How Do Wind Turbines Work?
In short, Wind energy gets convert into mechanical energy via rotation of blades which later turns generator shaft that in turn gives out electrical energy!
Well that was not too satisfactory answer for many, therefore below is in depth information about the same
Since I made video on how to make wind turbine for science project (Please do check out my working model of wind turbine which is available on science projects section) many have been asking me to explain me in detail about basic theory/principle behind the working on how do wind turbines work.
What are turbines?
Turbine is a device which converts one form of energy into another form of energy, here specifically we are talking about wind energy being convert into electrical energy meanwhile it also goes through a phase of mechanical energy
First let’s discuss about
Types of wind turbines
Types is usually classified based on blades axis with respect to wind stream position, basically these are
- Horizontal Axis wind turbines
- Vertical Axis wind turbines
Horizontal axis wind turbines
Horizontal Axis turbines as name itself suggest rotation axis of blade is parallel to direction of wind stream also these are called HAWT, Means Horizontal axis wind turbines.
Setup of Horizontal Axis wind turbines is shown below
Working of HAWT
- When wind strikes blade, shape of aero foil causes some force to act on blades as a result lift will be generated, this follows newton’s third law
- This action causes movement of blades in meantime same is happening on rest of the blades
- These causes rotation of blade
- These blades that will be in connection to generator shaft surpassing gears and brakes that are used to keep system in control
- Gears will be used to give stable rotation of shaft as blowing wind is always unstable
- Brakes will be use in times of maintainenace where the workers work and system needs to be stopped
- End result of all these factors leads to safe rotation of generator shaft which continuously gives power output which later will be transferred to power grids
Vertical Axis wind turbines
In Vertical Axis turbines the blade axis is perpendicular to wind stream, Here the movement of blades are perpendicular, the diagram of VAWT is shown below
Working of Vertical axis wind turbine
- Here the rotor is vertical to which top and bottom of rotor blades are in connection
- The rotation of blades causes shaft to spin which in turn generates electricity
- Other mechanism such as usage of gears for steady rotation is in use
- Brakes come into picture in case the system has to be halt for maintenance and repair
- Practically speaking these wind turbines are not as popular as horizontal axis wind turbines, reason being Efficiency
Efficiency of generator depends on wind power that gets harness by blades, So design of blades will play major role here, more energy blades convert more will be efficiency but the highest possible achieved efficiency is around 50%. For instance if 100% of wind power was harness by blade the wind wouldn’t travel further after hitting the blades as it looses all of it’s energy to blades.
Why wind power?
wind power can be alternative energy source because of its environment friendliness and there is no any pollution occurring from this type of energy harvesting, i hope from above two types of explanation now you have pretty good idea on how do wind turbines work, let’s discuss about about and disadvantages
Advantages and disadvantages of horizontal axis wind turbines
- Cleanest source of energy as there is no any form of pollution occurring during the process of generation especially green house gases and other pollutants
- Wind energy is available free of cost from nature so investment to be made only on harnessing equipment’s
- Can be built on big farms although the entire system is very big it uses small piece of land for its base
- Renewable source of energy and it doesn’t exhaust
- Initial investment to setup the system is high
- If the breaks fail chances are there the entire system may be destroyed
- Birds might get hit by blades as the blades are unnoticeable because of high RPM
- Can’t operate in extreme weather conditions
- Should be built in places where there is no much civilization
- Repairing needs man to climb on top of tower which is risky job
Advantages and disadvantages of vertical axis wind turbines
- Cheap in terms of building cost compared to HAWT
- Unlike HAWT Vertical types of wind turbines are easily transportable
- Can function in extreme weather conditions
- Doesn’t cause any harm to birds
- Setting up VAWT are way much easier compare to HAWT
- Efficiency of these type of turbines are very low compare to HAWT
- Consume large ground space
- Materials used to make the mechanism needs periodic maintenance as it wears according with time
Scope of wind power harnessing
The future scope for this type of energy is very high because of it’s eco friendliness
That was all about how do wind turbine work, Hope all the points were on the mark here majority of factors which were related to working of turbine are covered, if you have any additional info which you think needs to get added let me know in the comments.
Also do check out my other topics which covers making various science projects, arduino projects and also check my older post for useful piece of information related to HOW IT WORKS, Thank you have a good day