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Jacobs Wind Turbine

Marcellus Jacobs was a famous American wind pioneer born in the early 1900's in North Dakota. Starting from the early windmills, he came up with a revolutionary new wind turbine design that quadrupled the amount of power extracted from the wind. This novel new turbine design was put to use to generate DC electricity.

One of the first improvements made by Jacobs was the 3 bladed turbine wheel he developed in the 1920's. He determined that 3 carefully designed blades produced the best combination of power and balance through experimentation. Adding more blades just added more aerodynamic drag with little power gain, where as two blades proved to too difficult to balance for all modes of operation. His configuration worked so well that to this day modern wind turbines still run with 3 blades. Jacobs flow contoured blades were manufactured using wood from the mighty Spruce.

microgrid history jacobs wind turbine

His next big innovation was a mechanical governor that feathered the blades based on wind speed. Above 25 mph the blades would rotate and shed more of the wind stream, which helped to limit the wind turbine from going into overspeed. Where as most turbines of the day were using fixed blades, they suffered damage in severe storms. The Jacobs turbine had both the mechanical feathering mechanism and a specially designed tailvane which made them almost indestructable in high winds.

An especially clever improvement made by Marcellus Jacobs was in the manufacturing of his own DC generators. Early on he observed that the performance of most standard generators did not match well with his turbine blades. As a result, he devised his own generator design with special alloys and better tuned for power production across the normal range of turbine speeds. He even developed a new carbon-graphite brush design that minimized arcing and extended maintenance intervals over much longer periods of times.

The Jacobs wind turbines were known for their high quality, high reliability, and were ahead of their time. Whether it was designing his own generators, shaping his own blades, or inventing new bearing seals, Jacobs left no stone unturned with his invention. By the end of the 1930's he had pioneered the finest wind turbine ever developed in the world at that time. Marcellus Jacobs is a model of good old fashioned hard work and American innovation.

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MicroGrid History

- Nikola Tesla Source of Human Energy
- Nikola Tesla Energy from the Medium
- James Watt & the Steam Engine
- Marcellus Jacob Wind Turbine

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