Josoff Wind

A different approach to the wind

Larry Josoff
I recently had the pleasure of meeting Larry Josoff.

Larry and his brother, Roy, have been designing and building a mechanized windmill as a hobby, which can only be described as a passion, for some 16 years now.

Out in the fields of Nebraska, you can find more than just corn sometimes. The Josoff Wind Power windmill hardly stands out like the large tall propeller type modern windmills. It is built out of mostly galvanized power pole pieces with sails of galvanized steel.

Don't let the 'farm building' appearance fool you. The corrogated steel sails are directed into the wind by computer controlled motors and the entire massive rotor turns a 'geared up' generator.

With eighteen sails in three tiers of six each, the wind generator looks a bit like an amusement park ride. When I visited, Roy and Larry were still attaching the middle section to the lowest six sails.

Wind Powered Amusement Park

Larry, who is a strong and personable grandfather, treats this wind experiment as a pasttime. He lets the grandchildren try to stop the rotating motion of the windmill and gives rides in a makeshift merry-go-round car made from a plastic barrel. But, these are just the added perks of following a vision.

"There's not alot of funds to investigate things like this, so consequently,it's just my brother (Roy), he's paying for everything as we go", said Larry Josoff. Larry and Roy have collected wind data for years and worked on building the realization of the vision of a renewable energy solution. One of many which will be necessary in our future, fossil-fuel-less world.

Cigars, beer, and renewable energy.

After the lower sails are attached, the work will be a little higher off the ground. At one point, Larry, while working on the project, took a fall and broke his neck, literally.

Thankfully, Larry seems to have recovered and is still taking a hard-working, yet fun approach to creating this windmill. I guess, while being out in the fields of Nebraska, having a beer and smoking a few cigars, building a renewable energy device the size of a barn out of recycled power poles is a surprise. A pleasant surprise.

The low speed, high torque, approach may have some advantages. Certainly being lower to the ground makes maintenance easier. This approach also minimizes dangers of ice particles which can be cast off the larger propeller-type wind generators like bullets.

On the down side, there are significantly more moving parts on the Josoff Windmill. Each tower of three sails is mechanized to turn into the wind by computer controlled motors which must be synchronized to the prevailing wind.

In general, after seeing this wind experiment for the first time, I came away feeling like I had met a real-life 'Secondhand Lions' group, only, instead of getting shot at ( as in the movie) I was welcomed by a very inventive and interesting pair of brothers.

Wind Vane