Every rotating object is a potential electric generator!

When I was young, I used to get a lot of rather astounding scientific ideas to improve the efficiency of mankind, especially in the area of generating alternate energy (That doesn’t mean I restricted myself to that one field :)!). When people were looking at the sun, wind, tides and other such stuff (to accommodate the demands of growing energy needs and shrinking oil/natural gas reserves), I was intent in thinking out of the box – So much out of the box, that the box was never in sight!! 😛

A generator uses mechanical force of a moving (spinning) conductive object like a wire or bar within a magnetic field (which can be created by permanent magnets in small generators, or electromagnets in larger generators) to generate electricity.

Do you remember the dynamos we used in our cycles? Its actually a simple electrical generator. The dynamo (with a small wheel) is attached to the actual wheel of the cycle. When we pedal the cycle, the wheel of the dynamo rotates along with the actual wheel of the cycle and generates enough power to operate the front light. Actually, this is even used in motor bikes to power the head-lamp.

So, any rotating object could be used to generate electricity (in small amounts) this way. There are so many rotating objects rotating wastefully (without generating any energy), around us – Fans, Car/truck/bus Wheels come to our mind immediately. If we can attach a small generator with permanent magnets to these objects, and make a conductor rotate in the magnetic field – we might be able to generate some electricity.

Imagine how much electricity could be generated from these objects (as they keep rotating every day), in a month or in a year!

So, in a car for example, we could attach one small generator in each wheel, and we could connect them all to a battery which could be charged by the electricity generated by the moving wheels.

In our house, we could connect (light weight) generators to all fans and connect them all to a common (small) grid to store the electrical energy generated by them and perhaps use this energy to power the house, during power cuts, etc.

Of course, if either i. Electricity generated is negligible (or) ii. Cost of such generators/wiring is too high (or) iii. Weight of the generators is very high, this idea might not be practical. But I am not going to accept till someone proves any of the above points.

What do you think – Is this idea feasible? Again, back then I expected (another) Nobel prize for this idea 🙂

Destination Infinity

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47 Replies to “Every rotating object is a potential electric generator!”

  1. Nobel prize?! Who knows, your dream might come true!

    I remember the dynamo in the cycle and remember how it was working! Let me wait and read the other comments…must be interesting!

    1. If they start a new category of ‘Nobel prize for thinking’, I might get one easily 😀

      Destination Infinity

  2. I would say even now we are young, arent we… Sometimes, we age ourself, much faster than we ought to :P. Anyways, your thoughts definitely make sense… I have thought about them, but the necessity to study would draw me back frm my day dreams, back to studying… 🙂

    Your cycle dynamo example is quite valid. It can work in motors vehicles too. In terms of fans, your reasons elucidates it clearly. The cost of investment is quite high (making light weight coils) compared to the returns.

    But i do agree with the idea of innovating beyond the current thought realm, what’s called as “Thinking out of Box’. After reading Ayn rand’s Atlas shrugged, i used to wonder how come none has invented such technology which John walt had built… 😉

    1. In my case, the necessity to dream, would drive me back to dreams from studies :D. The cost could come down if things are mass produced, but the question is feasibility.

      You know what, someone had this simple idea of putting a rubber behind a pencil, and it became a super-hit! So, simple thinking to solve complex problems is something that I like 🙂

      Destination Infinity

    1. Actually, I have no clue either – if it was feasible, they would have already done it!

      Destination Infinity

    1. Well, to be frank, I like the positiveness of your comment – That’s why I approved it with the link 🙂

      Destination Infinity

    1. Yesterday, one thought appeared to me – Maybe I could get a ‘Noble Prize’ .Notice the change in spelling? Ha, Ha that’s the trick 😉 So, I could award myself (and others) for noble thoughts!! 🙂

      Destination Infinity

    1. I have seen a couple of houses recently where they have installed wind mills (mini) and solar panels. I hope this trend would pick up in the cities. And I was also afraid of the amount of electricity – but some one needs to conduct a practical experiment and prove it!

      Destination Infinity

    2. The wind mill simply put below a rotating FAN can frictionlessly generate power that can be used to recharge Mobiles and devices. This without creating a friction on the fan motor itself. Therefore i feel such things need to be designed and used. We can save not tons but yes imagine if i can charge and save say one watt my self, imagine in my country of 1.25 billion people, it would mean to 1.25 billion watts saved. Is this small. By no means 1.25 billion watts is less. In india in marathi we say “Thembe Thembe Tale Sache” That means by saving drop by drop we can create a lake…. “. Every drop of water counts. Same way every watt generated can really make a difference. Therefore i like the above ideas.

  3. Firstly we convert mechanical energy to electrical energy not force. Simply rotating a single wire or bar will not produce enough voltage. we need copper windings for that. physically impossible with ceiling fan blades obviously to connect to a shaft which in turn can be connected to the armature of the d.c. generator! For many such “rotating” things feasibility issues , actual usability, cost and voltage regulation problems (rotational speed not being fixed and steady) will be there. And anyway such system already exists in cars. The car (whenever it is running) itself charges the battery with the help of alternator or a.c. generator. check this out http://automobiles.mapsofindia.com/automobile-components-and-spares/car-alternators.html

    1. I went through the alternator. It seems to be attached to the engine, and not the wheels. But what about the wheels? They are turning, and that rotary motion could be used to generate some little electricity through a small dynamo or something, right?

      I agree it may not be feasible, otherwise they would have done it by now. But things which are not feasible today might be feasible tomorrow.

      Destination Infinity

  4. I like the way you think.
    Only prob is, the rotating objects that we see are made to work efficiently, so that as little energy is wasted. When you attach something to it, it would need more energy. It would be great if all those extra energy can be converted to even more energy, but some of that energy would be wasted due to heat generated by fiction.
    Using different size wheels, (like gears) it should be possible to reduce the energy required, but then it would start taking a lot of space.
    Good thinking, just find out why it is not used and try to solve that part. 🙂

    1. Perhaps its not done because of the additional expense and additional space… But there should be a way to do this more efficiently… that’s what I was exploring.

      Destination Infinity

  5. of course u should got the noble prize for this idea….i appreciate urthinking but for the rotating object there will be require more energy to produce the electricity…so u have to look for how the engine should be design so that we will get exactly the same that u have mentioned here……….

    1. Think about the cycle and the small dynamo placed on its tyre. Do you think the cycle will require more energy to produce that electricity to glow the lamp? The dynamo just uses the rotary motion of the cycle (and produces small current). Similarly, a system can be designed for cars that doesn’t require additional energy (for generating current). Even if the current generated is small, over a period of months it will become significant. Who knows, we might not need to charge the battery, if such a system is present? But we need to explore such things instead of going for big cars that give lesser and lesser mileage and wasting resources.

      Destination Infinity

  6. Amazing thinking! :)…….. in case of cycle dynamo,a little more of work has to be done by a person riding the cycle as the friction between the wheel and the rotor of the dynamo opposes the motion of the cycle….There’s so much of energy getting wasted each day…i was thinking how about using a small generator in the exhaust(silencer) of a vehicle or at the end of a chimney in a factory as the waste exhaust gases coming out at high pressure would propell the rotors of the generator and hence generate electricity which could be used for many purposes instead of the gases just going into the atmosphere…… 🙂 feasibility is a question yet ‘Something is better than Nothing’ right?? 🙂

  7. ok. so what is powering this fan? electricity presumably in the for of an electric motor. an electric motor is like a reverse generator in itself. so you could connect an eletric motor up to a generator and then use the generator to power the electric motor. free power!

    anybody see any issues with this?

  8. rajesh me too was thinking on the same lines for quite some time and this is how ended up on your page. To tell you the truth and believe me nothing is impossible but there are some vested who will always discourage this kind of research because this will have direct effect on their business. History is witness that so many new inventions were blocked and laughed at and one day it become a reality. Look at hybrid car ; one toyota prius came in market and all companies launched their hybrid cars in market. Believe your idea has great potential. do not get discouraged.

    1. I belong to the category of people who can give inspiration to the otherwise boring engineers with mundane jobs. I can tell what to do, but how to do it needs to be figured by them!

      It’s not always a case of vested interests spoiling innovations. Some of them are genuinely hopeless 🙂

      Destination Infinity

  9. Im b.tech student and
    I am thinking for making project on generating electricity with rotating fan shaft with help of dynamo if it is realy works i tell u later.

    1. If it works, please do let me know. I can even publish an article on this blog and write about it. Someone has to make this happen.

      Destination Infinity

    2. Ambesh I’m very interested in knowing the result of your project on generating electricity with rotating fans. Could you please share your findings.

  10. im a high school student and i think you idea is quite intresting i have done some research and with a an aim of thinking out of the box i came up with an idea on on wind turbines please email me for more information

  11. Yes it’s an interesting concept.
    From what I understand, the Toyota pyrus generates its electricity when the cars brakes are applied (some sort of device attached to each wheel). So in theory it’s the friction created.

    This is a brilliant idea, and there are lots of other brilliant ideas waiting to be thought up.

    I would love to see humanity sustained on renewable common sense ideas like this as aposed to fules that cause war and pollute the planet.

    1. It regenerative braking “http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regenerative_brake”.
      In Toyota Prius hub motors are attached to the wheels. Its like Hybrid vehicle “http://www.toyota.com/prius/#!/Welcome”.

  12. As Albert Einstein said “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed but can change from one form to another”. according to this when you are Cycling you need to put little force on the pedal when there is no Dynamo attached to the the wheel, but when the Dynamo is attached you need to put more force on pedal.
    OK in this point you are generating little energy by burning your calories.
    But in the case of Vehicle (Car/Bus/others) wheels already the vehicle engine is generating some amount of energy to propel the vehicle and electricity through alternator(Note: Dynamo is less efficient that Alternator ” http://www.differencebetween.net/business/structure-systems/difference-between-dynamo-and-alternator/“).
    Here one thing is all vehicle manufacturers are thinking to improve efficient Vehicles but your idea makes less efficient to generate electricity.
    My suggestion is you still think on it to make it perfect.

    1. Ok. Why can’t we attach this alternators to fans? In a school, for example, there are so many fans running. If we attach alternators to each fan and wire them up, will we not get some energy? In bikes, if we attach small alternators to wheels, can we not charge the battery inside the bike using it?

      Also, as one of the above commenters has said, we can even attach an alternator to every electrical motor. Anyway, the motor is rotating. That rotation can be converted into electricity, right?

      I don’t understand why scientists are not utilizing that ‘Energy can only be converted from one form to another’. Where ever we spend energy, we can capture it and reuse it. I think we only need intelligent energy capture and conversion systems. Of course, they should be somewhat efficient. But no one wants to think on these lines…

      Destination Infinity

  13. u are absolutely right…..
    me and my friends were planning to make electricity from fan when it rotates……
    and use that generated electricity to light bulbs…..
    so when i researched about it accidentally saw your article…..
    anyway thankx….

  14. Did u guys noticed Rod’s comment?
    Yeah that’s the ultimate thinking which will work, which i’m also thinking since 2002-2003 when i was in 8th standard(i got that idea from my friend who’s dead that same year). But not yet tried. N i still hope that i’ll make something diff, 🙂

  15. Yes it can be done. I’ve thought of it back in the 80’s. And know how to do it. Any type of moving object can produce power.

  16. Yeh am also thinking exactly same. In future electricity will be available free of cost.

    Its a new concept
    “Any moving or rotating object can create electricity for itself”

  17. I agree with Mr.Rajesh …few month before I had describe the same method to my friends and colleges but they disagree and laugh …But today I had seen ur post ..And I realise that some more people thinks like me

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