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.