Whisson's Windmill

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Major Malfunction
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Whisson's Windmill

Post by Major Malfunction » Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:25 am

Max Whisson, a retired medical doctor turned inventor (he invented a single-use hypodermic syringe with a retractible needle at the height of the AIDS epidemic), is now claiming that he has invented a solution to the world's water woes - a wind-powered atmospheric water vapour condenser - tenuously named Max Water.

The idea can be summed up as a wind turbine that powers a refrigeration unit, and the concept is sound. We all know through experience that water drips from our air-conditioners and fridges, and condenses on our cold beers. We also know power can be generated from wind. According to Whisson, the only thing standing between him and providing the world with unlimited free water is a lack of funding.

Sounds like a good idea, right?

Right. But someone hasn't done their math.

Whisson's idea parts from reality when he claims that his (theoretical, patent-pending) small, rooftop-mountable device will be capable of producing around 7000 litres per day, even in a light breeze. For perspective, that's a full toilet flush every couple of minutes. Or, 80 mL per second.

Now, noticing that my 2000W air-conditioner only produces one drip every few seconds, and being the good skeptic that I am, I decided to utilise my highschool physics (that bit that I can remember after all the graduation parties), to figure it out for myself. This is an important break-through, afterall, which has been touted across the national media, reputable science shows, and backed by various groups... It seems so simple, why hadn't anyone thought of it before? And why hasn't anyone done the math?

Well, actually, Frank Herbert thought of it before in Dune with his "wind traps", but I digress. I did the math, and here it is for all who care to see...

Max says:
"At 30 degrees centigrade, with a relative humidity of 60 percent, each cubic meter of air contains about 18 grams of water. If you can cool the air to 5 degrees, the air can only retain about 8 grams/cubic meter of water; the remaining 10 grams per cubic meter will condense as fog or droplets."

We know:

Specific Heat (Air) = 1.01 kJ per kg per degree C
Mass (Air) = 1.2 kg per cubic metre

So;

To cool 1 cubic metre of air by 25 degrees, we need 1.0 kJ x 1.2 kg x 25 deg C

= 30 kJ

To get 10 mL of water...

To meet Max's modest estimate of 7000 litres per day, we need to collect 80 mL per second, or, cool 8 cubic metres of air by 25 degrees per second, so;

8 cubic metres x 30 kJ per second = 240 kiloWatts.

Unfortunately, the amount of kinetic energy in the same amount of wind is only about 0.1% of that...

KE = 1/2mv^2

mass = 8 cubic metres x Mass (Air) 1.2 kg = 9.6 kg

velocity^2 = 8 metres per second x 8 metres per second = 64

So,

0.5 x 9.6 x 64 = 307.2 Watts = 0.3 kW


According to physics, the only thing standing between Max and unlimited free water, is three orders of magnitude. A more realistic estimate would be 7 litres per day.

A solution to the world's water woes, or just another fame and fortune scam? The math, which a 16 year old school kid should be capable of doing in a matter of minutes, points to the latter.

But still, it makes me wonder about the education of the researchers who decide this is a story worth reporting on a supposedly "reputable" science show.

More reading:
http://www.waterunlimited.com.au/images ... ed-MAY.pdf
http://econews.org.au/story6_16b.php
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/st ... 72,00.html
http://www.abc.net.au/rn/latenightlive/ ... 840807.htm
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Post by Paul Anthony » Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:30 am

You are giving 16 year old kids too much credit (or perhaps it's their teachers that you have over-estimated). Kids in public school are too busy with parties and drugs, and home-schooled kids are too busy with Jesus.

Science? We don't need no stinkin' science! :lol:
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Post by Major Malfunction » Mon Jun 11, 2007 6:35 am

I did say "should". :D
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Post by JO 753 » Fri Jun 15, 2007 10:32 pm

Well, maybe if you can get a droid that understandz the binary language uv moisture vaporatorz, you coud get 7 literz on a good day.
And Luke better hav thoze units on the south rij repaired by midday or therell be hell to pay!

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Post by Major Malfunction » Sat Jun 16, 2007 2:32 am

They were probably zero-point energy powered. With unlimited power, anything is possible. And why don't you ever see Vader recharging his lightsabre?
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Post by JO 753 » Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:22 am

Ye! Everything seemed to be powered abundantly & indefinitely in the 1st movie. Then in Empire Strikes Back, Luke puts R2D2 on a power supply for a recharge. Soooo many contradictionz !

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Post by Lance Kennedy » Sat Jun 16, 2007 11:10 pm

How big and how expensive are these units supposed to be?

If they are small enough and cheap enough, with a bank of them, even 7 litres each per day would be bloody tremendous.

I had a couple of days at Coral Bay on holiday on Australia's west side (Indian Ocean coast) in the middle of desert. The cottage we stayed in had very steep corrugated iron roofs. Each morning, there was a puddle of water under the edge of the roof. Without power, they condensed a substantial amount of water from the air in the desert. I strongly suspect that a system of condensing water from the air could be made practical.

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Post by JO 753 » Sun Jun 17, 2007 12:33 am

Therez no question that water can be condensed out uv air with chilled surfacez. Its just how much water & $.

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Re: Whisson's Windmill

Post by fby » Tue May 20, 2014 4:53 pm

The most recent reference to a similar invention claims to produce 25 gallons a day in a hot climate according to the Smithsonian institution.
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovatio ... 99/?no-ist

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Re: Whisson's Windmill

Post by Major Malfunction » Wed May 21, 2014 11:13 am

fby wrote:The most recent reference to a similar invention claims to produce 25 gallons a day in a hot climate according to the Smithsonian institution.
http://www.smithsonianmag.com/innovatio ... 99/?no-ist

That's nearly 100 litres. A bathtub full. That's a bit of a stretch for a bit of mosquito net in an evening. And no actual independent tests and results. Just a claim.

Like I was saying seven years ago, this kind of crap getting into print in supposedly "reputable scientific" media is an indictment against the veracity of said media.

I wonder who owns the "reputable scientific" media?
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Re: Whisson's Windmill

Post by JO 753 » Wed May 21, 2014 11:27 am

Looks pretty big, so 25 gallonz duznt seem like an outrajus claim to me.
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Re: Whisson's Windmill

Post by Major Malfunction » Wed May 21, 2014 12:02 pm

You like building things. Do a scale model with various materials.

My bet is this guy noticed a bit of condensation on the inside of his tent one time he went camping, but hasn't quite figured out it was him producing the water. Or, more likely, it's just another scammer scamming money from idiots that went camping one time and noticed a bit of condensation on the inside of their tent and think, "By golly! That darn boy is a rootin' tootin' genius! I'ma gonna give him alla my money! He so smart!"
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Re: Whisson's Windmill

Post by kennyc » Wed May 21, 2014 12:39 pm

Major Malfunction wrote:You like building things. Do a scale model with various materials.

My bet is this guy noticed a bit of condensation on the inside of his tent one time he went camping, but hasn't quite figured out it was him producing the water. Or, more likely, it's just another scammer scamming money from idiots that went camping one time and noticed a bit of condensation on the inside of their tent and think, "By golly! That darn boy is a rootin' tootin' genius! I'ma gonna give him alla my money! He so smart!"



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Re: Whisson's Windmill

Post by Rob Lister » Wed May 21, 2014 1:05 pm

Kudos to gates and co. for trying to do the right thing. But Sam Kenison already gave us the answer.

Pick up at 1:05 for the ultimate solution.

[ytube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0q4o58pKwA[/ytube]
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