Wind generators are one of the most reliable forms of alternative power sources on the planet. They are made to manufacture power by transforming the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical energy, which is then either harnessed directly (in the case of windmills, for example, which were used to change wheat into flour, or to pump water for farming) or coupled to a generator that creates a DC output that can be used in a more general sense. In this article I will be talking about the type of wind generators that produce electric energy, as this is more useful to us in our daily lives.
Wind turbines are basically large windmills, with gigantic blades that rotate in the wind and produce power from the conversion of the winds force. Wind turbines are manufactured from plastic, aluminium, steel and numerous other space age metals.
Wind turbines have a few negative impacts on the environment. They are very visible, and quite unsightly since they must be put in proximity to windy, open terrain to be useful – attempts to locate them off the coast have been met with great success. They require a great deal of energy in their manufacture, energy which is typically fossil-based, and therefore it can take a considerable amount of time before they are positive in terms of total carbon emissions – this time can be anywhere from 2 to 5 years. Wind turbines are linked to the mauling of rare species of birds that can be mutilated as they pass through the turbine fans during migratory passages.
With all of the downsides aside, wind turbines should be a choice when talking about a broad plan for renewable energy. Once erected, wind turbines are amazingly efficient in a larger sense – they generate power from a natural, eco-friendly renewable resource, without the hidden social or environmental penalties that we incur with the use of fossil fuels – theres no need to mine for fuel or to transport it – there are no global warming pollutants created, and no need to store, process, or to dispose of toxic wastes.
At the small side of the scale, turbines can be as tiny as 5 feet in diameter and are capable of only a few hundred watts. On the high end of the spectrum, turbines can be as huge as three hundred feet in diameter and are capable of generating two to five megawatts of power.
Similar to photovoltaic solar power generation, there might be rebates available for construction, and excess energy can be sold back to the power company.
Wind velocity is impacted by topography and increases with height above the ground, so wind turbines are generally installed on top of large towers. In a typical application, the wind turbine sits on top of a tall tower and generates low voltage DC which is used to charge a battery store – this stored potential energy is ultimately utilized by routing it through an inverter that changes the low voltage direct current power into utility voltage alternating current electricity that can be used in household applications. By concentrating a lot of turbines into wind farms a substantial amount of electricity can be stored and utilized, perhaps for a whole city or town.
Because the wind doesnt blow all of the time in many areas, wind turbines are used as adjuncts in hybrid configurations with many different technologies like photovoltaic panels, and diesel generators to provide a consistent source of electricity.
Dissimilar to fossil-fuel stations, wind turbines are clean and green – they dont create the carbon dioxide emissions that are causing greenhouse gases or the SO2 emissions that cause acid rain.
Todays turbines are divided into 2 categories, namely horizontal turbines and vertical turbines. Todays horizontal axis wind turbines are actually far better at capturing the wind than vertical axis turbines given the same amount of swept area (which is the diameter of the circle traced by the outside tip of the rotor blades).