I still need to put pictures up and directions, but before I was ranting about how it's easy to make a geodesic dome framework (model) from "string & straws" because you don't have to measure angles. What if you made a very large, lightweight geodesic sphere framework from thin pipes, and arranged "sails" on the inside to catch the wind, thus turning the whole contraption. If you had nice ball bearings at the base, you could pull a wheel-of-fortune and spin the thing real hard to start it up.
The idea is that the larger your sails, the more air you'll catch. (more surface area = increase likelyhood to catch wind currents). The geodesic construction would afford you the possibility to make a truely immense power generator with a pretty straightforward construction method. The wind should easily turn such a device since the sails' surface areas will greatly overcome the low suface area and mass of the light framework. Also, the geodesic shape will allow a very strong lighweight construction to be had that won't likely fall apart.
Very large constructions are possible, like 50 feet in diameter or more. Plastic PVC might work well, or light steel pipe with thin walls. You just need a larger pole in the center in proportion to the size of the globe. One point to ponder is how to position the sails on the inside to encourage horizontal rotation, and not the vertical rotation that would try to tip it over. I'm thinking vertically oriented sails would probably take care of this if the sails were fatter at the equator and got thinner at the poles.Hard to explain, I'll have graphics up soon hopefully. (the geodesic is a hard thing to model in 3D)
Offered by Joe.
No, in fact you can even get more power from a dome mounted, thin shell concrete dome, wind turbine. This is because in order to make the turbine that big and responsive to the winds it has to have a massive support. Voila, a thin shell concrete dome provides an excellent support and very little interference for a massive wind turbine. I can't remember exactly where I'd heard about this, might try Monolithic Dome's website. www.monolithicdome.com
Offered by Jeremiah.