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Patent Application Titled “Folding Blade Wind Turbine” Published Online (USPTO 20190226452)

Source: 
Energy Business Daily

2019 AUG 12 (NewsRx) -- By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Energy Business Daily -- According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by NewsRx journalists, a patent application by the inventor Pitre, John (Honolulu, HI), filed on January 28, 2019, was made available online on July 25, 2019.

The assignee for this patent application is Natural Power Concepts Inc. (Honolulu, Hawaii, United States).

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: “Modern, wind-driven electricity generators were born in the late 1970’s. Until the early 1970s, wind energy filled a small niche market supplying mechanical power for grinding grain and pumping water, as well as electricity for rural battery charging. With the exception of battery chargers and rare experiments with larger electricity-producing machines, the windmills of 1850 and even 1950 differed very little from the primitive devices from which they were derived. As of July 2008, wind energy provides approximately 1% of total U.S. electricity generation. Smaller designs with as many as 30 blades are common for irrigation in farming.

“Most modern wind turbines typically have 3-bladed rotors 10 with diameters of 10-80 meters mounted atop 60-80 meter towers 12. The average turbine installed in the United States in 2006 can produce approximately 1.6 megawatts of electrical power. Turbine power output is controlled by rotating the blades around their long axis to change the angle of attack (pitch) with respect to the relative wind as the blades spin around the rotor hub. The turbine is pointed into the wind by rotating the nacelle around the tower (yaw). Turbines are typically installed in arrays (farms) of 30-150 machines. A pitch controller (for blade pitch) regulates the power output and rotor speed to prevent overloading the structural components--during unusually strong wind conditions. Generally, a turbine will start producing power in winds of about 5.36 meters/second and reach maximum power output at about 12.52-13.41 meters/second (28-30 miles per hour). The turbine will pitch or feather the blades to stop power production and rotation at about 22.35 meters/second (50 miles per hour).

“Efforts have been made to provide mechanisms to transition the blades from the open deployed position, in which the blades are generally parallel to the mast and radially about the rotating hub, to the closed retracted position (folded back) in which the blades are generally perpendicular to the mast in a tight cluster. This allows for reducing the surface area in high wind environments, as well as for storage and ease of transport. U.S. patent application Ser. Nos. 12/461,716 and 12/461,575 incorporated herein both disclose designs for opening and closing the blades.”

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, NewsRx editors also obtained the inventor’s summary information for this patent application: “According to an embodiment of the invention, a wind turbine is provided. The turbine includes a support having an axis of rotation, a generator, a plurality of blades rotatably mounted on the support about the axis of rotation, the blades being moveable between a retracted position generally parallel with the axis of rotation and a fully deployed position generally perpendicular with the axis of rotation, the blades being connected to the generator such that rotation of the blades in a direction induced by wind causes the generator to produce electricity, and the provision of electricity to the generator motor rotates the blades, and a controller connected to the generator and configured to deliver a flow of current to the generator motor that is sufficient to rotate the folded blades and move the blades from the retracted position toward the fully deployed position and insufficient to move the blades all the way to the fully deployed position. The flow of current induces rotation of the blades in the direction induced by wind, which creates a centrifugal force that moves the blades from the retracted position toward the fully deployed position. As the blades move from the retracted position, the blades have increasing exposure to ambient wind to receive additional rotational force from ambient wind, and the additional rotational force being sufficient to, either alone or in combination with the flow of current, move the blades into the fully deployed position.”

The claims supplied by the inventors are:

“1-18. (canceled)

“19. A wind turbine, comprising: a support having an axis of rotation; a generator; a plurality of blades rotatably mounted on the support about the axis of rotation, the blades being moveable between a retracted position generally parallel with the axis of rotation and a fully deployed position generally perpendicular with the axis of rotation; the blades being connected to the generator such that rotation of the blades in a direction induced by wind causes the generator to produce electricity, and provision of electricity to the generator rotates the blades; a controller storing a blade opening protocol for the wind turbine to deliver a flow of current to the generator that is sufficient to move the blades from the retracted position toward the fully deployed position and insufficient to move the blades all the way to the fully deployed position; wherein the flow of current induces rotation of the blades in the direction induced by wind, which creates a centrifugal force that moves the blades from the retracted position toward the fully deployed position; wherein, as the blades move from the retracted position, the blades have increasing exposure to ambient wind to receive additional rotational force from ambient wind, and the additional rotational force being sufficient to, either alone or in combination with the flow of current, move the blades into the fully deployed position.

“20. The turbine of claim 19, wherein based on ambient wind speed a transitional intermediate position of partial deployment exists between the retracted position and the fully deployed position, and at the transitional intermediate position the ambient wind contributes sufficient rotational force on the blades to move the blades into the fully deployed position.

“21. The turbine of claim 20, wherein the controller reduces the flow of the current after the blades move from the retracted position to the transitional intermediate position.

“22. The turbine of claim 20, wherein the controller is configured to identify the transitional intermediate position based on when a rotating speed of the blades exceeds what is induced by the flow of the current.

“23. The turbine of claim 22, wherein the controller reduces the flow of the current after the blades move from the retracted position to the transitional intermediate position.

“24. The turbine of claim 19, wherein said controller is configured to move the blades out of the fully deployed position by slowing the rotation of the blades, such that force from ambient wind that biases the blades toward the retracted position overcomes the centrifugal force of the rotating blades that biases the blades toward the fully deployed position.

“25. The turbine of claim 19, further comprising: a first retraction protocol stored in a memory to move the blades into the retracted position, the first retraction protocol being a slowing of the rotation of the blades.

“26. The turbine of claim 19, further comprising the controller being configured to move the blades from the fully deployed position to a partially deployed position and to maintain the partially deployed position by slowing the rotation of the blades.

“27. The turbine of claim 19, wherein the blades self-adjust to a partially deployed deposition that balances effects of weight of the blades, the centrifugal force of the blades when rotating blades, torque factors imparted by the generator, and energy imparted on the blades by engaging wind.

“28. The turbine of claim 19, further comprising: a support hub rotatably mounted relative to the axis of rotation; each of the blades being pivotally mounted to the support hub; a support rod coaxial with the axis of rotation; a sliding ring mounted on the support rod; and a plurality of braces, each pivotally connecting one of the blades to the sliding ring; wherein the sliding ring moves toward and away from the support hub as the blades open and close, respectively.

“29. A method for moving the blades of a wind turbine, comprising: providing the wind turbine, the wind turbine comprising: a support having an axis of rotation; a generator; a plurality of blades rotatably mounted on the support about the axis of rotation, the blades being moveable between a retracted position generally parallel with the axis of rotation and a fully deployed position generally perpendicular with the axis of rotation; the blades being connected to the generator such that rotation of the blades in a direction induced by wind causes the generator to produce electricity, and provision of electricity to the generator rotates the blades; delivering a flow of current to the generator that is sufficient to move the blades from the retracted position toward the fully deployed position and insufficient to move the blades all the way to the fully deployed position; wherein the flow of current induces rotation of the blades in the direction induced by wind, which creates a centrifugal force that moves the blades from the retracted position toward the fully deployed position; wherein, as the blades move from the retracted position, the blades have increasing exposure to ambient wind to receive additional rotational force from ambient wind, and the additional rotational force being sufficient to, either alone or in combination with the flow of current, move the blades into the fully deployed position.

“30. The method of claim 29, wherein based on ambient wind speed a transitional intermediate position of partial deployment exists between the retracted position and the fully deployed position, and at the transitional intermediate position the ambient wind contributes sufficient rotational force on the blades to move the blades into the fully deployed position.

“31. The method of claim 30, further comprising reducing the flow of the current after the blades move from the retracted position to the transitional intermediate position.

“32. The method of claim 31, further comprising identifying when to commence the reducing the current based on when a rotating speed of the blades exceeds what is induced by the flow of the current.

“33. The method of claim 32, further comprising reducing the flow of the current after the blades move from the retracted position to the transitional intermediate position.

“34. The method of claim 29, further comprising moving the blades out of the fully deployed position by slowing the rotation of the blades, such that force from ambient wind that biases the blades toward the retracted position overcomes the centrifugal force of the rotating blades that biases the blades toward the fully deployed position.

“35. The method of claim 29, further comprising: moving the blades into the retracted position by slowing rotation of the blades.

“36. The method of claim 29, further comprising: moving the blades from the fully deployed position to a partially deployed position; and maintaining the partially deployed position by slowing the rotation of the blades.

“37. The method of claim 29, wherein the blades self-adjust to a partially deployed deposition that balances effects of weight of the blades, the centrifugal force of the blades when rotating, torque factors imparted by the generator and energy imparted on the blades by engaging wind.”

For more information, see this patent application: Pitre, John. Folding Blade Wind Turbine. Filed January 28, 2019 and posted July 25, 2019. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PG01&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.html&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=%2220190226452%22.PGNR.&OS=DN/20190226452&RS=DN/20190226452

 

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