Archive for the ‘Wind Energy’ Category
Wind energy as the name suggest is generated from devices driven by the wind. Wind is explained as being the movement of air masses resulting from differences in temperature of different air masses.
In a nut shell, wind occurs when air over land is heated by the sun energy. The hot air becomes lighter and ascends upward leaving a vacuum. The air over water masses like seas which is colder moves in to occupy the vacuum left by the ascending hot air. The colder air moving from the sea is in turn heated thus repeating the same cycle. This process results to air movement we call wind. The movement is further enhanced by earth movement as it rotates around its axis.
Wind energy involves converting kinetic energy into electric energy. This conversion occurs when specially designed wind turbine blades are hit by wind causing them to rotate. The turbine is attached to a shaft which spin as the blades rotates. There are the low and high speed shafts. The low speed shaft is attached to the centre of the rotor on one side and to the high speed shaft on the other end. The high speed shaft is in turn attached to a generator.
As the blades rotate thereby spinning the shafts the generator converts mechanical energy into electric energy. The generator creates electricity through a process called electromagnetic induction. The electric current generated can be channeled to a battery for storage to be used later.
There two types of wind turbine namely the horizontal and the vertical axis turbines. The horizontal-axis turbine resembles a fan while the vertical one is more like an egg beater. The sizes of the wind turbines vary depending on the amount of power they produce. At commercial level, large turbines are grouped together to form a wind farm generating several megawatts.
Small turbines generating less than 100 kilowatts are suitable for home use to power home electrical appliances. A combination of solar panels and small wind turbines are connected into a hybrid wind systems. These systems are commonly used in far off places with no electricity supply. The wind turbines have to be located on a raised ground to tap enough wind.
Wind energy, like the solar energy which is the outcome of solar panels, comes with all the green energy benefits. It emits no obnoxious gases into the atmosphere and its supply is finite for as long as the good old sun causes the movement of air masses.