Introduction: Prototype Wind Turbine VAWT Home Hydrogen Production

About: I'm a Mechanical Engineer who has been a part of this community for over 10 years! My interests have evolved over time, and now center around 3D printing.

   This was an interesting project, which has potential in the future, but did not deliver desired results.  The idea was to make a vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) that instead of charging a battery, would deliver its power directly to an electrolysis apparatus to make hydrogen and oxygen gas.  The reason for doing this would be to avoid the complications and expenses of inverters, batteries, and connecting the turbine to the grid.  It would also make hydrogen gas which could power a car, a generator, or be used as a welding/cutting torch, which is what I intended to use it for.
   That was the idea, however I rarely saw the turbine actually spinning, and it never caught and converted enough energy during its few months of operation before winter to produce any noticeable amount of hydrogen in the collector.

   To make the turbine, I cut a large plastic jar in half using a razor blade and my Dremel rotary tool.  The two halves were offset to create a sort of "S" shape to catch wind from all directions and bolted to a piece of plastic cut from the housing of a salvaged non-working computer scanner.  A small piece of polypropylene tube was used to connect the piece of plastic at the bottom of the turbine to a small gear usinjg JB Weld.  The small gear slid perfectly onto a small DC motor salvaged from the same computer scanner as the piece of plastic.  The DC motor was screwed to the lid of an applesauce jar with hot glue placed over to screws to help prevent moisture from getting inside the jar.  A long wire salvaged from a broken vacuum cleaner was attached to the leads of the DC motor and connected to the electrolysis apparatus.
   The electrolysis apparatus consisted of two thin stainless steel sheets spaced apart roughly 1/16 of an inch.  One sheet was connected to one lead coming from the DC motor, and the other sheet was connected to the other lead.  This way, when the wind blows, the turbine would spin, creating electricity through the DC motor, which would pass through the water, breaking it into hydrogen and oxygen.  The gases were collected in an inverted water-filled bottle.

   Image notes have more information.

   I may revisist this project in the future, but in my suburban area and a mother that doesn't want anything on the roof, wind power is hard to harness.  It was a fun project, and one that may have potential in the future.  Thanks for reading!!