How to Make Wind Power Sustainable Again
2 June 2019 | 10:34 am

For more than two thousand years, windmills were built from recyclable or reusable materials: wood, stone, brick, canvas, metal. When – electricity producing – wind turbines appeared in the 1880s, the materials didn’t change. It’s only since the arrival of plastic composite blades in the 1980s that wind power has become the source of a toxic waste product that ends up in landfills. New wood production technology and design makes it possible to build larger wind turbines almost entirely out of wood again – not just the blades, but also the rest of the structure. This would solve the waste issue and make the manufacturing of wind turbines largely independent of fossil fuels and mined materials. A forest planted in...

Reinventing the Small Wind Turbine
1 June 2019 | 6:57 pm

Many commercially available small wind turbines with plastic blades and steel towers are infamous for their low reliability, high embodied energy, and limited power output. Building them out of wood can address these issues. Because of their aesthetic appeal, and thanks to the ability to produce them locally, small wooden wind turbines can also improve the public acceptance of wind power. Furthermore, innovation in tower design facilitates the installation of small wind turbines, reducing the need for concrete foundations and heavy machinery. Image: A wind turbine with wooden blades. Source: EAZ Wind. Low Performance Tests have shown that commercially available small wind turbines may not always generate sufficient power over their lifetime to compensate for the energy that was needed...

Low-tech Magazine: The Printed Website
31 March 2019 | 1:01 pm

After 12 years, Low-tech Magazine finally makes the jump from web to paper. The first result is a 710-page perfect-bound paperback which is printed on demand and contains 37 of the most recent articles from the website (2012 to 2018). A second volume, collecting articles published between 2007 and 2011, will appear later this year. Book Design The books are based on the same electronic documents that make up the solar powered website of Low-tech Magazine -- all articles were converted to Markdown, a lightweight markup language based on plain text files. Therefore, the content is almost identical. Both the books and the website use dithered images, albeit for different reasons. On the solar powered website, dithered images reduce page...

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