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Old 07-13-2010, 05:27 AM   #1
bosco OP
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Wind-Powered Air Compressor

It's a fantasy of mine. I know down in Oz they have wind-powered air compressors for pumping water.

Anyone know anything about setting up a wind-powered air compressor?
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:31 AM   #2
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I'd be inclined to go with an off-the-shelf wind-powered electric generator running an off-the-shelf electric compressor with a big and well-sealed tank.

This way you can switch to mains power and still run the compressor on a calm day.

Doing a direct-drive would be tricky, as you'd have to make sure that both your turbine and your air pump were operating in the correct speed range under all wind conditions. Also, it's going to be a PITA when you want air but can't get it because the wind has died down.

Honestly, I expect that on a homeowner scale this will probe to be less cost-efficient than just running an electric compressor the normal way.
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:41 AM   #3
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Actually.

I've thought about the same thing, but for a different reason.

Around the midwestern states they have a whole shit load of those wind turbines for electricity generation.

And on off peak hours a good number of these turbines will be shut down. As ususal with our grid it doesn't "store" energy it just only makes what it needs.

But what if they could use the turbine to do something else? like pressurize large air storage tanks and possibly even use that air to turn the generator in low wind conditions etc?

The only thing that really kills my idea, is as I understand it the typical air motors are rather low efficiency. But many air motors run backwards are compressors, or rather just the one way valves flipped routing become compressors, so it could be one motor/compressor unit.
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:45 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gmiguy
I'd be inclined to go with an off-the-shelf wind-powered electric generator running an off-the-shelf electric compressor with a big and well-sealed tank.

This way you can switch to mains power and still run the compressor on a calm day.

Doing a direct-drive would be tricky, as you'd have to make sure that both your turbine and your air pump were operating in the correct speed range under all wind conditions. Also, it's going to be a PITA when you want air but can't get it because the wind has died down.

Honestly, I expect that on a homeowner scale this will probe to be less cost-efficient than just running an electric compressor the normal way.


If I recall correctly the reason Austrailians use air to pump water is that it's easy to store air, but you're more limited w/ electricity.

My current thought is 1,000 gal propane tank plumbed into wind-generated compressed air w/ a small electric back-up.
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:49 AM   #5
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Right air is just a simple compressible medium, electricity is a chemical storage cell.
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Old 07-13-2010, 06:55 AM   #6
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i had this idea 30 years ago when i lived in the very windy orland calif.to use huge propane tank and store air.it was my thought to use it for shop air.run all airtools...
it is being looked into now by major interests to store power in air.air powered cars are a reality as well
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Old 07-13-2010, 08:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bosco
If I recall correctly the reason Austrailians use air to pump water is that it's easy to store air, but you're more limited w/ electricity.

My current thought is 1,000 gal propane tank plumbed into wind-generated compressed air w/ a small electric back-up.
Right. You'd store the energy as compressed air, hence my statement:

Quote:
Originally Posted by gmiguy
I'd be inclined to go with an off-the-shelf wind-powered electric generator running an off-the-shelf electric compressor with a big and well-sealed tank.
My point was that I'd pursue this using electricity as an intermediate step to get the energy from the wind to the air in the tank.

Wind----->Electricity----->Compressed air
rather than
Wind----->Compressed air

Think about it, diesel locomotives don't use the diesel engines to drive the wheels directly. The engine spins a generator which then drives electric motors to spin the wheels. Same idea.

Yes, this is theoretically less efficient since you will lose energy making the transformation to and from electricity. I suspect the additional flexibility and control will be more than worth it; plus you can use existing off-the-shelf parts rather than reinventing the wheel.
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Old 07-13-2010, 09:00 AM   #8
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Pond aeration windmills do that today, but at low pressure.

The wind turns the crank that moves a small air spring bladder. A couple check valves and there you go.
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Old 07-14-2010, 06:02 AM   #9
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What got me started on this idea is that I have a windmill in my yard, an old 30' AeroMotor, and I have a couple old compressors out in the shop.

Surely there's a way to combine the two instead of shelling-out $600(+) for a new compressor?
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Old 01-21-2013, 10:36 PM   #10
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There is a company www.windcompressor.com that makes several different size windmill powered air compressors. The rotor drives a two stage compressor directly and has several built in safety features. Bought one last year and it has been working great so far.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:36 AM   #11
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I am not sure why you want to pump water with air. The old style windmills they used around here converted wind energy to a piston action just like a hand pump.

There is one way to pump great amounts of water from a drilled well with a pipe liner. I discovered it when trying to clean sand out of a well. My 75' deep well had sand in it 13' from the top, The traditional way to clean them up is to use a large construction [air hammer] air compressor and blow a large quantity of air in the casing the well erupts in a big gusher of air,water,and sediment that goes all over the place.

Just on a whim,I tried a moderate sized 60 gallon 10 CFM compressor and dropped a weighted standard 3/8 air line into the casing . Slugs of water probably 2 gallons at a time came up and exited every 10 seconds or so. The injected air formed into big compressed bubbles of air and the water formed into 'chunks' and was ejected.

I used a 4'' tee at the top of the well casing and made a crude trough of pipes to move the water away to prevent the ground from getting soggy. It moved a lot of water with very little horsepower and moved 40' of sand/silt as well, effectively clearing the well of sediment for zero cost.

So if anyone ever need a lot of water in a hurry, and the water is not for drinking,this could work in an emergency
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:23 PM   #12
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The only advantage to using an air powered windmill is that the air can be stored in a tank and used to pump water on non windy days. A lot of people also used the stored air to run pneumatic tools and motors. The old farmer piston types can only pump water on windy days.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:37 PM   #13
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If you are looking to make a home made inexpensive one that can get up to 30 PSI please let me know as I have made and tried several different methods over the years
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jehu View Post
They must bury them really deep! I work in a shop that fabricates hydro-pneumatic tanks. We are building two 36,000 ASME tanks that will have a working pressure of 300 psi. When they are pressure tested, they are filled with water because if they were to explode with only air in them, the explosion would level the shop.
True that. I used to build oil trucks, I'm sure you know but anyone else care to venture a guess what pressure there rated for?








3 PSI that's it's 3psi. I would never use something that wasn't designed as a pressure vessel as a pressure vessel
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