The wind is a form of solar energy and can be used to generate electricity. Depending on wind flow pattern and speed, wind can be converted into electricity with the aid of a wind turbine.
A wind turbine is a machine that converts kinetic energy from the wind into electricity. Instead of using electricity to make wind, a wind turbine generates mechanical energy or electricity by converting wind.
A wind turbine consists of a gearbox, blades, generator, anemometer, brake, controller, high and low-speed shaft.
How does a wind turbine work?
When wind flows across the rotor blades, it creates an aerodynamic force from the blades. The wind flow causes the blades’ outer edges to turn very fast while the central shaft turns slowly. The rotor which is connected to the gearbox converts the low-speed rotation of the drive shaft (16 revolutions per minute, RPM) into a high speed of up to 1500 RPM fast enough to drive the generator with efficiency.
The generator seated behind the gearbox picks up kinetic energy from the shaft and converts it into electrical energy. The electrical energy produced by the generator is directed through the inside of the turbine tower through a cable.
A step-up transformer is then used to convert and transmit the electricity efficiently to the power grid or nearby communities, industrial areas, or buildings.
The wind turbine also consists of anemometers and wind vanes located at the back of the nacelle to measure the speed and direction of the wind. These measurements are used to dictate the pace of the rotors to increase the efficiency of the wind turbine by either receiving the maximum amount of energy from the wind or stopping the turning of the rotor in the case of turbulence.
Types of Wind Turbines
There are two basic types of wind turbines;
Horizontal-axis wind turbines commonly have 3 blades which are like airplane propellers. The largest horizontal axis turbines have blades more than 100 feet long and are as tall as 20-story buildings.
This type of turbine is commonly used and seen around in these times due to their high efficiency.
Vertical-axis wind turbines have their blades attached to the top and bottom of a vertical rotor. They are not commonly used because they do not perform efficiently as the horizontal axis turbines.
Applications of Wind Turbines
In modern times, wind turbines have been categorized by where they are installed and how they are connected to the grid
Land-based wind turbines are very cost-effective and can be grouped into wind plants. They range in size from 100 kilowatts to megawatts and provide bulk power to the electrical grid.
This category of turbines is usually constructed to be massive and very tall. Due to their size, they can capture powerful ocean winds and generate vast amounts of energy.
One advantage of offshore wind turbines is their ease of transportation. Unlike land-based wind turbines, they can easily be transported by ships instead of using trucks on the roads.
Distributed wind turbines are standard and are used for small commercial, industrial, residential and agricultural applications. They are usually installed at or close to the location where the energy produced will be used.
They are usually small wind turbines that produce below 100 kilowatts and can be used in hybrid with other distributed energy resources, including batteries, photovoltaics, and diesel generators.
Wind power in Mesquite, TX, Dallas has gained importance in recent years, and for a good reason. Industries, agriculture, commercial and residential buildings are integrating wind power for their use as wind power produces clean, green energy and does not emit emissions or pollution.
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