Utilizing the Wind passing By to Generate Electricity

Utilizing the Wind passing By to Generate Electricity

Noticed a patent that is being considered for sailing vessels: 20120286513. It is being applied for but I believe another one has already been approved for a patent. Any consideration of using such a device to maintain battery charge or at least, elongate the period between stationary re-charges using such a device? After all, another source of power becomes available once the vehicle starts moving.

Brian H | 15 juin 2013

Large sail, low speed. Not useful for cars.

David70 | 15 juin 2013

Best use of wind to improve range is to only drive with the wind. While you're at it, only drive downhill.

stuey81 | 16 juin 2013

would create more drag than engery gain whilst moving

bent | 16 juin 2013

There are some ships with huge (experimental) kites to capture energy from the winds. This is completely impractical for a car.

You could envision a car with a windmill sticking out of it. This would kill the aerodynamics and in all likelihood generate more drag than the energy it would produce even in favourable wind conditions.

Then there's sails. Heh.

The patent referred to by the OP captures wind through the front grill and uses it to drive a turbine. This would directly work against the engine trying to drive the vehicle forward and so seems of dubious utility.

The only concept I could see being even remotely useful is one where you capture wind while the vehicle is stationary, either through ducts into the interior or via a fold-out windmill type contraption. This is never going to generate so much electricity it would make sense to charge the main battery from it. At best I can see it used as a sort of backup power supply to your 12V battery. Which is incidentally also the only real use case I see for a solar panel on the roof.

Brian H | 16 juin 2013

Adding energy-generating doodads to the car is a losing proposition. Never going to happen.

olanmills | 17 juin 2013

This is awesome. I was just posting in another thread about how this place is fun because there's always some new guy posting about a perpetual motion scheme.

When I read the original post in this thread, I assumed the patent was basically for a sail (which would work, but would be impractical), but yeah, if you look at the patent, it's for a self-charging system.

Here's another one: At first, I thought this was regenerative braking using flywheels, but I think the patent is actually claiming eergy production while driving by using flywheels. lol

TI Sailor | 17 juin 2013

+1 bent

When I lived out of state and 500 miles from my sailboat, I had a solar panel on deck to keep my battery banks charged (for use by the bilge pumps if/when needed). Sailboats at anchor often use SV panels and/or wind generators for similar purposes. However, as has been noted, these are relatively small AGM batteries with infrequent need for significant recharging.

JaneW | 18 juin 2013

Yup. I have a solar panel on my RV to keep the coach batteries charged. No good for a car.
And I did hear that Nicola Tesla invented a perpetual motion machine, but they
can't get it into the new museum.

RanjitC | 18 juin 2013

When will these threads stop. this is probably the fourth time a bright spark has brought up this idea.

RanjitC | 18 juin 2013

Excuse the grammar and punctuation.

Skotty | 18 juin 2013

Wind power is only useful if you are moving slower than the wind.

Timo | 18 juin 2013

You can actually utilize wind to move a lot faster than wind. Sailboats do that all of time, and there is one fancy physics trick that can make you go twice as fast as wind directly downwind utilizing a big fan in a land vehicle (doesn't work other direction).

None of these are useful for car obviously.

Vawlkus | 19 juin 2013

I wonder how much power a sail with solar cells woven into it would produce....... Be a pain to link together with the motions a sail goes through, but it's a curious thought none the less.

TI Sailor | 19 juin 2013

+1 Vawikus

Rigid wing sails and masts have been used on racing boats, including America's Cup entrants. However, since weight aloft is detrimental, present-day PV's woven into either would necessarily need to be close to the deck and flexible. Wiring probably wouldn't be a problem since these sails & masts are not lowered but rather depowered by heading directly into the wind. That said, perhaps lightweight PV's are just around the corner and will find their way into sailing as you suggested.

Okay Brian H. Tear this one apart too... :)

Timo | 20 juin 2013

Lightweight PV exists. It just has very low conversion ratio, so you need lot of area to get anything out of it.

hasse | 20 juin 2013
olanmills | 21 juin 2013

@RanjitC Never!

Also, there have been way more than four of these threads.

Al2112 | 21 juin 2013

Not long ago, the concept of using electricity to power an automobile was considered impractical. Forward thinking individuals disregarded the criticism. Would it be practical to build an automobile with a "wind mill" sticking out of it to charge itself?
"If man were meant to fly, he'd have wings!" Wait a minute, that phrase doesn't apply here...or does it?
A "wind mill" sticking out of an automobile? How about a boat anchor to stop it with? Extreme remarks such as these are intended to ridicule an idea, not to debate it. Of course one wouldn't attempt to use a boat anchor on an automobile as a braking system, no more than one would attempt to utilize a windmill protruding from the vehicle as a means of harnessing energy from the wind. Either concept would be ridiculous of course, mainly due to the unacceptable amount of "drag" produced against the vehicle, right?
Most of us have stretched our arms out the window of a moving car and have felt a very significant force of wind against our open palms. I don't think that many of us can make an honest assertion that this action caused any significant drag on the vehicle.
We can also comfortably assert, that when the vehicle is stationary, (unless you have a front row seat to a tornado or hurricane) wind force against one's open palm is quite insignificant.
The fact is, that while the vehicle remains stationary, it is of little use to us and that is not what we should be focused on.
When we are in a moving vehicle, there is a great deal of wasted energy passing unseen, right outside our windows. We know this to be true, we just can't seem to get our minds around it.
The question here, in my humble opinion, is what to do with this perpetual source of energy? Will Tesla, advanced as they seem to be in electric car technology, conceive a means to harness this energy to perpetually power a motor vehicle or stand by and allow somebody else to do it? It will be done. You can mark that down.

cloroxbb | 21 juin 2013


Keep dreaming. This "perpetual source of energy" flowing over the car while in use is CREATED by the car. Like you said, a car sitting is not producing wind. Since it is being created by the car, then it is being made using the car's fuel (be it gas, or electricity). Trying to "harness" that wind being created by the car's movement thru space, will, according to physics, require MORE power than is harnessed.

We ridicule because you cannot disregard the laws of physics. No matter how much you "think" its possible, it just isn't, and all these perpetual motion ideas where you get out more energy than you put in, just isn't feasible.

Al2112 | 21 juin 2013

Germany's high speed rail system not only produces it's own energy, it produces a surplus that is sold back to power companies. It moves under it's own power created by energy that it produces itself.
What does this have to do with an electric vehicle's ability to harness and store it's own energy independently? In regard to capturing wind energy for power, nothing at all. But creating a device with the ability to power itself is not only possible, it has been done.
Although the concept should be clear enough, the proposition is not suggesting that wind energy be used as a primary source to power an electric motor in an automobile. Rather that a fifty-sixty MPH wind, for example, be utilized to rotate a wind turbine, substantially geared to to power an on-board generator that will charge the vehicle's batteries. This is not new technology. On-board generators have been used to charge automobile batteries for decades. Most of us know for a fact that even a gas powered engine in an automobile will not run very long on battery power without a functioning generator. As long as the generator is providing power to the batteries, a sufficient amount of energy is provided to the ignition system to run the engine. If the generator fails, the engine will continue to pull energy from the battery instead, until that energy has expired. On the other hand, the same vehicle will continue to run if the battery fails. It will pull energy from the generator. I am not suggesting (at this point) that an electric vehicle be powered from a generator that is turned by the wind it produces while in motion. Merely that the vehicle's electric motors can be powered by the very batteries being charged by the vehicles on-board generator that is in turn, powered by the vehicles motion through the atmosphere or "wind".

pajis | 21 juin 2013

All pesimsits, consider this. What do you see, when you look at the model S from the front? Front mask with a hole through which the air flows to chill the car cooler. So there is some drag. Hypotetically, if you remove the cooler and install a wind turbine instead of it, will be the drag higher? I think no, the surface of the car will still be the same. So with the existing amount of drag I think there is a potential to gain back some energy, which is used to get over the drag. It´s no perpetual mobile, it just recover some energy back. The same principle is when you brake - you need an energy to move a car, when you brake you get some energy back. Not the same amount of course, but it´s worth doing this system.
Another example with the hand from window. If you put from the window a wind mill of the same size as your hand and the consider that the drag is the same, which gadget makes more energy? Hand or windmill? And I agree, that the energy created by windmill will be lover than the additional energy needed to move the car with windmill outside.
But as I wrote, when the windmill will be placed inside the car where the air actually flows now, it should create some energy with no additional energy needed, because the drag is still the same.

Timo | 21 juin 2013

@Al2112, whoever has told you that Germany has a perpetual machine train has lied to you. Or is equally ignorant as you are about physics ans someone else has lied to him/her.

pajis, any turbine/windmill etc causes drag. That's the requirement for producing energy out of wind.

pajis | 21 juin 2013

Timo, I am aware that any turbine etc. causes drag. I just wanted to point out, if there already is a part at car, which causes drag and this part is replaced by turbine with same drag, so it should return some energy back. The output will probably be low, but still it should be positive.
Or sci-fi - when your car brakes or goes downhill, the covered turbine appears and generates power. Additional drag doesn´t matter, because the car is already braking :)

Timo | 21 juin 2013

Air drag is big enemy of car range, and if you can smooth up airflow then do that without fan/turbine, you get more out of it. Only way where fan could be useful in that is if you could somehow utilize it to reduce turbulence. In fact it would probably be better to use a bit energy to push air faster in some places instead of trying to get some energy out of airflow.

Utilizing airflow caused by car movement to generate electricity is a lost cause. It just wont work.

Think of it like propeller airplane. Scenarios:

1) One propeller used to push airplane thru air.
2) put a propeller in both ends of the plane and use one to power the other.

Which one you think is a smarter one? It's exactly same thing with cars.

olanmills | 21 juin 2013

I can't believe people can be so stupid. It's one thing to think of the idea, it's another to keep arguing about it when you have no science or experiments as evidence when we do.

cloroxbb | 21 juin 2013


I see what you are saying, but of course the ONLY time wind turbine would be useful would be when the car is not using power to move. So basically only using it in those same instances when you would use the regenerative braking. In that case, yes, it could be useful.

Al2112 | 21 juin 2013

I assumed that I was among visionarys. Thanks Timo and friends for straightening me out. I see now that I am in the wrong place.
Let's hope that some of these gentlemen are not members of Tesla's engineering department. Any person attempting to hide their own ignorance by accusing others of the same, lacks merit and continues to remain stagnant and unproductive. I have no use for such company. Adios.

ian | 21 juin 2013

If Tesla's engineers thought this was a workable idea why didn't they include it on the car?

cloroxbb | 21 juin 2013

Don't let the door hit you on the way out :)

If you are including yourself as being a "visionary" maybe you could spell the plural correctly.

PorfirioR | 21 juin 2013

Interesting how people make up or distort a fact, then think that if they argue the loudest, it will become true.

I decided to actually read (novel concept) about the claim in one of the previous responses in this thread regarding the Germany high speed rail.

Al2112 said" "Germany's high speed rail system not only produces its own energy, it produces a surplus that is sold back to power companies. It moves under its own power created by energy that it produces itself."

Google searches for news of the laws of physics being cancelled in Germany turned up no results. So I searched for new developments in train energy.

Actually, part of Al2112's claim is correct: there is a train.

The train was developed by MTU Friedrichshafen, a German engineering firm.
Here are some links:
The one energy innovation that MTU Friedrichshafen has engineered into this train is described as using "kinetic energy that’s normally lost during braking, converting it to electricity that’s stored in a battery". In other words, regenerative braking.

By the way, MTU is a manufacturer of very large internal combustion engines who can now claim to have a "hybrid" in its catalog.

Timo | 22 juin 2013

@Al2112, you are simply wrong in believing that you could use airflow produced by car movement to generate more energy than you lose doing that. That's simple fact. Instead of storming out with "people don't get me" -attitude or repeating same claim over and over again so that people here get tired to explain why you are wrong, ask yourself why you are wrong. Read our replies with thought. You could learn something in here.

Brian H | 22 juin 2013

The train companies would sure giggle at the thought they had been paying the utilities millions unnecessarily for electricity to run the high-speed rails.

dbrink | 10 décembre 2013

I didn't read all of the other comments, so this idea may have already been mentioned, but hear me out. Putting a small fan/propeller in the front of a vehicle, where the vehicle's grill is located, would, when the vehicle is in motion create a reasonable wind speed which would pass through this propeller and could generate a fair bit of energy. Now, this could not power the vehicle fully, but it may be able to create enough power to charge the battery while the vehicle is in motion. Instead of using an outlet to charge the battery of a vehicle or using a gas powered generator inside the car, this propeller would act as a turbine that could charge the battery.
Think of an electric vehicle driving 70 mph on the expressway. The speed that a propeller in the grill of the vehicle could reach would be very high. And to increase output to its maximum, one could simply increase the mass of the propeller.

Brian H | 10 décembre 2013

You were admitted to a university? Sad.

The wind you speak of is entirely the result of forward motion produced by the car using energy from the battery. Trying to use it amounts to increasing the drag on the car, to produce a fraction of the energy required to overcome that same drag. A loss.

bent | 11 décembre 2013

To be fair, people go to university because they don't know stuff yet. If he already knew everything why would he waste his time attending uni?

Timo | 11 décembre 2013

I would think that people even trying to get to university have some basic knowledge about physics. This is really elementary school stuff. University is quite a few steps higher education.

RanjitC | 11 décembre 2013

This is the sad state of K-12 education in the USA. Have you seen the latest PISA findings?

TSLAholic | 13 décembre 2013

I transferred to a US public school in the middle of 7th grade. It was rather dissapointing to find out the level of math being taught in 7th grade US public schools was equivalent of what would be considered 3rd grade level in Europe.

cloroxbb | 14 décembre 2013


Read all the posts before you post. It will help you avoid our mire.

Brian H | 15 décembre 2013

Our ire, even.