I was thinking recently about the woefully bad performance that the small scale domestic wind generators [B&Q Windsave !!] appear to have and I believe that their problems are due to the fact that they are attempting to generate some significant quantity of electricity and the financial return is ultimately dissapointing to the householder.
Perhaps a better use for a domestic wind turbine would be as an intermittent baseload compressor for a domestic refrigeration system. In such an arrangement, the turbine would directly compress the refrigerant with the mechanical power never having to be converted to electricity. In such arrangement, the heat exchanger could be mounted as part of the turbine assembly and with a significant airflow of external air, this would yield an effective reverse heat pump system.
The compressed and cooled refrigerant would then be piped to the evaporator coils in the refrigerator and then returned back in the loop circuit to the turbine.
Obvously such a system would need a backup electrically powered conventional compressor for non-windy days but if the refrigerator had suffcient thermal inertia and insulation, the turbine power would provide virtually all of the food refrigeration requirments for a typical home.
Refrigeration is an ideal use for an intermittent mechanical power source given that it is in any case an intermittent but not critically timed demand.
This setup would both give a much improved overall benefit to the householder in terms of enerygy and money saving whist providing essential refrigeration capability in a future where electricity supplies will inevitably become less reliable...PowerSwitch :: View topic - Wind powered refrigerator ??
I was looking at 50 Watt turbines (electrical output) and ran into this. Parrallel Wind Turbine
. It's a 20 inch diameter turbine, that produces about half a kilowatt.
Here is US patent 6616402: Serpentine wind turbine Douglas Spriggs Selsam
. I love organic designs like this. It is stll about 10 times to big - funny. I'm not sure about stopping it in a storm. but for a camping/boat it would be perfect. For a house, if in stead(?) of insulation the box would have a lot of mass it would stay cool for days between wind. Cob
and rammed earth
pops to mind.