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Title:
WIND-POWERED GENERATOR FOR GENERATING ELECTRIC ENERGY
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/086945
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A wind-powered generator for generating electric energy (1) comprising at least one rotor (2) which is supported by a fixed structure (3) so that it can rotate about a rotation axis (2a) and is connected to an electric power generation device (4), the rotor (2) being located proximate to a region affected by the transit of vehicles so that it can be actuated by the air current generated by the passage of the vehicles.

Inventors:
BENINI, Ernesto (Via Alessandrini 44, Torreglia, I-35038, IT)
ZERBINATO, Alberto (I.C.I. Caldaie S.P.A, Via Giovanni Pascoli 38, Zevio - Fraz. Campagnola, I-37059, IT)
Application Number:
EP2008/000010
Publication Date:
July 24, 2008
Filing Date:
January 02, 2008
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
I.C.I. CALDAIE S.P.A. (Via Giovanni Pascoli 38, Zevio Fraz. Campagnola, I-37059, IT)
BENINI, Ernesto (Via Alessandrini 44, Torreglia, I-35038, IT)
ZERBINATO, Alberto (I.C.I. Caldaie S.P.A, Via Giovanni Pascoli 38, Zevio - Fraz. Campagnola, I-37059, IT)
International Classes:
F03D3/00; F03D5/04; F03D9/00
Domestic Patent References:
WO2005003553A12005-01-13
Foreign References:
DE10330601A12005-02-03
GB2278645A1994-12-07
US5137416A1992-08-11
GB2344382A2000-06-07
GB2360834A2001-10-03
DE202004002328U12004-07-01
DE4310094A11993-09-02
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ALAGEM MODIANO, Lara, S. (Modiano & Associati, Via Meravigli 16, Milano, I-20123, IT)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. A wind-powered generator for generating electric energy comprising at least one rotor which is supported by a fixed structure so that it can rotate about a rotation axis and is connected to a device for generating electric power, characterized in that said at least one rotor is arranged proximate to a region affected by the passage of vehicles so that it can be actuated by the air current generated by the passage of said vehicles.

2. The wind-powered generator according to claim 1 , characterized in that said at least one rotor is arranged to the side of a road or railroad. 3. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one rotor is mounted on a barrier for laterally delimiting said road or railroad.

4. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one rotor is arranged in the space that separates two side-by-side carriageways or rail tracks.

5. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one rotor is installed on a dividing barrier between said carriageways.

6. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one rotor is arranged above said road or railroad.

7. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one rotor is coupled to a bridge-like structure which straddles said road or railroad. 8. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one rotor is supported by the walls of a tunnel which is crossed by said road or railroad.

9. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that it is associated with at least one electric device for serving said road or railroad.

10. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one rotor comprises a hollow body which is delimited laterally by a plurality of vanes distributed with a constant pitch along an annular region which is concentric with respect to said rotation axis.

11. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said at least one rotor is arranged so that its rotation axis is substantially vertical.

12. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said vanes have a longitudinal extension which is substantially parallel to said rotation axis.

13. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said vanes are wound longitudinally in a helical shape. 14. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said vanes are extended in a spiral around said rotation axis.

15. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that each of said vanes is extended longitudinally, from an intermediate portion thereof toward the corresponding ends, so as to progressively approach said rotation axis.

16. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said vanes have, in a transverse cross-section, a curved shape with a concavity oriented in the opposite direction with respect to the direction of rotation of said rotor.

17. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said vanes have the shape of a wing profile in transverse cross-section.

18. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that each of said vanes forms, with an

imaginary extension thereof which is traced starting from its outer longitudinal edge directed away from said rotation axis, an angle ranging substantially from 0° to 180°, and more preferably from 20° to 30° or from 150° to 160°, with respect to a plane which is tangent to the rotation surface traced by said outer longitudinal edge and passes through said outer longitudinal edge.

19. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that each of said vanes forms, substantially at its inner longitudinal edge which is directed toward said rotation axis, an angle ranging substantially from 0° to 180° and more preferably of approximately 90° with respect to a plane which is tangent to the surface of rotation traced by said inner longitudinal edge and passes through said inner longitudinal edge.

20. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said vanes are supported, at their respective ends, by two vane supporting disks which are rigidly rotationally coupled to a shaft which is arranged coaxially to said rotation axis and is connected functionally to said device for generating electric power.

21. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that visual indication means, for indicating the shape of said road or railroad, are associated with said at least one rotor.

22. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said visual indication means comprise reflector elements which are applied to said vanes of said at least one rotor.

23. The wind-powered generator according to one or more of the preceding claims, characterized in that said visual indication means comprise luminous elements which emit their own light and are applied to said vanes of said at least one rotor.

Description:

WIND-POWERED GENERATOR FOR GENERATING ELECTRIC

ENERGY

Technical Field

The present invention relates to a wind-powered generator for generating electric energy. Background Art

As is known, a problem which is currently strongly felt is the generation of electric power with high efficiencies from nonpolluting sources which are an alternative to oil. A known solution to this problem is to use the kinetic energy of wind by using wind turbines constituted by a propeller-like rotor which can rotate about a horizontal axis.

This solution suffers some drawbacks.

Turbines of the type described above, besides being considerably expensive, in fact have a certain noise emission, and in order to provide adequate power they must be placed in very windy sites and therefore generally they are at a considerable distance from inhabited areas and thus from the users that they serve most, with consequent complications for the transport of the produced electric power. Disclosure of the Invention

The aim of the present invention is to provide a valid solution to the drawbacks cited above by providing an wind-powered generator for generating electric energy which allows to generate electric power without pollutant emissions even in regions which are not very windy and are close to the users to be supplied.

Within this aim, an object of the invention is to provide an wind- powered generator for generating electric energy which is capable of using in an optimum manner air flows available in densely inhabited areas.

Another object of the present invention is to provide a wind-powered generator for generating electric energy which thanks to its particular

constructive characteristics is capable of giving the greatest assurances of reliability and safety in operation.

Still another object of the present invention is to provide a wind- powered generator which can be obtained easily starting from commonly commercially available elements and materials and is also competitive also from a merely economical standpoint.

This aim and these and other objects, which will become better apparent hereinafter, are achieved by a wind-powered generator for generating electric energy comprising at least one rotor which is supported by a fixed structure so that it can rotate about a rotation axis and is connected to a device for generating electric power, characterized in that said at least one rotor is arranged proximate to a region affected by the passage of vehicles so that it can be actuated by the air current generated by the passage of said vehicles. Brief Description of the Drawings

Further characteristics and advantages of the invention will become better apparent from the description of some preferred but not exclusive embodiments of the wind-powered generator according to the invention, illustrated by way of non-limiting example in the accompanying drawings, wherein:

Figure 1 is a perspective view of the generator according to the invention, arranged at the space that separates two carriageways of a road

Figure 2 is a perspective view of a possible application of the generator according to the invention, to the side of a road; Figure 3 is a perspective view of a possible application of the generator according to the invention proximate to a railroad;

Figure 4 is a top perspective view of the generator according to the invention, installed on an overpass;

Figure 5 is a perspective view of a possible embodiment of the rotor; Figure 6 is a view of the rotor of Figure 5, with visual indication

means associated therewith;

Figure 7 is a view of a possible application of the rotor of Figure 6;

Figure 8 is a top perspective view of the generator according to the invention, applied to lampposts; Figure 9 is a perspective view of another embodiment of the rotor;

Figure 10 is a sectional view of a vane of the rotor of Figure 5, taken along a plane which is perpendicular to the axis of rotation of the rotor. Ways of carrying out the Invention

With reference to the figures, the wind-powered generator for generating electric energy according to the invention, generally designated by the reference numeral 1, comprises at least one rotor 2 which is supported, so that it can rotate about a rotation axis 2a, by a fixed structure 3 and is connected to an electric power generation device 4, constituted for example by an alternator or by any other electric generator of any suitable and per se known type.

According to the invention, the rotor 2 is arranged proximate to a region which is affected by the passage of vehicles, so that it can be actuated by the current of air generated by the passage of such vehicles.

More particularly, the rotor 2 is preferably placed on the side of a road, such as for example a highway, an urban or non-urban road, and so forth.

As an alternative, as shown in Figure 3, the rotor 2 can be arranged to the side of a railroad, such as a train line or a subway line, and in general of any type of route in which there are moving vehicles which are therefore capable of generating a current of air which can be utilized effectively in order to achieve the rotational actuation of the rotor 2.

Conveniently, the rotor 2 can be fitted on a fixed structure 3, constituted by a lateral delimitation barrier which is arranged along one side of the road, such as for example a post, a guard rail, a wall, a concrete barrier of the New Jersey type, or the like.

More preferably, the rotor 2 is arranged in the gap between two side- by-side carriageways or rail tracks, so that it can be struck by currents of air which arrive from mutually opposite directions and are generated by the transit of the vehicles that travel along the two carriageways or the two rail tracks with mutually opposite directions of travel.

In this case, as shown in Figure 1 , it is possible to install the rotor 2 on the dividing barrier, such as for example of the New Jersey type, which is usually provided to mutually separate the carriageways of a highway or of a high-speed road and acts in practice as a fixed structure 3 for supporting the rotor 2.

Moreover, the rotor 2 can also be arranged above a road or railroad and in this case the fixed structure 3 can be constituted for example by a bridge-like structure which passes transversely over the road or railroad, such as an overpass or the like, as shown in Figure 4, or by the walls of a tunnel which is crossed longitudinally by the road or railroad.

Advantageously, the generator according to the invention can be used not only to supply power to the mains, but also to supply one or more electrical service devices provided along the road or railroad, such as for example traffic lights, luminous indication devices, electronic boards, lighting devices or others.

For example, it is possible to associate the rotor 2 with the upright pole of a lamppost 5, as shown in Figure 8, and to use the energy generated by the device to generate electric power 4, as a consequence of the rotation of the rotor 2, in order to power the lamppost 5. Considering the constructive details of the rotor 2, it is constituted by a hollow body delimited peripherally by a plurality of vanes 6, which are distributed with a constant pitch along an annular portion which is concentric with respect to the rotation axis 2a.

Advantageously, the rotor 2 is arranged so that its axis of rotation 2a is substantially vertical, so as to achieve better use of the air currents

generated by vehicles in transit, especially if the rotor 2 is arranged to the side of the road or railroad.

Conveniently, the vanes 6 of the rotor 2 can have a longitudinal extension which is substantially parallel to the rotation axis 2a and optionally can be wound in a helical configuration around the corresponding longitudinal axis in order to provide an optimum angle of incidence for the air currents generated by the passage of vehicles and arriving from different directions.

As in the example of Figure 9, the vanes 6 can also have a spiral shape around the rotation axis 2a, in order to reduce the noise emissions of the rotor 2 at high speeds, so as to allow their use also in regions located close to inhabited areas.

Optionally, the vanes 6 of the rotor 2 can further be extended longitudinally from one of their intermediate portions toward the corresponding ends, gradually approaching the rotation axis 2a of the rotor

2, so that the space occupation of the rotor 2 laterally to the rotation axis 2a decreases axially toward the ends of the vanes, as in the example of Figure

9. With such a configuration, a reduction of the moment of inertia of the rotor 2 with respect to the rotation axis 2a is achieved and therefore optimum operation of the rotor 2 even in case of modest air currents is also achieved.

Advantageously, the vanes 6 in practice are provided by means of strips which are shaped so as to have, in transverse cross-section, a curved configuration in which the concavity is oriented in the opposite direction with respect to the direction of rotation of the rotor 2. As an alternative, the vanes 6 may also have, in a transverse cross-section, a wing-like profile or any other type of aerodynamic profile, so as to achieve an improved performance of the rotor 2.

Conveniently, as can be seen in particular in Figure 10, each vane 6, with an imaginary extension thereof traced starting from its outer

longitudinal edge 6a, i.e., the one that is substantially directed away from the axis of rotation 2a 5 forms an angle α ranging substantially from 0° to 180° and more preferably from 20° to 30° or from 150° to 160°, with respect to an imaginary plane which is tangent to the rotation surface traced by its outer longitudinal edge 6a and passes through said outer longitudinal edge 6a.

Moreover, each vane 6 forms, substantially at its inner longitudinal edge 6b, i.e., the edge that is substantially directed toward the rotation axis 2a, an angle β ranging substantially from 0° to 180° and more preferably of approximately 90°, with respect to a plane which is tangent to the rotation surface described by the inner longitudinal edge 6b and passes through it.

Advantageously, the vanes of the rotor 2 are supported and connected to each other, at their ends, by two vane supporting disks 7a and 7b, which are rigidly rotationally coupled to an output shaft 8, which is arranged coaxially to the rotation axis 2a and is connected functionally to the device for generating electric power 4, which converts the mechanical energy that arrives from the rotor 2 into electric power.

The vane supporting disks 7a and 7b are conveniently perforated or spoked so as to contain their moment of inertia with respect to the axis of rotation 2a.

As shown, the rotor 2 is preferably coupled rotatably, by means of the output shaft 8, to a footing 9, which by way of the interposition of rigid coupling means, constituted for example by screw elements 10 or the like, allows to rigidly couple the rotor 2 to a wide range of fixed structures 3. Conveniently, the footing 9 can have an internal compartment for accommodating the device for generating electric power 4.

For the sake of completeness, it should be noted that if the rotor 2 is arranged to the side of a carriageway or rail track, it is possible to associate advantageously with the rotor 2 visual indication means adapted to highlight the sides of the road or railroad in order to allow drivers of vehicles in

transit to identify easily the shape of such road or railroad.

More particularly, such visual indication means can be constituted conveniently by reflectors 1 1 , which operate by means of reflected light, or by luminous elements which have their own light, optionally supplied with power by means of the electric power generated by the generator according to the invention, which are applied to the vanes of the rotor 2 in order to provide, by means of the rotary motion of the rotor 2, a flashing light effect which can be perceived effectively even from a distance.

Finally, it should be noted that if a plurality of rotors 2 are provided, they can be associated with a respective device for generating electric power 4 or optionally with a single device for generating electric power 4.

Operation of the wind-powered generator according to the invention is evident from what has been described and illustrated above. In particular, it is evident that the wind-powered generator according to the invention can generate electric power with high efficiencies and with an extremely low environmental impact even in regions which are not very windy and are densely populated, such as in particular areas in plains, which are generally affected by intense daily vehicle traffic.

All the characteristics of the invention indicated above as advantageous, convenient or the like may also be omitted or be replaced with equivalents.

The individual characteristics presented with reference to general teachings or particular embodiments may all be present in other embodiments or may replace characteristics in these embodiments. The invention thus conceived is susceptible of numerous modifications and variations, all of which are within the scope of the appended claims.

In practice, the materials used, so long as they are compatible with the specific use, as well as the shapes and dimensions, may be any according to requirements.

All the details may further be replaced with other technically equivalent elements.

The disclosures in Italian Patent Application No. VR2007A000011 from which this application claims priority are incorporated herein by reference.

Where technical features mentioned in any claim are followed by reference signs, those reference signs have been included for the sole purpose of increasing the intelligibility of the claims and accordingly, such reference signs do not have any limiting effect on the interpretation of each element identified by way of example by such reference signs.