In the beginning of July from 04.07.15 to 10.07.15, I conducted a “Small Windturbine Construction Workshop” in China. The design of the turbine is based on Hugh Piggot’s Recipe Book. Guanhua Don, founder of the Self-Sufficiency Lab Anotherland, and me discussed the idea to hold a small wind turbine construction workshop at their place near to the 8-million city Qingdao. The Self-Sufficiency Lab is beautifully situated on the foot of the Lao Mountain several kilometers outside of the city center. A PDF version of this article can be downloaded here. Also check this short video (here or here) that was compiled by one of the journalists attending the workshop.
As I have been occupied with my duties at my internship at GIZ, we only had 1 day to buy all the materials and arrange at least some of the tools a week before the workshop took place. The materials very not readily available and we had to spend quite some time on searching for the right places.
The participants of the workshop were from all over China with some traveling more than 1500 kilometer to take part. In total, roughly 17 adults (not counting the children some of the participating families brought along). It was a diverse crowd, ranging from students, over university lecturers and owners of organic farms to people that aspire to build up their own farms on the countryside of China, trying to escape the rat-race of the big Chinese cities.
Some of them were very skilled with using all the different tools, much better than I am. That left time and energy for me to coordinate the different steps of the construction and make sure everyone was able to contribute his/her part to the overall project.
I will not go too much into the details of the construction, because you can read all about that here. However, as we only had one day to buy the materials, we surely could not get all of them at once and we had to improvise or buy more, when we realized we didn’t have all the things we needed. The same applied to the tools and we had to get some people doing errands to the city to get some tools or materials once in a while.
Lesson learnt: Prepare well and it will save you a lot of time and troubles!
Enough talking, here are some pictures to give you an impression of the 7 days of the workshop. The turbine we set out to build has a rated power of 700 W and a rotor diameter of 2.4 meters.
I believe the workshop showed the participants that building a small wind turbine (or for that matter empowered them to take things into their own hands) is possible even if you do no possess an extended experience, as long as you work together in a team.
And even though language barriers did make things complicated at times, together we managed to build a small wind turbine that works!
My experience from this workshop can be summarized as exhausting but incredibly rewarding.
I met so many thoughtful and critical Chinese people that don’t want to be part of the mass consumption and modernization going on in China right now, people that have their own dreams about what the good life is and how to attain it.
And I am also very happy that at least two of the participants plan to build their own small wind turbine during the next months.