An Important Introduction, and a reminder of why utterpower uses a big Ole flywheel as part of our logo, and why flywheels may be helpful in resolving some very large power production problems. Can’t stand the important introduction? Jump to the link below..
We’ve discussed in past posts that there’s a lot of unsettled business on the power grid caused by the new Green Power Producers that can’t keep the traditional commitments of the time-tested and evolved power production contract. While our ‘Gang Green’ friends (including politicians like my Governor) ignore the problems as if they’re made up, informed people who have retained some of what they learned in Junior High School seek answers to the problem.
Example of FW Magic?
Some years back, one of our DIY Brothers who made a lot of his own power was intrigued by how easy some motors start, and how others pretty much look like a crow bar dropped across the power leads out of your generator. Some of us learn early about the average refrigerator that is designed to operate on the grid. IF you have a KILL A WATT power meter plugged between the power source and the fridge, you can actually observe the difference between plugging in a well rested fridge where the pressure has been bled off the compressor, and time has allowed pressures inside to equalize, and one that you interrupt and attempt to restart. Wow! what a difference you’ll observe, and this load can kick a small or well loaded power plant off line when the circuit breaker or low voltage dis-connect opens.
We understand why engineers don’t add a simple timer or pressure switch to allow the fridge time to rest and equalize before a restart. It’s simply a VERY small part of the population that will attempt to run a fridge ‘off the grid’ and perhaps with a small generator, or inverter where the problem might show up if you’re plugging and unplugging stuff. We should note that they are forced to address an overheating situation for safety reasons, and that thermal relay they included in the design WILL open if the compressor rotor can not turn and windings inside the motor start to overheat. For an Off-Gridder with smaller power potential the thermal switch may be tripped in that fridge before the generator can trip out, and he may not understand exactly why his fridge starts easy sometimes, and not others.
There are many motors that require a generous amount of current from the grid to start, (cheaper to produce) some of these motors might find their way into drill presses, or other general service, they could be designed to start easier and with far less current, but the DIYer understands the reality that the average person shops by price along, and spending an extra dollar per motor could put your company out of business. This is something that new engineers have to keep in mind when they meet with those nasty Bean Counters that win all too many battles. Once they sit back and see the world for what it is, perhaps they should thank the Bean Counter for the fact they have a job at all?
We need always remind ourselves that we are virtually ‘One Percenters’, we don’t even show up on the radar screens of Mass Marketeers, and we should expect to modify these loads OR manage them according to our needs.
One example of flywheel magic for you…, some years ago, an Off-Gridder writes in about a hard to start motor in his shop, he had a situation that seemed a little counter intuitive, perhaps it was an example of over-unity itself? (tongue in cheek). This hard to start motor started right up WHEN there was another larger motor running in the shop, but wouldn’t start at all WHEN that other motor was turned off.
Perhaps you already know the answer, that other motor was a grinder and the mass added to the motor shaft was storing energy and returning it to our circuit WHEN the other motor put what looked like a low resistance short across the power line. The grinder became a producer of power and returned that energy into the power line as the grinder motor dropped below ‘slip’ speed, the Generator AND the Grinder motor together were able to generate enough current to start the cheaply made and hard to start smaller motor, and as soon as it’s rotor began to turn, the CEMF opposed the current flow into the motor, and the Generator, and Motor Shafts were able to return to their normal operating RPM together.
NOW that you have an example of a real life situation… on with the story. Let’s consider the this off grid shop, he came up short in power production and there were a number of ways he might have met his power requirement, one might have been a grid tie, where power would have flowed through his power meter and parallel to his own power production. He could have had power line to his Neighbor’s house, and borrowed the same energy from him, and together they could check a power meter between them and settled up the difference through barter.
Let’s look at the Wind farm and why they need that FLY WHEEL or other source of reliable energy yesterday!
It’s the Crown Jewels of Politicians here (WIND POWER) and of course, I’ll mention my Governor; who makes people in Washington State swoon with her every mention of Green Energy investments,… whether they be voluntary of forced, whether it works or not, makes no difference to the majority of Washington State Voters, nor will our local media EVER make mention there’s some serious problems, why would they dare piss off those who desparately want to believe in magic? That beautiful face on King 5 TV is NOT paid to educate you, She knows her job depends on viewership, and how important it will be to dispense only what the majority of the viewers want to hear. Imagine your Local Target Store placing Greeters at every store entrance during the holidays to educate your children. “Timmy, I’m here as a public service to let you know there’s no Santa Claus!”
Power Production Contracts are signed according to need, there is no reason to generate power unless you have a customer who wants to buy it. The City of Seattle is no different from our off grid shop, they need power, and they expect it to be there when they turn the light on. Consider that contract for power production, BPA or another entity offers to buy megawatt hours for a certain period of time, if the power producer fails to deliver, others have to scramble to cover that shortage, if it’s a large wind farm, and we see a calm right in the middle of the contracted power production period, who pays to scramble to pick up that load? Governor Gregoire’s principal supporters believe in magic, she knew how popular it would be to KILL that power plant in Western Washington, as it uses fuel and even makes CO2! Seems to me it would have made a great tool to fill in the gaps of power production when the water level is low, when the wind doesn’t blow, and when the sun doesn’t shine, but when the average voter believes in magic, is it wise to do more than promise them the free ride they demand?
But now there’s a new old game in town.. Flywheels! Sure we’ve studied them to death, but no doubt, there’s an army of grant writers busy today, they’ll be asking Politicians to spend millions if not billions of tax payer money on the magic flywheel 😉
But now.. you get to watch the fun. Your elected Politicians have sold their very Souls in exchange for votes and popularity. Had we left all this up to the Professionals in power production, they would have identified these expenses and assured they were picked up by the right entity. Politicians of course only worry about their next election, and they could care less. Perhaps the contracts have been awarded and the only place to fund all these expenses is out of your back pocket?
Happy New Year! don’t worry… be happy