AEI’s Ken Starcher is gone this week at the WEATS symposium. The Wind Energy Applications Training Symposium (WEATS) is an internationally acclaimed workshop on wind energy first launched in 1988.
Designed for project planners, developers, utility officials, and engineers directly involved with energy projects within the Native American community, training will be held at three venues this year, Albuquerque, NM; Rapid City, SD; Portland, OR.
If you’re interested, you may want to check out AEI’s galleries of previous WEATS here.
Bill Paetzold was born in the depression and has been a farmer all of his life. During his years of dryland farming, he has seen the oil economy boom and bust, water levels drop, and fuel prices go through the roof. In his 70+years of wisdom, Mr Paetzold began to think there should be a better way, and he decided to do something about it rather than sit idly by.
In reading and talking to people about the energy problem, he discovered information about using hydrogen as a storage medium for energy. Using his own retirement funds, Mr. Paetzold has made an investment in equipment and his time to purchase one of the first electrolysis machines by Millennium Reign Energy. Their website is located here. He also purchased a 10 kw Bergey wind turbine.
Even that may have been enough for some, but Bill has expanded his promotion of the hydrogen economy by creating demonstrations of how hydrogen can be utilized. He has converted small engines and a 6 cylinder engine to run on straight hydrogen. He has modified a torch to run on hydrogen. He even grills his burgers on a hydrogen grill. Remember, this is hydrogen that he makes himself. His hydrogen making machine is connected to the Bergey 10 kW wind turbine. So, the wind blows, and he gets stored energy in the form of hydrogen. The hydrogen is stored in old propane tanks at 100 psi until he is ready to use it. The water that he is extracting the hydrogen from is collected from the roof of his house and barn when it rains.
It is an endless source of frustration to Mr. Paetzold that more people cannot see the simplicity and usefulness of using hydrogen on a regular basis. If we produce local, and buy local, Mr. Paetzold thinks that it could be a good thing for local economies as well.
While there is nothing new about using hydrogen, producing hydrogen, collecting rainwater, or using windpower, these items all together make up an energy system that is only utilizing locally obtainable fuel. This is Mr Paetzolds strongest argument for such use of hydrogen systems. One of the main arguments against a wind-to-hydrogen system is that efficiency of the energy storage is an issue. Mr. Paetzold is very interested in having independent testing performed on the Millennium Reign unit and proving what the efficiency of the whole system is in terms of energy stored, and energy used. The Alternative Energy Institute has expressed interest in Mr. Paetzolds work, but with neither he nor AEI have the funds to obtain the sensors needed for such testing without external funding focused on the effort.
Anyone interested in Mr. Paetzold’s hydrogen work can contact him through AEI.
LubbockOnline is featuring an article about Wind Energy in the Panhandle, quoting our very own Ken Starcher:
The title of Wednesday’s alternative-energy seminar was “What’s in the Wind?” The answer seemed to be “jobs.”
Most presentations focused on staffing an anticipated boom of wind farms, assuming credit markets get stronger and the Public Utilities Commission makes a final decision on which companies will build transmission lines.
“Wind is going to grow where there has only been cattle and cactus in the past,” said Ken Starcher, director of West Texas A&M’s Alternative Energy Institute. “In four years we’re going to have wires strung through the Panhandle.”
The focus is on the large demand from cities downstate served by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas grid.
“They don’t want any more coal plants there, but they want the lights to work,” Starcher said. “If we don’t do it with conventional plants, we’ll need to use renewables, conservation or efficiency.”
Due to the mounting demand for energy and increasing population of the world, switching from nonrenewable fossil fuels to other energy sources is not an option—it is a necessity. Focusing on a cost-effective option for the generation of electricity, Wind Energy: Renewable Energy and the Environment covers all facets of wind energy and wind turbines.
The book begins by outlining the history of wind energy, before providing reasons to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. After examining the characteristics of wind, such as shear, power potential, and turbulence, it discusses the measurement and siting of individual wind turbines and wind farms. The text then presents the aerodynamics, operation, control, applications, and types of wind turbines. The author also describes the design of wind turbines and system performance for single wind turbines, water pumping, village systems, and wind farms. In addition, he explores the wind industry from its inception in the 1970s to today as well as the political and economic factors regarding the adoption of wind as an energy source.
Since energy cannot be created nor destroyed—only transformed to another form—we are not encountering an energy crisis. Rather, we face an energy dilemma in the use of finite energy resources and their effects on the environment, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels. Wind Energy explores one of the most economical solutions to alleviate our energy problems.
There’s a new segment from High Plains Public Radio out about Panhandle wind power and ERCOT. Click here to listen.
The segment is part of the Regional News Report by Mark Haslett, who did an interview with AEI’s Ken Starcher earlier this month about how wind power might affect afterlife. Click here to hear that and check out HPPR for more local wind energy news!