Generating Power With Wind, Water, And Solar

It is three weeks after the apocalypse. No zombies yet. But you do need to charge your cell phone. How do you quickly make a wind turbine? If you’ve read this project, you might reach for a few empty water bottles. This educational project might not charge your phone without some extra work, but it does illustrate how to use water bottles to make a workable air scoop for turning a crank and possibly generating electricity.

That takes care of the wind and water aspects, but how did we get solar? According to the post — and we agree it is technically true — wind power is a form of solar power since the wind is driven by temperature differences created by the sun. Technically true!

Short of an apocalypse, this probably isn’t a very practical project, but we liked it as a possible school project. Most of it can use scrap materials. The only things you might have to buy is a motor, some bearings, and some cheap nuts and bolts. You might even have all of it, depending on how much junk you hoard.

If you do use this as a student project, it is worth pointing out the duality throughout. The post talks about how a fan and a turbine are the same devices. It also uses a motor as a generator. In each case, you might design something for better performance when used one way or another, but a surprising number of transducers can operate in both directions. For example, speakers make poor but useable microphones. LEDs can sense light, as long as light can get to the die.

Now if you want to go all out, fire up your 3D printer. There are several possible designs.

22 thoughts on “Generating Power With Wind, Water, And Solar

  1. So, cell phone service will still be available after an apocalypse?


    “wind power is a form of solar power since the wind is driven by temperature differences created by the sun. Technically true!”

    Using this same logic we could also call fossil fuels “solar power”. Fossil fuels come from ancient life forms and those lifeforms built those carbon chains through photosynthesis. So, there you go. Coal. Natural gas, gasoline, etc., are forms of solar power.

    1. Cell phones can do lots of stuff without a working cell network or even wifi. Especially if you had the presence of mind to download lots of survival info onto a flash drive and happen to own an OTG cable. Or just a flashlight, either way.

    2. As for the apocalypse that was a bit tongue-in-cheek. Sorry it was lost on you. I thought the line about the zombies was a dead give away. As for the solar power, I am quoting the original poster and I think by saying “–we agree it is technically true –” we were pretty clear in signaling it was a stretch of the definition.

      I mean, honestly, I don’t think either of these are at the heart of the post, do you?

  2. PLEASE, did anyone fall for this! Hackaday, you’ve been hacked.
    “Because the turbine is designed to spin only in one direction, the current from the motor should always be the same polarity. ” Like a bottle can be directional. Maybe if he faces the labels all in the same direction

  3. Technically so is nuclear fission. The heavier elements are generated from supernova and apparently neutron star collisions. About the only thing that isn’t stored solar power is fusion of the lightest elements, which would be stored big bang power.

  4. The engineer inside me turned rly mad by just viewing this. 3 for the effort but -5 for execution. This “turbine” assembly will need a Storm to move. There is friction everywhere!

    And what’s even worse! Why the hack had it to be Nestle’s “smart water” from all the bottles out there, those are the most stupid. Not even that I am not a fan of Nestle for plenty of reasons, just look up how “smart water” is made.
    So another -5 for resource wasting in a green project.

    1. I agree it wasn’t an engineering tour de force. But I really don’t think they meant it as a usable project. More for education and we added the whimsy of a field expedient during the lead up to the zombie apocalypse.

  5. “It is three weeks after the apocalypse. No zombies yet. But you do need to charge your cell phone”
    That must be some classic Nokia. Of course it could run longer but you know… SNAKE!

  6. Of course mobile phones will still work during post apocalyptic period but sooner or later you cannot connect because cell sites and networks needs to be maintained. Without anyone maintaining it, it will break so though you need some sort of energy for power, it would not be the phones that you will power. Not even satellite phone because even if it still work nobody will handle your subscription.

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