Tag Archive | wind energy advantages and disadvantages

Converting Wind Into Energy Using Wind Turbines

Wind turbines are machines which rotate and use ‘kinetic energy’ of the wind and convert it into ‘mechanical energy’ If this ‘mechanical’ energy is directly utilized by the wind turbines’ pump or grinding stones, this machine is called a ‘windmill’. When the ‘mechanical’ energy is changed into electricity, the machinery is called a ‘wind generator’. This type of machinery can also be known as a ‘wind turbine’ a ‘wind energy converter’ or a ‘wind power’ unit.

There are two well-known types of wind turbines:Horizontal axis: These wind turbines will rotate with the main components (electrical generator unit and rotor shaft) on the top portion of a tower. These components must be directed into the force of wind.

Bigger turbines have all types of sensors and motor components. Gearbox pieces are part of the horizontal axes’ turbine. The blades are rotated at a faster rate with gearboxes. More efficient and powerful energy is available for the electricity components.

When the force of the wind is at the back of a tower, it will use the turbulence. When this occurs, the turbines are faced up wind of the tower. So that the turbine blades won’t break the tower from gale forces, the blades are build in a rigid manner. Often they are placed at a greater distance facing the front of the tower and have degrees’ tilt into the wind.

Even though turbulence can cause issues, the ‘down’ wind machines are constructed. These blades won’t need more parts to ensure that they are in the direction of the wind. When turbine blades bow with gale winds, the resistance is reduced greatly.

Turbines that have their rotor shafts arranged in a vertical fashion are often called ‘vertical wind turbines’. The vertical turbines don’t have to be directed towards the wind to allow for large amounts of usable energy. Often, the wind directions will change so these wind turbines are perfect.

These vertical turbines have the parts positioned closer to the ground. These important parts are the generator and the gearbox. So it isn’t imperative for the turbine to be supported by the tower. Maintaining this turbine is easy but being aware of any pulsing movements which can cause wear and tear.

Near the ground, the air flow can be turbulent which can causes vibrations. Noises and wear on the bearings could decrease the life of the turbine and increase the maintenance. Often, when a turbine is placed on a roof, the wind is re-directed by the structure; sometimes these can double the speed of the turbine. When the rooftops’ height is 50% of the buildings’, a mounted turbine will be able to produce maximum energy from the wind and have a minimum of turbulence.


From massive wind farms generating power to small turbines powering a single home, wind turbines around the globe generate clean electricity for a variety of power needs.

In the United States, wind turbines are becoming a common sight. Since the turn of the century, total U.S. wind power capacity has increased more than 24-fold. Currently, there’s enough wind power capacity in the U.S. to generate enough electricity to power more than 15 million homes, helping pave the way to a clean energy future.



The concept of harnessing wind energy to generate mechanical power goes back for millennia. As early as 5000 B.C., Egyptians used wind energy to propel boats along the Nile River. American colonists relied on windmills to grind grain, pump water and cut wood at sawmills. Today’s wind turbines are the windmill’s modern equivalent — converting the kinetic energy in wind into clean, renewable electricity.


The majority of wind turbines consist of three blades mounted to a tower made from tubular steel. There are less common varieties with two blades, or with concrete or steel lattice towers. At 100 feet or more above the ground, the tower allows the turbine to take advantage of faster wind speeds found at higher altitudes.

Turbines catch the wind’s energy with their propeller-like blades, which act much like an airplane wing. When the wind blows, a pocket of low-pressure air forms on one side of the blade. The low-pressure air pocket then pulls the blade toward it, causing the rotor to turn. This is called lift. The force of the lift is much stronger than the wind’s force against the front side of the blade, which is called drag. The combination of lift and drag causes the rotor to spin like a propeller.

A series of gears increase the rotation of the rotor from about 18 revolutions a minute to roughly 1,800 revolutions per minute — a speed that allows the turbine’s generator to produce AC electricity.

A streamlined enclosure called a nacelle houses key turbine components — usually including the gears, rotor and generator — are found within a housing called the nacelle. Sitting atop the turbine tower, some nacelles are large enough for a helicopter to land on.

Another key component is the turbine’s controller, that keeps the rotor speeds from exceeding 55 mph to avoid damage by high winds. An anemometer continuously measures wind speed and transmits the data to the controller. A brake, also housed in the nacelle, stops the rotor mechanically, electrically or hydraulically in emergencies. Explore the interactive graphic above to learn more about the mechanics of wind turbines.


There are two basic types of wind turbines: those with a horizontal axis, and those with a a vertical axis.

The majority of wind turbines have a horizontal axis: a propeller-style design with blades that rotate around a horizontal axis. Horizontal axis turbines are either upwind (the wind hits the blades before the tower) or downwind (the wind hits the tower before the blades). Upwind turbines also include a yaw drive and motor — components that turns the nacelle to keep the rotor facing the wind when its direction changes.

While there are several manufacturers of vertical axis wind turbines, they have not penetrated the utility scale market (100 kW capacity and larger) to the same degree as horizontal access turbines. Vertical axis turbines fall into two main designs:

  • Drag-based, or Savonius, turbines generally have rotors with solid vanes that rotate about a vertical axis.
  • Lift-based, or Darrieus, turbines have a tall, vertical airfoil style (some appear to have an eggbeater shape). The Windspire is a type of lift-based turbine that is undergoing independent testing at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s National Wind Technology Center.


Wind Turbines are used in a variety of applications – from harnessing offshore wind resources to generating electricity for a single home:

  • Large wind turbines, most often used by utilities to provide power to a grid, range from 100 kilowatts to several megawatts. These utility-scale turbines are often grouped together in wind farms to produce large amounts of electricity. Wind farms can consist of a few or hundreds of turbines, providing enough power for tens of thousands of homes.
  • Small wind turbines, up to 100 kilowatts, are typically close to where the generated electricity will be used, for example, near homes, telecommunications dishes or water pumping stations. Small turbines are sometimes connected to diesel generators, batteries and photovoltaic systems. These systems are called hybrid wind systems and are typically used in remote, off-grid locations, where a connection to the utility grid is not available.
  • Offshore wind turbines are used in many countries to harness the energy of strong, consistent winds found off of coastlines. The technical resource potential of the winds above U.S. coastal waters is enough to provide more than 4,000 gigawatts of electricity, or approximately four times the generating capacity of the current U.S. electric power system. Although not all of these resources will be developed, this represents a major opportunity to provide power to highly populated coastal cities. To take advantage of America’s vast offshore wind resources, the Department is investing in three offshore wind demonstration projects designed to deploy offshore wind systems in federal and state waters by 2017.


To ensure future growth of the U.S. wind industry, the Energy Department’s Wind Program works with industry partners to improve the reliability and efficiency of wind turbine technology, while also reducing costs. The program’s research efforts have helped to increase the average capacity factor (a measure of power plant productivity) from 22 percent for wind turbines installed before 1998 to more than 32 percent for turbines installed between 2006 and 2012. Wind energy costs have been reduced from more than 55 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) in 1980 to under 6 cents/kWh today in areas with good wind resources.

Wind turbines offer a unique opportunity to harness energy in areas where our country’s populations need it most. This includes offshore wind’s potential to provide power to population centers near coastlines, and land-based wind’s ability to deliver electricity to rural communities with few other local sources of low carbon power.

The Energy Department continues working to deploy wind power in new areas on land and at sea and ensuring the stable, secure integration of this power into our nation’s electrical grid.


Wind Turbine Energy, A Clean, Cheap and Safe Way to Produce Energy

Wind has been considered as a downside of regions, a factor that conspired against urbanization, highlighting destructive power of the wind. But more recently, technology has provided a whole new outlook on the wind. Regions with steady regular wind have proven to be the most suitable ones to produce a new way of cheap and clean energy: wind energy. You can read more information about it by reading the article below.

Wind energy can be “harvested” with the use of wind turbines. Wind turbines are roughly structures with big propellers that take advantage of the constant movement of the propeller, generating energy. In the same way mills took advantage of wind, typically to extract water from the soil, these new wind turbines generate electricity in an efficient way. Technically, it can be said that they convert the free everlasting kinetic energy of the wind into electricity. No chemistry is involved, because it is simply an ingenious device that transforms energy into usable ways.

A Wind Turbine Energy consists mostly of three main components: the rotor blades, the shaft and the generator. A lot can be said about the design of the blades. They need to be aerodynamically shaped, so as to make the most of the wind, with the least loss of energy. This includes careful consideration of the materials blades are made of. At first, wood was the preferred material. Later on light metals were used, like aluminum. The most suitable is carbon fiber, an extremely light material, amazingly resistant. The shaft is connected to the rotor. It transfers the movement to the rotor, which has one end attached to a regular electric generator. Here is where the electric energy is produced. This is a very simple, yet very effective mechanism. Electricity will be produced as long as the blades spin.

The generator works using the properties of electromagnetic induction. The core of the generator is made of magnets, that when moved constantly close to a conducting material -copper wires, most typically-, produce a difference of electric tension -voltage. Magnets have this amazing property: to release electrons: energy.

Windmills are used in areas where traditional wiring is not present, for instance in rural areas. In 1930, 600.000 windmills provided water and electricity to many rural areas in the United States. By 2006, new windmills were developed that could produce up to 4 mega Watts of electric power, enough to supply energy to a small neighborhood with one single mill. The new wind turbines have a completely different design from traditional mills, the axis being placed vertically, instead of horizontally. This new layout helps maximize the power of rotation of the wind. This design is called VAWT.

The size of the Wind Turbine Energy mills is highly relevant. The bigger the mill is, the most energy it can produce. The drawback is that bigger structures require bigger parts that will necessary gain in weight. That is why new materials such as carbon nanotubes and glass fibers are so effective when designing mills.