Solar Wind Turbines

Solar Wind Turbines

Turbines are used to extract rotational energy from moving fluids.

A turbine is a rotary mechanical device that extracts energy from a fluid flow and converts it into useful work.

A turbine is a turbomachine with at least one moving part called a rotor assembly, which is a shaft or drum with blades attached.

Moving fluid acts on the blades so that they move and impart rotational energy to the rotor.


Wind Turbines

Unsurprisingly, Nature has inspired the design of Turbines.

Bristol 171 Sycamore

The Bristol Type 171 Sycamore was the first British-designed helicopter to fly and serve with the Royal Air Force.

Created by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, it was used for search and rescue and anti-submarine warfare.

The name refers to the seeds of the Sycamore tree, Acer pseudoplatanus, which fall with a rotating motion.

Major discoveries always come with a story: Newton had his apple, Archimedes had his bath tub, and Dr. Frank E. Fish, while shopping for a gift, examined a sculpture of a humpback whale in a shop and issued a fatefully inaccurate observation:
“Look at that. The sculptor put the bumps on the wrong side of the flipper.”

The shop manager quickly set him straight.
She knew the sculptor’s work and that the sculptor knew humpbacks: That’s where the bumps should be.

A quick check and Frank was convinced the artist got it right.
But if the artist was right then at least part of the science of fluid dynamics was wrong.

Marine scientists have long suspected that humpback whales’ incredible agility comes from the bumps on the leading edges of their flippers.

Now Harvard University researchers have come up with a mathematical model that helps explain this hydrodynamic edge.

The work gives theoretical weight to a growing body of empirical evidence that similar bumps could lead to more-stable airplane designs, submarines with greater agility, and turbine blades that can capture more energy from the wind and water.

Already, attempts are being made to incorporate the tubercle design into commercial products. Fish is president of a venture based in Toronto, Ontario, called WhalePower, which has begun demonstrating the advantages of tubercles when they’re integrated into the leading edges of wind-turbine and fan blades.

Whale-Inspired Wind Turbines
Mimicking the bumps on humpback-whale fins could lead to more efficient wind turbines
Tyler Hamilton – MIT Technology Review – 6 March 2008

Humpback whale

Alternatively, various biological wings utilize leading edge control devices to maintain lift and avoid stall at high attack angles and low speeds. Lifting bodies used in turning must operate at high angles of attack while maintaining lift (Weihs 1993).

Humpback whale flippers are used in tight turning maneuvers associated with the whale’s feeding ecology (Fish & Battle 1995).

The tubercles of the humpback whale flipper may function to generate vortices by excitation of flow to maintain lift and prevent stall at high angles of attack.

Passive and Active Flow Control by Swimming Fishes and Mammals
F.E. Fish and G.V. Lauder – The Annual Review of Fluid Mechanics 2006 38:193–224

Unfortunately, Settled Science has displayed a distinct lack of enthusiasm towards Nature when it comes to Hannes Alfven’s suggestion that “magnetohydrodynamics waves” can “transfer momentum from the Sun to the planets”.

Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) is the study of the dynamics of electrically conducting fluids.

Examples of such fluids include plasmas, liquid metals, and salt water or electrolytes.

The field of MHD was initiated by Hannes Alfvén, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1970.

The fundamental concept behind MHD is that magnetic fields can induce currents in a moving conductive fluid, which in turn creates forces on the fluid and also changes the magnetic field itself.

The first recorded use of the word magnetohydrodynamics is by Hannes Alfvén in 1942:

“At last some remarks are made about the transfer of momentum from the Sun to the planets, which is fundamental to the theory. The importance of the magnetohydrodynamic waves in this respect are pointed out.”

Astrophysics and cosmology
MHD applies quite well to astrophysics and cosmology since over 99% of baryonic matter content of the Universe is made up of plasma, including stars, the interplanetary medium (space between the planets), the interstellar medium (space between the stars), the intergalactic medium, nebulae and jets.

Sunspots are caused by the Sun’s magnetic fields, as Joseph Larmor theorized in 1919.

The solar wind is also governed by MHD.
The differential solar rotation may be the long term effect of magnetic drag at the poles of the Sun, an MHD phenomenon due to the Parker spiral shape assumed by the extended magnetic field of the Sun.

Magnetohydrodynamics - MHD

This lack of enthusiasm is really surprising because:
1) The concept of a Turbine can easily be understood by kids [and even Settled Scientists].

Childs play

With scissors, cut a square out of a piece of thin cardboard.
A piece from an index card or an empty box of tissues works well.

Bend one corner toward you.
Bend the opposite corner away from you.

You have made a turbine.

2) Settled Sciences acknowledges the Sun is a Magnetohydrodynamic System.

The sun is an MHD system that is not well understood.

3) Johannes Kepler [1571-1630] demonstrated by his Third Law of Planetary Motion [in 1619] that the Solar System displays the cohesive rotational properties of a dynamic system.

Kepler's Third Law of planetary motion

Planetary Motion

4) Planetary rotation periods in the Solar System display the cohesive rotational properties of a dynamic system.

Planetary Rotation

5) The Solar Wind distributes kinetic energy from the Sun.

The solar wind is divided into two components, respectively termed the slow solar wind and the fast solar wind.

The slow solar wind has a velocity of about 400 km/s, a temperature of 1.4–1.6×106 K and a composition that is a close match to the corona.

By contrast, the fast solar wind has a typical velocity of 750 km/s, a temperature of 8×105 K and it nearly matches the composition of the Sun’s photosphere.

The slow solar wind is twice as dense and more variable in intensity than the fast solar wind.

The slow wind also has a more complex structure, with turbulent regions and large-scale structures.

The slow solar wind appears to originate from a region around the Sun’s equatorial belt that is known as the “streamer belt”.

Solar Wind

6) The Solar Wind distributes electromagnetic energy from the Sun.

The solar wind is a stream of plasma released from the upper atmosphere of the Sun.
It consists of mostly electrons and protons with energies usually between 1.5 and 10 keV.

The solar wind flows outward supersonically to great distances, filling a region known as the heliosphere, an enormous bubble-like volume surrounded by the interstellar medium.

The heliospheric current sheet results from the influence of the Sun’s rotating magnetic field on the plasma in the solar wind.

Heliospheric current sheet

Depending on the hemisphere and phase of the solar cycle, the magnetic field spirals inward or outward; the magnetic field follows the same shape of spiral in the northern and southern parts of the heliosphere, but with opposite field direction.

The plasma in the interplanetary medium is also responsible for the strength of the Sun’s magnetic field at the orbit of the Earth being over 100 times greater than originally anticipated.

If space were a vacuum, then the Sun’s magnetic dipole field, about 10−4 teslas at the surface of the Sun, would reduce with the inverse cube of the distance to about 10−11 teslas.

But satellite observations show that it is about 100 times greater at around 10−9 teslas.

Magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) theory predicts that the motion of a conducting fluid (e.g. the interplanetary medium) in a magnetic field, induces electric currents which in turn generates magnetic fields, and in this respect it behaves like a MHD dynamo.

A visual examination of the Earth’s Plasmasphere [in cross-section] reveals an asymmetrical shape [with a “dusk bulge”] which suggests the Plasmasphere can function as a Turbine.

This image is a summary of the main features of the plasmasphere: the plasmapause, main body of the plasmasphere, dusk-bulge region and detached plasma regions outside the main body of the plasmasphere.


The plasmasphere is a donut-shaped region inside the Earth’s magnetosphere.
It is basically an extension of the ionosphere, or the topmost part of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The plasmasphere is composed mostly of hydrogen ions.
The base of the plasmasphere, which is the same as the top of the ionosphere, is about 1000 kilometers from the Earth’s surface.

The plasmasphere has a very sharp edge called the plasmapause.
The plasmapause was discovered in 1963.

The Earth’s Plasmasphere – Windows to the Universe

Extreme ultraviolet image of the Earth’s plasmasphere

China’s Yutu Moon Rover and Chang’e-3 Lander – Ken Kremer – Universe Today

Although the shape and size of the Earth’s Plasmasphere is not constant there are clear indications [when looking down over the Northern Hemisphere] that the Plasmasphere can function as a Solar Wind Turbine.

IMAGE Extreme Ultraviolet Imager

IMAGE Extreme Ultraviolet Imager

The Pressure and Density of the Solar Wind are very low near the Earth but the Dynamic Pressure is more tangible because the Solar Wind is travelling very fast.

Therefore, the average Dynamic Pressure of the Slow Wind is around 1.87 Pa [kilograms per square metre] when it reaches the environs of the Earth and about 2.82 Pa [kilograms per square metre] for the Fast Wind.

Solar Wind Pressure

Solar Wind properties

Results from Ulysses that Motivate the Solar Probe Mission

Unsurprisingly, tracking the Earth’s Fluctuations in Length of Day displays a clear annual cycle that indicates the Earth’s Solar Wind Turbine rotates faster when it is closer to the Sun [Periapsis in January] and slower when it is farthest from the Sun [Apoapsis in July].

Deviation of day length 1962–2010


The 243 day retrograde rotation period of Venus suggests that its Solar Wind Turbine is currently slowing its rate of rotation [as confirmed by ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft].

New measurements from ESA’s Venus Express spacecraft shows that Venus’ rotation rate is about 6.5 minutes slower than previous measurements taken 16 years ago by the Magellan spacecraft.

Using infrared instruments to peer through the planet’s dense atmosphere, Venus Express found surface features weren’t where the scientists expected them to be.

Is Venus’ Rotation Slowing Down?
Nancy Atkinson – 10 Feb 2012 – Universe Today

The long rotation periods of Mercury [58.646225 days] and the Moon [27.321582 days] are inexplicable outliers in the context of the Solar Wind Turbine.

However, these long rotation periods are explicable if these bodies were once outer moons [located between Titan and Iapetus] of the planet Saturn.

Moons of Saturn

Gallery | This entry was posted in Astrophysics, Atmospheric Science, Catastrophism, Earth, Electric Universe, Fluid Mechanics, Geomagnetism, Gravity, Moon, Solar System. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Solar Wind Turbines

  1. gymnosperm says:

    What if plasma were Dark Matter?

    • malagabay says:

      There is a “huge hole” in the Newtonian equations which has been filled with “Dark Matter”.
      So either hypothetical “Dark Matter” exists or the Newtonian equations are falsified by observational data.
      Personally, I don’t believe in the “Tooth Fairy” or “Dark Matter”…
      Therefore, my preference is to concentrate on the tangible [not mathematical inventions].
      Mile Mathis is very eloquent when it comes to “Dark Matter” – well worth the read.

      The truth is, you can’t even calculate odds on whether dark matter exists in current theory, since it is just two words that fill a hole.
      This is supposed to be physics we are talking about, and the only thing they know is that there is a huge hole in the equations.
      They know nothing about what fills that hole, and they admit that.
      So how can they claim any surety beyond that?
      Any further, and it is no longer a question of physics, it is a question of linguistics.
      To estimate how certain you are that something exists, you have to first define that something.

      See: Miles Mathis on Dark Matter – Hans Jelbring on Big Bang

  2. Remember that at his Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Alfven stressed that his theory that magnetic fields could be frozen in plasma was fundamentally wrong. Instead look at Birkeland currents to explain rotation in plasma.

  3. Pingback: Planetary Rotation 1: Atmospheric Corotation | MalagaBay

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