Monday, June 15, 2009
Maglev wind turbine
I'm sure most of you have seen this, but I thought I would talk about it. The maglev wind turbine uses powerful rare earth magnets instead of bearings. They are arranged in such a way as to repulse each other and makes it so that the moving outer shell and blades rotate while riding on a cushion of magnetism. This makes the turbine more efficient but also means that extremely large turbines can be made. The one in this picture is about 4,000 to 5,000 feet tall. The foot print for the whole device is 100 acres and produces up to 1,000 megawatts. That is about 2,100 feet square at the base. The inside cylinder would be about 700 feet in diameter. The project would cost $54 million to make, but I think they should spend more and use the internal cylinder for housing and stores. That is about 300,000 square feet per floor at about 400 floors, or 120 million square feet. By contrast, the two world trade center buildings had 10 million square feet of office space. You could easily house 100,000 people inside the turbine as a self sustaining city with its own power generation, rain water collection, lower level massive worm farm for processing sewage and compost. I could go on, but you get the picture.
Let's compare cost between other power generation options.
Technology..........Acre/MW ........cost per MW
Wind Farm............ 60......... $1.2 - 2.6 million
Nuclear.................. 2.5............... $2 million
maglev................... 0.1................ $54,000
Notice that the footprint for the maglev is incredibly small for what you get. You could take an existing windfarm, get rid of a couple of turbines and put the maglev in that spot. Also, the first city to make one of these will have more tourism than imaginable. The only real problem is that they use rare earth magnets. I don't know how much neodymium there is, but it could be a problem. But, uranium is rare too and this blows nuclear power away. Maglev is 97% cheaper and has a 25 times smaller footprint. Even less when you think about how much land is used up in mining uranium and storing spent fuel and waste.