The idea has been put forward in a couple of threads below about hooking up some kind of air compressor/mover to the down rod on a standard windmill but it seems no one has ever come forward with any type of air compressor other than possibly a bellows type air mover.
Here's what I'm looking in to. I ran across the idea of air lifting water from a well on YouTube a few days ago. The idea seems to work well but the water depth of the apparatus was only 60 or so feet and the guy was using a standard electrical powered air compressor and piping the air down to the well site. I have a new well that was drilled last week who's max depth is 180 feet but static water level seems to have stabilized at 130 feet. To compensate for that water level dropping when pumping starts I thought I ought to plan for something like a depth of 160 feet to sink the water lifter to. The thing is I don't know if such a device will lift water that high or not.
I did some figuring for a 3/4" lift pipe at 160 feet and at that depth the weight of the water (granted, it's not ALL water, there's the bubbles to contend with) column was around 30 lbs. Thus, I figured I'd need a compressor of some type that would put out enough volume at something above that pressure in order to lift the water out of the well and into the tank. With the old windmill sitting next to the new well bore I thought it could be put to use powering a wide open (no tank) air compressor if I could identify what type to put on it. The only thing I have lying around is an old portable tank compressor, single cylinder I think, that I didn't know if it would provide enough volume to move the water up and out. This would require a fairly constant source of air so windy days would be great for it but the on again/off again summer doldrums here in West Texas probably wouldn't work so well for such a pump.
Is there any source for old gear boxes with attached flywheels that could lend themselves to belt driven air pumps? A 10 or 12 foot windmill has the ability to harness and transmit a pretty good amount of thrust and lift when running but someone in one thread said a 30 or so psi back pressure would stop a windmill pretty fast. I guess it all depends on the size of the fan and whatever leverage the wheel on the compressor provides. The stroke on the down rod is about 6 inches, I'm pretty sure, so that limits the size of the wheel, I guess?
I'm going to try setting the lifter in the well this week and using some compressed air tanks I have to see if this is going to work at all but we have a couple of wells in our back yard that are much shallower and I know this will work with them - if they're not caved in too.
That's entirely possible but that old windmill 10 to 12 feet away costs $1200 to move that far and be reset, new 2" pipe at $5 per foot is another $800, add that amount again for the rods as the old mill originally had 2-1/2" pipe and 7/8" rods in it (a legacy from the former owners of the ranch) that need to be reduced down to the smaller size. Inasmuch as I'd like to use the old pipe and rods, pulling those were difficult enough at the shallower depth and won't be any easier when you add another 30 feet of pipe and rods to it. My main concern here is a "SHTF" scenario working off of free energy that's already there. More than likely we're going to go with solar power on this as it seems durable enough and pulling poly pipe out of the hole is considerably easier. We're one family running the ranch with no employees so ease of repair is pretty high up there on our priority list. Plus I'm the only one in the family that will climb a windmill and at 56 my days are numbered for doing that!
There are a couple new ones out there, most are bellows but there is at least one that uses a piston pump and they have an airlift pump they sell sized to match their windmill airpump.
It isn't cheap. I know I looked at it and solar was a lot cheaper for me--and I live in relatively good wind conditions and only average solar.
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