You have seen quite a few wind turbines erected around in various landscapes .These are quite popular these days due to the high prices of energy and the almost zero emission of green house gases from the systems. Have you ever wondered what makes these giants work?
They are solar powered
No! I am not kidding! Wind turbines are solar powered when you really look in to it deep. The wind currents that drive a turbine is a creation of solar heat by means of convection and conduction.
The source of energy is free and available in abundance.
The wind force is again affected by the geographic terrain, bodies of water, vegetation, natural calamities, human activities and also the rotation of the Earth.
Wind power is old hat!
It quite true! Here is a source of energy genuinely time tested. Since the dawn of civilization wind energy has been harnessed by man in some form or other. Examples are sail boats and ships, wind mills, kites, water pumps (and some others at a lesser levels). What it means is that the principals involved have been time tested, bugs are well known and the reliability is accordingly assured.
The wind currents are utilized to generate mechanical or electrical power by electromechanical devices. In the olden days the kinetic energy of the wind flow has been used “as is” to move sailing vessels. The windmill however used an elaborate drive mechanism to operate the mill equipment. In fact this is similar to the wind turbines of the present day except that the generation of electricity is our main aim now. The kinetic energy (or the energy of motion) of the wind currents is converted to mechanical energy initially. The mechanical energy is subsequently used as the prime mover for water pumping, grinding or the generation of electricity which is the modern day necessity.
How is electricity generated
A wind turbine for all practical purposes is an electric fan that rotates in the reverse direction! The fan makes the wind move by the rotation of the motor and the fan blades.It consumes electricity for this. In contrast the wind turbine rotates (in the opposite direction) and turns an alternator to generate electricity.
Wind turbines can be “upwind”, so-called because it operates facing into the wind or designed to run “downwind,” i.e. facing away from the wind.
What makes up a wind turbine?
Here are the main components! (but certainly not in the order of importance!);
It is a standard wind velocity meter that measures the wind speed and transmits wind speed data to the controller.
• Blades (Propeller):
Generally there are two or three blades. Air flow over the blades causes the blades to “lift” and rotate.
A disc type brake, that can be operated mechanically, electrically, or hydraulically to stop the rotor in emergencies.
The controller starts up the machine at wind speeds of about 13 to 26 kilometers per hour (kmph) and shuts off the machine at about 88 kmph. Turbines do not operate at wind speeds above about 88 kmph because they might be damaged by the high winds. (The vertical axis type of cause can operate at slower velocities than even 13 kmph ).
Is that all? Certainly not! There are a few more!
That does not mean it is a complex piece of equipment.
Part 2 of this article that follow will tell you more about this. Don’t miss It.!