Wind is one of those resources we find all around us in nature. It’s one of the more environmentally-friendly alternative energies around and has been tapped into for thousands of years. It has a wide variety of uses, some you may be familiar with and others not so much. So, let’s take a look at 5 smart uses for wind-powered energy:
1) Energy-generating wind turbines: Wind turbines are installed to capture the power of the wind and be able to convert it to energy. This can be on a broad scale, such as the wind turbines found on wind farms or can be on a smaller scale, such as individual wind turbines people use to generate power for their home. Companies even want to take advantage of the wind. For example, Sam’s Club was the first retailer reported to install a “significant” number of on-site micro wind turbines.
2) Wind-powered vehicles: You’ve probably heard about this one recently. A car, powered primarily by wind (using kites), just completed a 3,100 mile journey across Australia. While it wasn’t 100% powered by the wind, it was a good example of how cars can also be powered using alternative energies. It used a combination of wind, kite and batteries. In total, it reportedly used about $10-$15 of energy for the entire 3,100 mile journey. Not too shabby!
3) Wind/Kite-Powered Cargo Ships: Another great example of tapping into the power of the wind, can be found with Cargill. Cargill has stepped up and gone with the innovative idea of installing a large kite on one of its cargo ships in order to tap into the power of the wind and thus reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. Now, of course wind has been used for hundreds and thousands of year to “power” sailing and smaller vessels, but now it is being used to help power larger cargo ships as well.
You can watch a short video on this innovative emission-saving design here.
4) Wind-Powered Sports: For many, many years the wind has been used to power our love of sports, both literally and figuratively. Everything from simple kite-flying to sailing, wind-surfing, kite-surfing, hang-gliding, para-sailing, wind-skiing and more.
5) Wind-Powered Water Pumps: Using the wind to help pump water out of the ground is not something new. It is however a very helpful and sometimes much needed tool when it comes to some communities and countries. Tapping into the power of the wind makes sense, esp when it comes to the work needed to pump water.
Thankfully the wind is a resource that is abundant in many places across the globe. It is an alternative energy that is catching the eye of many, including Warren Buffett who has been investing BIG in wind power. His MidAmerican utility is reportedly the #1 utility in the U.S. in terms of wind power.
Even kids are getting involved in coming up with bright ideas and designs that allow us to tap into the power of the wind thanks to KidWind. I think I might have to make it to WindPower 2011 and check out what they have created.
You can learn a little more about KidWind here:
Needless to say, wind power is an alternative energy that has a wide variety of uses. It can be collected in many creative ways as well. Personally, I look forward to seeing what the next innovative use for harnessing the power of the wind will be. What do you think the next wind-powered marvel could be?