water, etc.) This buoyancy helps to maintain the altitude of the
tower/driveshaft 10 structure during use, augmenting any overall lift provided by the wind, and allows
this structure to conveniently remain airborne during periods of low or no wind. There is no central shaft
in this embodiment, to save weight, with the configuration being naturally stable in a downwind
orientation, held in shape by its bouyancy, the rigidity of the rotor blades, the force of the wind, and
tension on the lashing. The non-rotating directionally compliant support means (gimbal mounting frame)
60 allows the armature 16 to track the downwind assembly of blades and lashing that comprises the
tower/driveshaft.
The optionally included directional bias means 61 may be used to exert some control over the angular orientation of the horizontal axis type rotors. The torque transmission lashing 18 may optionally be provided with slack uptake means 59, as in the previous embodiment.
75. Fig. 100 The seventy-fifth embodiment is similar to the previous, seventy-fourth embodiment, but with the inclusion of the central shaft comprising the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, and no torque transmission shown, though such could optionally be included within the scope of this embodiment. As in the previous embodiment, buoyant, elongate vertical axis type blades 41 extend longitudinally from blade tip to blade tip of the horizontal axis rotors 13, also having buoyant blades, terminating at an armature means 16. Without such lashing, the torque is transmitted by the central shaft of the upper section 9, by the elongate vertical axis type blades 41, or by a combination of both. Any torque transmission along the vertical axis type blades may be through simple tension, through the rigidity of the elongate blades 41, or by a combination of both.
76. Fig. 101 This seventy-sixth embodiment is similar to the seventy-fourth and seventy-fifth embodiments, having horizontal axis type rotors 13 with buoyant blades, with buoyant elongate vertical axis type blades 41 extending longitudinally from blade tip to blade tip of the horizontal axis rotors 13. Therefore, for atmospheric use, all of the rotor blades, including both horizontal and vertical axis blades, comprise lightweight, inflated structures, filled with H or He. In this embodiment, however, there is no torque transmission lashing, but instead, the elongate vertical axis blades 42 wrap in a helical configuration, from bottom to top in the direction of rotation, like those of the thirty-seventh embodiment, or like the helical lashing means 18 of previous embodiments, helping to transmit torque downward in tension. This helical deployment may be preconfigured, may be caused to occur due to the aerodynamic forces that naturally tend to twist the structure, or some combination of both. As in previous embodiments, these vertical axis type blades, being helically wrapped, and therefore meeting the oncoming wind at an angle, nevertheless serve aerodynamically to help the structure rotate, in a manner similar to the blades of a Darrieus type wind turbine.
Note that the downwind helical configuration of these vertical axis blades may also cause certain aerodynamic forces to be generated in the fashion of a simple Archimedian screw, and that, due to the direction in which they helically wrap around the tower/driveshaft, any such forces in this embodiment will be counter to the direction of rotation.
77. Fig. 102 This seventy-seventh embodiment is similar to the previous, seventy-sixth embodiment, having
buoyant, helically wrapped, vertical axis type blades 43, connecting the tips of buoyant, horizontal axis
type rotor blades, except that in this embodiment, they wrap in the opposite direction, running from top
to bottom in the direction of rotation, as in the thirty-eighth embodiment. As in the seventy-fourth
embodiment, helical torque transmission lashing means 18 serves to transmit torque downward to the
armature means 16. This configuration of the tower/driveshaft is essentially the structure of the thirty-
ninth embodiment, in an inflated, buoyant form; The entire structure of the tower/driveshaft floats, or is
at least made significantly lighter due to this inflated construction.
Note that the downwind helical configuration of these vertical axis blades 43 may also cause certain aerodynamic forces to be generated in the fashion of a simple Archimedian screw, and that, due to the direction in which they helically wrap around the tower/driveshaft, any such forces in this embodiment will be in the direction of rotation, helping to turn the shaft.
78. Fig. 103 This seventy-eighth embodiment is similar to the seventy-sixth embodiment, having buoyant, vertical axis type blades 42, helically wrapped from bottom to top in the direction of rotation, sequentially connecting the tips of buoyant, horizontal axis type rotor 13 blades, but with the inclusion of the central shaft of the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, as in the seventy-fifth embodiment.
79. Fig. 104 This seventy-ninth embodiment is similar to the seventy-seventh embodiment, having buoyant, vertical axis type blades 43, helically wrapped from top to bottom in the direction of rotation, sequentially connecting the tips of buoyant, horizontal axis type rotor 13 blades, also including helically wrapped torque transmission lashing 18, but with the inclusion of the central shaft of the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, as in the seventy-fifth embodiment, to help stabilize the configuration.
80. Fig. 105 This eightieth embodiment is a combination of the seventy-seventh, and seventy-sixth embodiments, having buoyant vertical axis type blades, 42 and 43, helically wrapped in both directions, connecting the blade tips of the buoyant, horizontal axis rotors 13, altogether forming a buoyant, inflated, latticework structure, every component of which serves an aerodynamic function, contributing to the rotation of the structure as a whole.
81. Not Illustrated This eighty-first embodiment is similar to the previous embodiment, illustrated in Fig. 105, but with the inclusion of the central shaft of the upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft. This upper section 9 of the tower/driveshaft, including all horizontal and vertical axis blades, comprises a buoyant, inflated version of tower/driveshaft of the fortieth embodiment.
82. Figs. 106, 107 A plurality of substantially horizontal axis type rotors 13 are coaxially mounted, at spaced intervals, along an elongate driveshaft 10. The driveshaft is substantially aligned with the wind, but at an offset angle □ , to allow each rotor to encounter at least some airflow substantially undisturbed by upwind rotors, as illustrated in Fig. 107. In this case the offset angle □ is in the vertical plane. The driveshaft protrudes in a freely rotating manner from each end of a cantilevered bearing means 5, and drives a load 6, mounted thereto. This cantilevered bearing means 5 comprises a bearing support means 4 and two bearings 11. In this case the bearing support means 4 comprises a streamlined nacelle 100. This streamlined nacelle is mounted atop a streamlined mounting pylon 97, which, by virtue of its wedge shape, also comprises elevation angle control means 36. This driveshaft/bearing/load combination is aimed into the wind much like a weather vane, being mounted on a horizontally rotatable azimuthal
directional orientation means 35, which is in this case essentially a horizontally rotatable pivot, or yaw bearing, located within the streamlined mounting pylon. In this embodiment there are five rotors mounted on the downwind section 50 of the driveshaft, and only four rotors along the upwind section 49 of the driveshaft. The extra length of this downwind section, and the fact that the streamlined mounting pylon 97 extends substantially in a downwind direction, together comprise downwind offset extension means 95. (A more clear example of such a downwind offset extension means 95 is seen in Fig. 108, where the horizontal distance B that the driveshaft projects downwind is seen to be substantially greater than the horizontal distance A that the driveshaft projects upwind.) The longer end of the driveshaft with five rotors is blown downwind because: Five rotors present more wind resistance than four.
The longer end with five rotors also has more leverage about the azimuthal pivot means 35. (This extra length of the downwind section of the driveshaft comprises a downwind offset extension means 95.) The downwind rotors also are higher than upwind rotors, and therefore encounter the higher wind speeds found at higher altitude, and are therefore more forcefully blown downwind thereby. The operative principle is not the exact number of rotors, nor their exact distance upwind or downwind, but the fact that some predominance of downwind rotors, in sheer number and/or the leverage that they exert, and/or the extra force exerted upon them by virtue of higher altitude, will produce automatic downwind orientation behavior, in the fashion of a weathervane.
The cantilevered bearing means 5 is mounted atop the horizontally rotatable azimuthal directional orientation means (horizontal pivot) 35 at a slope, or offset angle □from the horizontal plane, as determined by an elevation angle control means 36, which in this case comprises the wedge-shaped support of the streamlined mounting pylon 97, and is naturally guided by the wind to a position azimuthally substantially aligned with the wind. The entire assembly is mounted atop an elevated support means, such as the conventional tower means 90 of the drawing figures.
The nose, or upwind section 49 of the driveshaft, extending substantially into the wind, also points slightly downward, toward the ground, at offset angle □ from the horizontal plane. The tail, or downwind section 50 of the driveshaft is blown, and caused to be aimed, substantially downwind, and yet projects slightly upward, toward the sky, at offset angle □ from the horizontal plane, as well. The rotors are separated sufficiently that, with the shaft projecting at an offset angle From the wind direction there is sufficient distance from one rotor to the next to allow at least a substantial portion of each rotor disk substantial access to a relatively undisturbed airflow. In other words, the shaft is tilted enough to significantly reduce wind shadow effects from one rotor to the next, but not so much that the rotors cease to function efficiently, with enough distance between the rotors to facilitate such an optimal zone of behavior. As shown in Fig. 108, the cantilevered bearing means may comprise an axle 15 freely rotating within the bearings, supporting the driveshaft 10. This assembly may be fashioned, for example, with the axle 15 being hollow, and the driveshaft inserted therein. The driveshaft may even extend completely therethrough, in an uninterrupted fashion. The driveshaft may also be sufficiently robust to
be directly mounted in the bearings, without being held by an axle; indeed as the two may be fashioned as a single unit, there need not be any distinction between them.
• The offset angle □ need not be exclusively in the vertical plane. An offset in the horizontal plane, or at an oblique angle, or even no offset angle at all, are also possible within the scope of the present invention. Indeed, the aim of such a vertically slanted turbine may tend to naturally drift to one side, resulting in just such an oblique angle.
• The load 6 is shown as an electrical generator, but could comprise any mechanical load.
• This wind turbine weighs less than prior art turbines, and rotates faster, due to having smaller rotors. The faster rotation lowers torque, and eliminates or reduces the need for ratio gearing, further reducing weight and cost.
• Since wind shadow effects increase with increasing wind speed, upwind rotors will partially shield downwind rotors in excessively high winds, helping to prevent damage.
• The downwind section 50 may additionally bend in higher winds, further aligning the rotors with the wind, and shielding downwind rotors.
• If the offset angle □ is reduced so as to be substantially equal to zero, then the amount of fresh wind encountered by each rotor is reduced to that amount allowed to enter the stream by virtue of the distance between rotors. This lowers the available power but may protect the turbine in excessively high winds.
• While the rotors illustrated have three blades, other numbers of blades are permissible, within the scope of the present invention. For example the turbine could use two-bladed rotors.
83. Balanced Mounting Downwind of Azimuthal Pivot; Fig. 108:
In this embodiment, the upwind and downwind portions 49, 50 of the driveshaft 10 are of equal length, with an equal number of upwind and downwind rotors 13, so that the driveshaft and attached rotors are balanced about the bearings, reducing radial loading thereupon. Here, the cantilevered bearing means 5 and elevation angle control means 36 are mounted to downwind offset extension means 95, which acts to support them substantially downwind of horizontally rotatable azimuthal directional orientation means 35, about which this entire assembly pivots in the horizontal plane. Distance B, that the driveshaft projects downwind from the center of rotation of horizontally rotatable azimuthal directional orientation means 35, is greater than distance A that it projects upwind, due to the downwind horizontal projection of downwind offset extension means 95. The assembly is naturally blown downwind of the pivot point. This is, therefore, predominantly a downwind, passively oriented machine, even though the driveshaft 10 projects in equal distances upwind, and downwind, from the cantilevered bearing means 5.
• The horizontally rotatable azimuthal directional orientation means 35 can be located at any height on
the tower, with the tower divided into two sections, above and below, the upper section coaxially
pivoting atop the lower section. In this case the upper section of the tower may even bend or project to
one side, and thereby be coincident with downwind offset extension means.
• The horizontally rotatable azimuthal directional orientation means 35 may also be located at the bottom of the tower, within the scope of this embodiment, so that the entire installation, including tower, rotates as a unit.
• An advantage of this embodiment is reduced radial loading on the bearings, since the driveshaft is well balanced thereabout.
84. Eighty-fourth Embodiment, Figs. 109 and 110:
This embodiment is similar to the eighty-second embodiment, but with the downwind section 50 of the driveshaft being much longer than the upwind section 49 of the driveshaft, so that the downwind distance B is much greater than the upwind distance A. There are also many more rotors mounted along this longer downwind section. The weight of these additional rotors, and this extra length of shaft, as amplified by the leverage afforded by this additional length, are at least partially counterbalanced by a ballast counterweight 67, mounted to the upwind section 49 of the driveshaft. ft should be noted that the upwind section 49, being pointed into the wind, may be constructed more robustly than the downwind section. Such stronger construction may be sufficiently heavy to act as a counterweight by itself, without the addition of a dedicated weight.
The horizontal, or azimuthal component of the aim, is again controlled by the natural force of the wind causing lateral rotation of the cantilevered bearing means 5 and its projecting driveshaft 10 about horizontally rotatable azimuthal directional orientation means 35 (a horizontally rotatable pivot), upon which the cantilevered bearing means 5 is itself supported. The extra downwind length of the driveshaft comprises a downwind offset extension means 95, which causes this passively oriented turbine to be aimed into the wind in the fashion of a weathervane. The vertical component, or elevation angle, is controlled by an elevation angle control means 36, which in this case comprises a lifting mechanism 37, that supports the upper end of the bearing support means 4, the tubular enclosure that securely retains the bearings. This tubular bearing support means 4 pivots up or down about a pivot means 38 at its lower end. The action of this elevation angle control means 36 may be resilient in nature, and/or may be actively controlled, and/or may be configured to have a shock absorbing action. The lifting mechanism chosen for this embodiment comprises a resilient spring means 27, as moderated by a damping means 34 such as a shock absorber. In excessively strong winds the downwind section is blown further downwind, rotating it lower, so that the spring is compressed. The action of this protective mechanism places the rotors more in line with the wind, so that they tend to shield one another from the full force of the wind, preventing overspeed, and thereby limiting damage from high winds. It is a type of furling behavior, that takes advantage of the multiple rotors being alinged along a common axis. This type of furling behavior, ironically, reduces power to the rotors by aligning them more fully with the wind direction.
The elevation angle control means 36 may be so configured that the action of this elevation angle control means 36 may comprise one or more of the following:
• The action may be elastic, or resilient in nature, with lifting mechanism 37 configured to have the action of a spring, with such resilient mechanisms being well known in the art of machinery.
• The action may be actively controlled, with lifting mechanism 37 having features or properties known in the art that allow it to be actively adjusted.
• It may also be configured to have a dampening, or shock absorbing action, many mechanisms for which are also known in the art.
• It may be configured to simply have no movement in the vertical plane, that is a static arrangement, at some constant offset angle, as in the eighgty-second embodiment.
• It may be configured to remain at a constant angle, but be adjustable.
• The counterweight may be eliminated, at the expense of increased radial loading on the bearings, and increased stress on the elevation angle control means.
The exact lifting mechanism 37 and pivot 38 shown are exemplary only, serving to illustrate the point that elevational aim may be influenced in general. Many simple alternative mechanisms known in the art may be adapted to comprise the elevation angle control means 36.
85. Eighty-fifth Embodiment, balanced configuration, active elevation angle control means, active azimuthal angle control means; Fig. 111:
The Eighty-fifth Embodiment is similar to the previous three embodiments, except that the aim is actively controlled. It may have an equal number of upwind rotors and downwind rotors as in the eighty-third embodiment. In such a case, referring to Fig. 108, horizontal distance B that the driveshaft projects downwind may be substantially equal to the horizontal distance B that it projects upwind, making this not a downwind machine, nor an upwind machine, but a balanced wind turbine; Rather than being automatically steered by the wind, it is provided with directional control. In this case the direction of azimuthal directional orientation means 35 is actively controlled by active azimuthal directional orientation control means 96, illustrated here as a simple gear drive. Many means for such active directional control are well known in the art. The elevation angle is also actively controlled by elevation angle control means 36, here, as in the previous embodiments comprising a lifting mechanism 37, that supports the upper end of the bearing support means 4, the tubular enclosure that securely retains the bearings. This tubular bearing support means 4 pivots about a pivot means 38 at its lower end. The lifting mechanism 37, being actively controlled in this embodiment, is graphically represented as a simple gear drive unit.
• An advantage of this embodiment over the eighty-second embodiment is reduced radial loading on the bearings, since the driveshaft is well balanced thereabout.
• A further advantage is that power may be transmitted to ground level by a simple cable, rather than slip rings, since the active azimuthal directional orientation control means 96 can be used to keep a power cable from becoming excessively twisted in one direction.
This arrangement is capable of generating an offset angle □ in either the vertical plane, the horizontal plane, or obliquely, by a combination of horizontal and vertical adjustment.
This arrangement can also be turned sideways to the wind as a means of protection from extremely high winds. This is a typical furling behavior, actively controlled.
Eighty-sixth Embodiments: Downwind, self-orienting horizontal driveshaft with passively determined offset angle □ in the horizontal plane; Fig. 112:
In the previous, eighty-fifth embodiment, the offset angle □ could be in the horizontal plane, the vertical plane, or both.
In this embodiment, the driveshaft 10 is substantially horizontal, with the offset angle □ being in the horizontal plane. This is a predominantly downwind machine, with distance B that the downwind section 50 of the driveshaft projects downwind being greater than distance A that the upwind section 49 of the shaft projects upwind. In this case, the offset angle □ is passively determined by a fluid reactive offset angle inducing means 94, illustrated as a simple fin, or paddle, attached to the azimuthal directional orientation means 35. This simple paddle, or fm, tends to be blown downwind, causing the assembly, to which it is attached, including the driveshaft 10, to become offset from the wind direction, to a point where the offset force is balanced by the counteracting force of the downwind section of the driveshaft and its attached rotors undergoing their natural, downwind, self-orienting, weathervane-like behavior. The size and angle of the fin 94 are adjusted to provide an optimal offset angle □ to maximize power by allowing each rotor to receive a substantial portion of fresh wind, substantially undisturbed by upwind rotors. The fin 94 may also be resilient, or may be resiliently mounted, so that in exfremely high winds, it is blown into a less effective position, so that the line of rotors becomes more aligned with the wind, so that the wind shadows of upwind rotors protect downwind rotors.
87. Eighty-seventh Embodiment: Counter-rotating, balanced, downwind mounting; Fig. 113:
The driveshaft is physically divided into two counter-rotating halves, the upwind half 49, and the downwind half 50. The upwind half rotates clockwise as seen from downwind, and the downwind half rotates counterclockwise. The load 6 is also divided into counterrotating halves, an outer half 91, which, being driven by the upwind section 49 of the driveshaft, rotates clockwise, and an inner half 92 which rotates counterclockwise with the downwind section 50 of the driveshaft, as viewed from downwind. It is easy to see that the effective relative rate of rotation of the two halves 91, 92 of the load is approximately doubled by this counterrotation. This faster rate of relative rotation is desirable from the standpoint that electricity is more readily generated by most contemporary alternators and generators at such a faster rotation rate, with gearboxes usually being employed to achieve such a faster rate. There are two separate cantilevered bearing means 5 within the single bearing support means 4, supporting two separate counter-rotating axles 15.
While the driveshafts, in aggregate, are balanced about the bearing support means 4, the entire assembly is shifted downwind of horizontally rotatable azimuthal directional orientation means 35 (the horizontally rotatable pivot). Here, the elongate, tubular, bearing support means 4, being mounted to elevation angle control means 36 in an offset manner, serves the function of downwind offset extension means 95, and is so labeled. Such an offset configuration is passively self-aiming, even though the upwind section 49 and the downwind section 50 of the driveshaft are the same length, with an equal number of rotors upwind and downwind.
• An advantage of this embodiment is a faster effective relative rotation rate of the load, since it is divided into counter-rotating halves.
• A disadvantage is increased radial loading on the bearings, since each half of the driveshaft is supported in a fiiUy cantilevered manner therefrom, rather than being balanced as a single unit about the bearings.
88. Eighty-eighth Embodiment: Multiple driveshafts mounted on a rotating frame; Fig. 114:
This embodiment is similar to the eighty-second embodiment, except that in this embodiment, a multiplicity of separate driveshafts, here illustrated as two, are supported upon a rotating frame comprising supporting armature means 93. Here each driveshaft 10 has more downwind rotors than upwind rotors, as in the first embodiment, making this a passively oriented downwind machine. The extra length of each downwind section 50 of the driveshafts 10 comprise downwind offset extension means 95, which causes this machine to aim itself into the wind in the manner of a weathervane.
• This same passively oriented downwind behavior can also be accomplished with perfectly balanced driveshafts, having the same number of upwind and downwind rotors, if the supporting armature means 93 comprises a downwind offset extension means 95, such as disclosed in the eighty-third embodiment.
• As illustrated, each driveshaft powers its own separate load, although the rotation of both driveshafts may alternatively be mechanically coupled to drive a single load, within the scope of this embodiment. Means for such mechanical coupling are well known in the art of machinery.
• The two driveshafts with their attached rotors may be configured to counter-rotate. This eliminates any residual torque imbalances in the machine.
• A number, different than two, of separate driveshafts 10 may be supported by the supporting armature means 93, within the scope of this embodiment.
• The supporting armature means may extend in the vertical direction, or may even comprise an extension of the support tower 90, so that multiple turbines may be stacked vertically.
89. Eighty-ninth Embodiment: Bearing support means comprises longitudinally extended support frame- Fig. 115:
This embodiment is similar to the eighty-second embodiment with the bearing support means 4 additionally comprising a longitudinally extended support frame 101, reducing the leverage exerted by the ends of the shaft on the central portion. This support frame, along with the bearings 11, helps to
support the upwind 49, and downwind 50 sections of the driveshaft 10, at a substantially large distance from the center, so that the driveshaft 10, at its midpoint, is not overly stressed by bending forces. Ideally, the longitudinally extended support frame 101 acts to place the bearings at or near the midpoint of the upwind section 49 and the downwind section 50 of the driveshaft 10, largely removing the bending stresses from the bearings of the load 6. This support frame 101 may extend sufficiently far that one or more rotors 13 may be located between the bearings 11 and the load 6, as shown. This longitudinally extended support frame 101, together with the extra length of the downwind section 50 of the driveshaft, comprise a downwind offset extension means 95, making this a predominantly downwind, or self-aiming, wind turbine.
90, Ninetieth Embodiment: Fig. 116: This embodiment is similar to the previous one, having the upwind section 49, and the downwind section 50 of the driveshaft supported substantially near their midpoints by a longitudinally extended support frame 101. In this case the support frame 101 comprises three radial struts 105, extending substantially perpendicular to the driveshaft, projecting outward from near its midpoint, three oblique longitudinal struts extending upwind from the ends of these radial struts, to connect to the upwind bearing 11, and three oblique longitudinal struts extending downwind from the ends of the, radial struts to connect to the downwind bearing 11. A set of circumferential guy wires 104 connects to ends of these struts to stabilize them. In this case the upwind section 49, and the downwind section 50 of the driveshaft are substantially the same length, with the same number of rotors. Azimuthal guidance is, in this case, provided by a passive aerodynamic azimuthal aiming means (tail fin) 106, which, by extending downwind, and serves to maintain a heading of this wind turbine into the wind, by its tendency to be blown downwind similarly to the tails of other wind turbines.
91. Ninety-first embodiment: Fig. 117:
This embodiment is similar to the previous one except that the longitudinally extended supporting frame 101 comprises oblique longitudinal guy wires 103, rather than oblique longitudinal struts 102, to help support the bearings 11. These guy wires, being under tension, tend to apply a thrust load on the bearings 11, while helping to support them.
92. Ninety-second embodiment: Fig. 118:
This embodiment is similar to the ninetieth embodiment, except that the upper oblique longitudinal
struts are replaced by guy wires 103. These guy wires, tend to be under tension, while the lower oblique
longitudinal struts 102 tend to be under compression.
Many variations and combinations of the features disclosed in the above embodiments may prove effective, such spacing the tails further apart than one for every rotor, multiple lifting bodies spaced at intervals along the shaft, etc. These are only examples. Other modifications of the present invention will occur to those skilled in the art, and as such the scope of the present invention should not be limited by the details of the above disclosure, but should be interpreted from the broadest meaning of the following claims.




We, Claim
1. A fluid current motor for extracting energy, in the form of shaft rotation capable
of driving a load (6) from a fluid relative to surface (1), comprising:
a base (2);
an elongate driveshaft (10) extended from a single bearing point comprising a
downwind Section (50) capable of projecting from said base (2) in a
downwind direction; and a cantilevered bearing means (5),
a bearing (11) supporting said driveshaft (10) in a substantially rotational ly free
manner relative to said base (2);
a series of rotors (13, 44) attached at spaced intervals to said driveshaft (10),
each of said rotors (13, 44) comprising a substantially coplanar set of blades
that define a substantially disc shaped region from which power is extracted
from wind;
wherein said driveshaft (10) projects in a direction offset from a wind direction
but sufficiently parallel to said wind direction for said attached rotors (13, 44) to
effectively harness the wind and thereby cause rotation of said driveshaft (10).
2. The fluid current motor as claimed in Claim 1, wherein said rotors (13, 44) are axially separated by a sufficient distance to allow an admixture of at least some fresh wind, substantially undisturbed by relative upwind rotors (13,44), to enter the wind stream passing through each said rotor (13,44).
3. The fluid current motor as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said spaced intervals are equal to one another.
4. The fluid current motor as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said rotors (13, 44) comprise horizontal axis rotors (13).
5. The fluid current motor as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said rotors (13, 44) are coaxial with said elongate driveshaft (10).
5. The fluid current motor as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said elongate
driveshaft (10) comprises a directionally compliant section configured to permit said elongate driveshaft (10) to bend along its length generally in downwind direction.
7. The fluid current motor as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said base (2) is mounted on an elevating structure (80).
8. The fluid current motor as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said elongate driveshaft (10) comprises an upwind section (49) projecting from said base (2), a basal end (7), and including a series of rotors (13,44) attached to said elongate driveshaft (10) at spaced intervals, each of said rotors (13) comprising a substantially coplanar set of blades that define a substantially disc shaped region from which power is extracted from wind.

9. The fluid current motor as claimed in Claim 8, wherein said rotors (13 , 44) of said upwind section (49) are axially separated by a sufficient distance to allow an admixture of at least some fresh wind, substantially undisturbed by relative upwind rotors (13 ,44), to enter the wind stream passing through each rotor (13, 44) of said upwind section (49).
10. The fluid current motor as claimed in Claims 8 or 9, wherein said spaced intervals are equal to one another.
11. The fluid current motor of any preceding claim, wherein said bearing (11) is supported by a downwind offset extension means (95), which serves to provide an offset distance from said bearing (11) to a horizontally rotatable azimuthal directional orientation means (35), about which said extension means (95) said bearing means (11), and said elongate driveshaft (10) are free to rotate as a unit in the horizontal plane, in the manner of a weathervane.

12. The fluid current motor as claimed in any of Claims 8-11, wherein said downwind section (50) of said elongate driveshaft (10) is substantially equal in length to said upwind section (49) of said driveshaft (10).
13. The fluid current motor as claimed in any Claims 8-11, wherein said upwind section (49) of said elongate driveshaft (10) is shorter than said downwind section (50) of said elongate driveshaft (10) such that said downwind section (50) is caused to be blown substantially downwind of said base (2) so that said wind turbine is caused to be aimed substantially into the wind.
14. The fluid current motor as claimed in any Claims 8-13, wherein said rotors (13, 44) are configured such that a wind force acting on said rotors (13, 44) of said downwind section (50) is predominant over a wind force acting on said rotors (13, 44) of said upwind section (49) thereby tending to orient said downwind section (50) downwind of said upwind section (49).
15. The fluid current motor as claimed in any preceding claim, additionally
comprising an active aiming mechanism (96) configured to accomplish a directional aim of said elongate driveshaft (10) relative to said base (2).
16. The fluid current motor as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said elongate driveshaft (10) is offset from said wind direction in a vertical plane.
17. The fluid current motor as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said elongate driveshaft (10) is offset from said wind direction in a horizontal plane.
18. The fluid current motor as claimed in any preceding claim, wherein said elongate driveshaft (10) is offset from said wind direction at an oblique angle.

19. The fluid current motor as claimed in any of Claims 8-18, wherein said downwind section of said driveshaft is rotatable separately from said upwind section of said driveshaft and said downwind section and said upwind section are configured to rotate in opposite directions from one another.
20. The fluid current motor as claimed in Claim 8, wherein a basal end (7) of said driveshaft (10) is conflgured to extend into a body of water upon which said wind turbine floats, and wherein said means for applying a righting force (67) is configured to rotate with said drive shaft (10).
21. The fluid current motor as claimed in Claim I, wherein said cantilevered bearing means (5) is supported on a directionally complaint mount being a spring (39) to add stability while reducing surface clutter.
22. A method of generating power from a wind flow from the fluid current motor as
claimed in any preceding claims, comprising:
projecting an elongate driveshaft (10) in a direction offset from a direction of said
wind flow;
passing the wind flow through a substantially disc-shaped region defined by each
of a series of rotors (13, 44) attached at spaced intervals to a downwind section
(50) of said elongate driveshaft (10);
spinning said rotors (13, 44) to effectively harness said wind thereby causing
rotation of said elongate driveshaft (10); and
drawing useful power from said rotation of said elongate driveshaft (10).
23. The method as claimed in clam 22, wherein projecting an elongated driveshaft (10)
from direction of said wind flow direction in a vertical plane.
24. The method as claimed in clam 22, wherein projecting an elongated driveshaft (10) from direction of said wind flow direction in a horizontal plane.
25. The fluid current motor as claimed in claim 1, wherein said driveshaft (10) is supported by a floating body such that said wind turbine is configured for use in a marine environment comprising means for applying a righting force used for applying a downward force (a ballast counterweight (67)) or a simple chain used as an anchor (69) for resisting rotation, to said floating body.
26. The fluid current motor as claimed in claim 20, wherein water acting as a bearing for the floating body
27. The fluid current motor as claimed in claim 25, wherein floatation body being a boat (79).

Documents:


Patent Number 248480
Indian Patent Application Number 494/DELNP/2005
PG Journal Number 29/2011
Publication Date 22-Jul-2011
Grant Date 18-Jul-2011
Date of Filing 09-Feb-2005
Name of Patentee SELSAM DOUGLAS SPRIGGS
Applicant Address 2600 PORTER AVENUE, UNIT B, FULLERTON, CA 92833, USA
Inventors:
# Inventor's Name Inventor's Address
1 SELSAM DOUGLAS SPRIGGS 2600 PORTER AVENUE, UNIT B, FULLERTON, CA 92833, USA
PCT International Classification Number F03D 1/02
PCT International Application Number PCT/US02/19181
PCT International Filing date 2002-06-14
PCT Conventions:
# PCT Application Number Date of Convention Priority Country
1 09/881511 2001-06-14 U.S.A.
2 09/997,499 2001-11-23 U.S.A.