Alternative Energy - Windmills


With the recent rise in the popularity of renewable and alternative energy sources, wind power has become a legitimate mainstream option and the technology is advancing faster than ever before. Windmills are a popular choice for pumping water and supplementing electricity because they are reliable, inexpensive to purchase and maintain, and attractive.

The first windmills were developed between 500 and 900 A.D. in Persia to automate the process of grinding grain and pumping water to feed both crops and livestock. As the technology spread to Europe, the British and Dutch mastered the automatic control mechanisms to complete these same processes. Windmills, along with watermills, were the main sources of mechanical power throughout the middle ages. Millwrights were highly skilled craftsmen who advanced and expanded the technology alongside European colonization. In 1854, a young engineer from Connecticut named Daniel Halladay, designed the self governing windmill. Unlike its European predecessor, it could pull water from hundreds of feet beneath the earth and had a tail fin that automatically changed the direction of the windmill to face the incoming wind. This fin would also cause windmill to shift back and forth in high winds to prevent any damage to the internals or blades from spinning too fast. To this day, his basic design is still being used by farmers, ranchers, and rural property owners throughout the world.

The basic mechanics of a windmill are simple. The wheel or fan of the windmill has multiple blades on it that spin around on a shaft. The internal mechanism of the windmill transfers energy from a circular motion into an up and down motion that drives a pump rod. This rod extends to the bottom of the well and connects to a piston inside of a cylinder similar to that of a combustion car engine. As the piston is forced down, the cylinder is filled with water, and as it comes up, the water is forced up the well pipe. This simple and effective design has remained largely unchanged for over 150 years.

Windmills can be extremely valuable to Northern Arizona Ranch land owners and Arizona horse property owners because they can provide a reliable and safe water supply for humans, livestock, and crops. Prescott, AZ has an average wind speed of 13mph making it an excellent location for the use of windmill.

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