Monday, March 23, 2009

Wind powered streetlight

United States Patent
WWW.USPTO.GOV
7,321,173
Mann
January 22, 2008

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Wind powered streetlight


Abstract
A streetlight for illuminating a portion of an adjacent roadway. The
streetlight includes three vertical support members with a rotatable
axle mounted intermediate thereto. Superposed on the vertical support
members is a light assembly. A plurality of wind receptacles, having a
hub, at least one support arm and at least one cup shaped
wind-capturing device are operatively connected to the axle. The wind
receptacles act to harness air current and rotate the axle, which is
operatively connected to an electrical generator. The electrical
current from the generator is stored in a power storage unit. The
streetlight further includes photovoltaic cells for supplying power to
the light assembly.


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Inventors: Mann; Harjit (Edgbaston Birmingham W. Midlands, GB)
Appl. No.: 11/347,927
Filed: February 6, 2006

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Current U.S. Class: 290/55 ; 290/44
Current International Class: F03D 9/00 (20060101); H02P 9/04 (20060101)
Field of Search: 290/55,54,44,43 416/111,119,132B 415/4.2,4.5,2.1,7,905,906



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References Cited [Referenced By]

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U.S. Patent Documents

3877836 April 1975 Tompkins
3897170 July 1975 Darvishian
4200904 April 1980 Doan
4329593 May 1982 Willmouth
4364709 December 1982 Tornquist
4419587 December 1983 Benton
4508972 April 1985 Willmouth
5997252 December 1999 Miller
6661113 December 2003 Bonin
2004/0047723 March 2004 Horjus
2005/0263057 December 2005 Green
2007/0115663 May 2007 Weiser et al.

Primary Examiner: Gonzalez; Julio
Attorney, Agent or Firm: Galasso; Raymond M. Galasso & Associates LP
WWW.GAPATENTS.COM
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Claims

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What is claimed is:

1. A light fixture for illuminating a portion of an adjacent roadway
comprising: at least three vertical support members, said vertical
support members configured in a tripod pattern, said vertical support
members having a first end and a second end, said first end of said
vertical support members superposed on mounting bases, said mounting
bases configured to provide horizontal structural support; an axle,
said axle being intermediate said vertical support members, said axle
having a first end and a second end, said axle being rotatable; a
light assembly, said light assembly for illuminating a portion of said
roadway, said light assembly superposed on said second end of said
vertical support members, said light assembly having two portions,
said portions being perpendicular to said vertical support members,
said portions oppositely extending outward from said vertical support
members; a primary wind receptacle, said primary wind receptacle
operatively connected to said second end of said axle, said primary
wind receptacle for harnessing air currents, said primary wind
receptacle being configured to rotate said axle, said primary wind
receptacle further including a hub, said hub surroundably mounted to
said second end of said axle, four arms, said arms contiguous with
said hub, said arms being perpendicular to said hub, four wind
capturing devices, said wind capturing devices mounted to said arms
distal to said hub, said wind capturing devices being configured to be
cup-shaped, said wind capturing devices having a convex shaped bottom;
a plurality of secondary wind receptacles, said secondary wind
receptacles being operatively connected to said axle, said secondary
wind receptacles intermediate said light assembly and said mounting
bases, said secondary wind receptacles for harnessing air currents; a
power supply, said power supply operatively connected to said first
end of said axle, said power supply being configured to generate
electrical current.

2. The light fixture as recited in claim 1, wherein said secondary
wind receptacles further include four cup-shaped wind capturing
devices, said wind capturing device having circumferentially disposed
thereon a magnetized ring.

3. The light fixture as recited in claim 2, and further including
three magnetized panels, said panels mounted on said vertical support
members, said magnetized panels having the opposite magnetic pole from
said magnetized ring.

4. The light fixture as recited in claim 3, and further including a
power storage unit, said power storage unit for receiving electrical
currents from said power supply, said power storage unit for providing
electrical current to said light assembly.

5. The light fixture as recited in claim 4, and further including
three horizontal support members, said horizontal support members
intermediate said vertical support members, said horizontal support
members being interposed said light assembly and said mounting base.

6. The light fixture as recited in claim 5, wherein said power supply
is an alternator.
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Description

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FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to a light powered by natural resources,
more specifically but not by way of limitation, a light for
illuminating a portion of a roadway that is powered by a series of
wind receptacles and photovoltaic cells to facilitate the generation
and storage of electrical energy required to illuminate the light.

BACKGROUND

People frequently travel at night by many methods on roads and
highways. Government municipalities frequently provide lighting to
illuminate a portion of the roads that are frequently traveled to
increase the safety conditions of these areas. Traditional street
lights are most often powered by the municipal's electrical system.

One problem with traditional powered streetlights is that they require
a source of electricity. Electricity sources that are commonly used
comprise of a municipal electrical grid that is used to power a
certain geographical area. The streetlight must be wired into this
grid in order to produce light. Most often, natural gas or coal is
used to generate power for the electrical grids that power most urban
areas. As energy commodities are in a state of high demand,
conservation of the use of these commodities is preferred.

Traditional street lights are also limited to certain geographical
areas due to their need for a presence an electrical grid to interface
with in order to receive the electricity needed for operation. Rural
areas often do not have the electrical infrastructure required to
supply electricity to streetlights. Traditional streetlights are
routinely not placed in rural areas as the installation costs are
usually prohibitive as municipal electricity grids may not be
available to supply power. Having the ability to place a streetlight
in rural areas would facilitate an increase in safety conditions in
these areas.

Accordingly, there is a need for a street light that does not required
interfacing with an municipal electrical system and is capable of
generating and storing electricity aided by several natural resource
powered devices such as but not limited to wind powered and/or
photovoltaic cells.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

It is the object of the present invention to provide a street light
for illuminating a portion of a street or highway that does not
require the use of electricity from a municipal electrical grid.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a street
light that uses a combination of wind receptacles and photovoltaic
cells to generate electricity necessary for the operation of the
streetlight to provide illumination for a portion of a street or
highway.

Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a
streetlight that includes a device for storing electrical current that
is generated by a natural power source such as but not limited to
sunlight or wind.

A further object of the present invention is to provide a streetlight
that promotes the conservation of energy commodities such as coal or
natural gas.

To the accomplishment of the above and related objects the present
invention may be embodied in the form illustrated in the accompanying
drawings. Attention is called to the fact that the drawings are
illustrative only. Variations are contemplated as being a part of the
present invention, limited only by the scope of the claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

A more complete understanding of the present invention may be had by
reference to the following Detailed Description and appended claims
when taken in conjunction with the accompanying Drawings wherein:

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of an embodiment of the present
invention; and

FIG. 2 illustrates a detailed view of an embodiment of a wind
receptacle of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Referring to the embodiments in FIGS. 1 and 2, wherein like elements
are designated with identical reference numbers and wherein various
elements are not necessarily drawn to scale. In particular, in FIG. 1
there is illustrated a streetlight 100 that is constructed according
to the principles of the present invention.

The streetlight 100 comprises a plurality of vertical support members
50. The vertical support members 50 are configured in a tripod pattern
with each vertical support member 50 being positioned angled outward
from the center axle 70. The vertical support members 50 are
configured to form the structural support for the streetlight. The
vertical support members 50 are manufactured from conventional square
metal tubing that are non-corrosive metal. Good results have been
achieved using aluminum or galvanized steel. Although the vertical
support members 50 are illustrated in the drawing submitted herewith
as square tubes, it is further contemplated within the scope of the
present invention that numerous different shapes and sizes of
conventional metal tubing could be used in placed of and/or in
conjunction with the square tubing illustrated and perform the desired
function suggested herein. Furthermore, it is contemplated within the
scope of the present invention that numerous different configurations
and quantities of the vertical support members 50 are possible to
achieve the desired functionality as suggested herein.

Each vertical support member 50 has a first end 121 and a second end
123. Each first end 121 is secured to a mounting bracket 120. The
mounting bracket 120 is contiguous with and generally perpendicular to
the vertical support member 50. The mounting bracket 120 is secured to
the vertical support member 50 by traditional mechanical methods such
as but not limited to welding. The mounting bracket 120 functions to
secure the vertical support member 50 to the mounting base 122. Each
vertical support member 50 is superposed on a mounting base 122 and
secured with the mounting bracket 120. The mounting base 120 is
manufactured from conventional durable material such as concrete.

The mounting base 122 functions to provide a stable horizontal support
structure for the street light 100 upon positioning on a variety of
terrains that are typical of roadside conditions. Distally positioned
from the mounting base 122 underneath the light assembly 20 and
intermediate each vertical support member 50 are a plurality of
horizontal support members 60. The horizontal support members 60 are
positioned in order to provide structural support for the vertical
support members 50. The horizontal support members 60 are fastened to
the vertical support member 50 by conventional mechanical or other
suitable methods such as but not limited to welding.

Although the drawings submitted herewith illustrate three horizontal
support members 60, it is further contemplated within the scope of the
present invention that numerous configurations and quantities of the
horizontal support members 60 could be used in place of and/or in
conjunction with the horizontal support members 60 illustrated to
provide the functionality as suggested herein.

The second ends 123 of each vertical support member 50 are fastened
together near the apex 124 by suitable methods such as welding. The
vertical support members 50 are fastened near the apex 124 with
sufficient space therebetween for the center axle 70 to extend
upwardly through and permit rotation thereof.

Superposed to the second ends 123 of the vertical support members 50
and generally perpendicular thereto is the light assembly 20. The
light assembly 20 is comprised of two generally equal portions 21.
Each portion 21 of the light assembly 20 extends opposite each other
and outward from the vertical support members 50. The light assembly
20 is fastened to the vertical support members 50 with conventional
mechanical fasteners such but not limited to bolts.

The light assembly 20 further comprises a plurality of photovoltaic
cells 10. The photovoltaic cells 10 are conventional photovoltaic
cells that convert light energy into electrical current. The
electrical current generated from the photovoltaic cells 10 is
transmitted to a power storage unit 130. The electrical transmission
is delivered by insulated copper wiring. The photovoltaic cells 10
superposed on each portion 21 are secured by a fastener 40. The
fastener 40 is a suitable rigid material that is flat and extends
substantially across the length of the portion 21. The fastener 40 is
manufactured from non-corrosive metal and is secured to the light
assembly 20 by conventional mechanical methods such as but not limited
too screws.

A center axle 70 is present having a first end 71 and a second end 72.
The second end 72 of the center axle 70 upwardly projects through the
light assembly 20. The center axle 70 is a suitable rigid material
such as but not limited to a non-corrosive metal. The center axle 70
extends from above the light assembly 20 downward to operatively
connect with the electrical generator 125. The center axle 70 is
mounted intermediate the vertical support members 50 and is mounted so
as to allow complete rotation thereof. Mechanically fastened to the
second end 72 of the axle 70 is a hub 110. The hub 110 is rotatably
mounted to the second end 72 of the center axle 70. The hub 110 is
secured to the second end 72 of the center axle 70 by suitable
mechanical methods such as but not limited to bolts.

Extending outward from the hub 110 and generally perpendicular thereto
is a plurality of support arms 112. The support arms 110 are flat bars
manufactured of a suitable rigid, non-corrosive material such as
aluminum. Contiguous with the end of the support arms 110 distally
positioned from the hub 110 are the wind capturing devices 135.

The wind capturing devices 135 comprise a wall 138 and a bottom 140.
The wall 138 and the bottom 140 are integrally formed to create a
substantially hollow compartment with an opening. The wall 138 and
bottom 140 are manufactured from a suitable moldable material such as
but not limited to thermoplastic. The wind capture devices 135 are
generally cup shaped with the bottom 140 being contiguous with the
wall 138 and convex thereto. The wind capturing devices 135 functions
to temporarily retain available air currents from passing automobile
traffic or weather conditions and move the primary wind receptacle 30
in a clockwise direction.

As the primary wind receptacle 30 rotates the center axle 70 will
rotate in a clockwise direction. Although the wind capturing devices
135 are illustrated being configured in a cup shape with a convex
bottom, it is further contemplated within the scope of the present
invention that the wind capturing devices 135 could be manufactured in
numerous different shapes and sizes in place of and/or in conjunction
with the wind capturing devices 135 as illustrated herein.

Movement of the primary wind receptacle 30 causes the center axle 70
that is operatively connected thereto via the hub 110 to rotate. As
the primary wind receptacle 30 rotates the center axle 70 the first
end 71 of the center axle 70 activates the electrical generator 125.
The electrical generator 125 is a conventional alternator that
generates an electrical current. The current generated from the
electrical generator 125 is transmitted via insulated copper wiring to
the power storage unit 130. The power storage unit 130 receives
electrical current from the electrical generator 130 and the
photovoltaic cells 10 as described herein. The power storage unit 130
is connected to the light assembly with insulated copper wire or other
suitable electrical wire. The electrical current stored in the power
storage unit 130 is used to illuminate the light assembly 20 for a
desired period of time. It is further contemplated within the scope of
the present invention that intermediate the power storage unit 130 and
the light assembly 20 is a light sensitive switch. The switch would
act to close the electrical circuit between the power storage unit 130
and the light assembly 20 during the nighttime hours and activate
illumination of the light assembly 20. Alternatively, a conventional
timer could be used to activate the illumination of the light assembly
20.

Interposed the apex 124 and the electrical generator 125 rotatably
mounted to the center axle 70 are a plurality of secondary wind
receptacles 80. The secondary wind receptacles 80 are constructed
similar to the primary wind receptacle as described herein. The
secondary wind receptacles 80 comprise a hub 81, a plurality of
support arms 82, and a cup-shaped wind-capturing device 83.
Circumferentially disposed thereon the wind-capturing device 83 of the
secondary wind receptacles 80 proximate to the opening 84 is a
magnetic ring 85. The magnetic ring 85 functions to assist the
secondary wind generators 80 clockwise rotation and subsequent
rotation of the center axle 70. As the secondary wind receptacles 80
rotate as a result of air movement, the magnetic ring 85 interacts
with the magnetized panels 90 secured to the vertical support members
90. The magnetized panels 90 are magnetic polar opposites of the
magnetic ring 85. As the secondary wind receptacle 80 is rotated about
the center axle 70 from air currents, provided by passing automobile
traffic or weather conditions, the magnetic ring 85 acts to increase
the rotational speed by repelling the temporarily adjacent magnetic
ring 85. Increasing the rotational speed of the secondary wind
receptacles 80 facilitates the generation of more electrical current
produced from the electrical generator 125 that is operatively
connected to the first end 71 of the center axle 70. Although a
plurality of secondary wind receptacles 80 are shown in the drawings
submitted herewith, it if further contemplated that different
quantities and shapes of secondary wind receptacles 80 could be used
in place of and/or in conjunction with the secondary wind receptacles
80 as described herein. It is further contemplated to be within the
scope of this invention that the spacing of each of the secondary wind
receptacles 80 with respect to each other can be equally proportioned
such that maximum performance is obtained.

The electrical generator 125 is superposed to the power storage unit
130. It is contemplated within the scope of the present invention that
the electrical generator 125 and the power storage unit 130 can be
mounted beneath the terrain upon which the streetlight 100 has been
installed or be secured above ground. It is further contemplated
within the scope of the present invention that the power storage unit
130 has sufficient capacity to provide electrical current to
illuminate the light assembly 20 as needed for typical demands for
operating the street light 100 throughout extended periods of darkness.

Now referring in particular to FIG. 2, a detailed view of a secondary
wind receptacle 200 is illustrated. The secondary wind receptacle 200
consists of a hub 210 that is generally cylindrical in shape. The hub
210 is manufactured from a suitable rigid, non-corrosive material such
as aluminum. Centrally positioned in the hub 210 and extending the
entire length thereof, is an axle aperture 205. The axle aperture 205
is of suitable shape to interconnect with the center axle 70,
illustrated in FIG. 1. Although the axle aperture 205 is illustrated
as being square in shape, it is contemplated within the scope of the
present invention that the axle aperture 205 could consist of numerous
different shapes to correspond with the shape of material used to
construct the axle 70. Contiguous with the hub 210 and extending
outward there from are a plurality of support arms 215. The support
arms 215 are flat rectangular shaped bars that are manufactured from a
suitable rigid material such as but not limited to aluminum.
Integrally formed with the support arms 215 distally positioned from
the hub 210 is a magnetic ring 225. The magnetic ring 225 is
manufactured from a magnetized metal. The magnetic ring 225 is
circumferentially disposed around the wind-capturing device 240
proximate to the opening. The wind-capturing device 240 is secured to
the magnetic ring 225 by suitable chemical or mechanical methods.
Magnets 260 are secured to support members 90 and operate as described
herein above. The wind-capturing device 240 comprises a wall 242 and a
bottom 244 to form a substantially hollow container 248 with an
opening. The container 248 is generally cup shaped with a convex
bottom in order to efficiently capture any ambient air currents.
Although the wind capturing devices 240 are illustrated as being
cup-shaped with a convex bottom, it is contemplated within the scope
of the present invention that the wind capturing devices could be
numerous different shapes and sizes and achieve the functionality as
suggested herein. It is further contemplated within the scope of the
present invention that different quantities of wind capturing devices
240 could be used and achieve the desired functionality of the
secondary wind receptacle 200 as suggested herein.

Referring in particular to FIG. 1, a description of the operation of
the streetlight 100 is as follows. The mounting bases 122 are prepared
in a location where the streetlight 100 is desired. Although it is
desirable to position the streetlight 100 adjacent to a highway or
street, it is contemplated that the streetlight 100 could be utilized
anywhere illumination is desired. Furthermore, scaled-down embodiments
could be utilized for areas such as but not limited to sidewalks. Once
the mounting bases 122 are prepared, the streetlight 100 is superposed
on the mounting bases 122. Requisite operable connections from the
center axle 70 to the electrical generator 125 are completed along
with the necessary wiring connections as described herein.

Once the complete streetlight 100 is in place the photovoltaic cells
10 capture the available sunlight and convert the sunlight into
electrical current whereby it is then transferred via an insulated
copper wire to the power storage unit 130. Additionally, any available
wind current is captured by the primary wind receptacle 30 and the
secondary wind receptacles 80. The captured air currents rotate the
primary wind receptacle 30 and the secondary wind receptacles 40
causing the center axle 70 which is operatively connected thereto to
rotate. The center axle 70 is interconnected with the electrical
generator 125. The rotating center axle 70 activates the electrical
generator 125 and produces an electrical current. The current is
transferred from the electrical generator 125 to the power storage
unit 130 via insulated copper wire to be stored for use in
illuminating the light assembly 20. The light assembly 20 is
illuminated by an automated timer or a light sensitive switch to
illuminate during hours of darkness with electrical current from the
power storage unit 130.

In the preceding detailed description, reference has been made to the
accompanying drawings that form a part hereof, and in which are shown
by way of illustration specific embodiments in which the present
invention may be practiced. These embodiments, and certain variants
thereof, have been described in sufficient detail for those skilled in
the art to practice the present invention. It is to be understood that
other suitable embodiments may be utilized and that logical changes
may be made without departing from the spirit or scope of the present
invention. The description may omit certain information known to those
skilled in the art. The preceding detailed description, is therefore,
not intended to be limited to the specific forms set forth herein, but
on the contrary it is intended to cover such alternatives,
modifications, and equivalents as can be reasonably included within
the spirit and scope of the appended claims. For more information
please go to WWW.GAPATENTS.COM or WWW.GOOGLE.COM.

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