Generator Suspended by Twisted Rope
Newton and others of his time suspended buckets of
water by a twisted rope to study basic laws of motion and mass-energy.
Similarly, one can suspend (by tripod or aerially) a generator by its
shaft, from a twisted rope or bungee, driven by AWE, as a "crude" power
regulation method. AWE input can then vary wildly according to transient
vagaries of wind and wing, but generation output is nicely smoothed.
Fixed damped spring-lines (and electrical leads) constrain the generator
case to oppose shaft input from rope twist. Input to the generator shaft
is regulated to the average RPM of the twist input from the suspension
point. RPM step-up transmission to the twisted line is still desirable.
The complexity and cost penalty of a step-up stage is often exaggerated.
The suspended generator stores energy in two ways; its rotor mass acts
as a flywheel and the entire generator is lifted by fast input to the
twisted rope, storing kinetic energy returned to the electrical load
during slackened input. The height potential of aerial methods is worth
considering. Generators could even run up and downhill on tracks as the
twisted rope varies.
It may even be practical to generate synchronous AC by such a minimal
drive-train. Networked AC generators synch if nearly matched. A
Watts-regulator on the generator shaft might help fine RPM like a figure
skater controls spin. Load control is another option.
An elastomer "rubber-band motor" performs similarly to the twisted
pendulum. Simply imagine the rubber-band twisted from one end as the
other end outputs buffered twist. A helical spring on a shaft (as garage
doors use) also does the job at low-complexity. All of these tricks
avoid massive mountings, flywheels, clutches, sprags, and such.
Wear can be high on a twisted rope that is overworked. Hanging a
generator by a rope is an ugly looking hack, but so what, its also
~Dave Santos July
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