Wind-Powered Car Proves Internet Naysayers Wrong
When aerodynamicist Rick Cavallaro at Thin Air Designs heard about the debate causing nerd-rage all over the internet he decided to see if he could prove the naysayers wrong. Along with a group from San Jose State University Aerodynamics department, Rick designed a vehicle to put the debate to rest, it's called Blackbird and although it's weird looking, it works.
What Rick knew was there was plenty of power in the wind, but while harnessing it with a sail seems efficient it's actually not. A good deal of the wind spills over the sides, a sail has no way to store energy other than the inertia built up in the craft it's attached to and it can be complicated to steer. Instead, Blackbird has a propeller designed and optimized to capture and convert wind to mechanical power. The prop allows for the same conversion of wind force to craft inertia but adds a degree of energy storage in the spinning propeller, that's not to say there's any kind of energy storage other than that. The blade is mechanically linked to the axle through fixed gearing and there's no on-board energy stored when the vehicle is stationary. It's mounted to a load-cell-instrumented hub at the top of a steel A-frame and drives a geared axle which drives the vehicle.