Can you define wind Energy? When air moves from one point to another we called it wind. When we use the wind to generate electricity or to do any work we called it wind energy. now the question may arrive how does wind form?
Wind forms when sun heat earth unevenly because of Irregularities of the earth’s surface. Because of this air gets expanded at a hotter surface and this warm air flows upward. As warm air goes upward it creates void behind them and cold air fills that void.
This happens because air always flows from higher pressure to lower pressure warmer are creates a low-pressure area and thus air at higher pressure flows towards that direction and we called it wind.
What’s in it for me?
- Wind power
- How does wind energy work?
- Horizontal-axis wind turbines
- Vertical-axis wind turbines
- What is a wind farm?
- History of wind energy
- Uses of wind energy
- Advantages of wind energy
- Disadvantages of wind energy
When wind energy rotates wind turbines it created mechanical energy. This mechanical power from the turbine supply to an electric generator to produce electricity or to do works like milling, grinding or pumping we called is wind power.
It is a type of renewable energy and very less harmful to the environment as compared to burning fossil fuels.
How does wind energy work?
Firstly most of the energy comes from wind turbines. They can be as tall as 250 meters and have 360 meter long blades (Rotor).
These turbines convert wind energy into electricity using rotors. When wind flows across these rotors due to the law of aerodynamics, rotors start spinning. Rotors and generators are in connection with each other and these generators produce electricity.
The connection can be either directly or with the use of shaft and gearbox that step up the speed of the rotation and allows the use of a smaller electric generator. This generator covers the mechanical energy coming from the rotor to the AC electricity.
Electricity has to produce at the right frequency and at the right voltage, to be compatible with the utility grid.
Modern wind turbines fall into two basic groups
Horizontal-axis wind turbines
Horizontal axis wind turbines have rotor shaft and electric generator places at the top of the tower in horizontal casing and rotors are pointed into the upwind or downwind depending upon the no of blades used.
That is if the HAWT is single blade type then the rotor is pointed towards downside wind and if it is double or triple-blade type then it is pointed towards the upside.
HAWT is widely used even if it requires a mechanism for the orientation of the blade.
HAWT has more aerodynamic yield compare to VAWT gives it an upper hand over VAWT.
Vertical-axis wind turbines
Vertical axis wind turbines have main rotor shaft is set transverse to the wind and main components are places at the base of the turbine, because of this arrangement generator and gearbox can be located close to the ground which will ease the process of service and repair.
As VAWT needs not to point into the wind however there is no need for wind sensing and orientation mechanisms.
As the VAWT axis is perpendicular to the wind stream and vertical to the ground this type also called ‘transverse axis wind turbine ‘or ‘cross-flow wind turbine’.
What is a wind farm?
The wind farms are where a group of wind turbines is located to produce electricity collectively. However, in some other parts of the world, they call it Wind Park, Windpower station, or wind power plant.
Wind pharms can be onshore and offshore also. Wind farms located near water bodies can take advantage of the flow of winds across the lake or ocean.
Gansu Wind Farm in the china is the largest operational onshore wind farm in the world and it has a capacity of 20,000 MW by 2020.
In 1986, the first wind farm is set up at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra, But Jaisalmer Wind Park is the largest operational onshore wind farm in India, Located at Amarsagar in Jaisalmer district of Rajasthan having installed capacity of 1064 MW.
History of wind energy
Firstly we are using wind energy for thousands of years, the invention of sailing boats is one of the oldest use of wind energy in mankind. Persians in AD 5000-900 and Chinese in AD 1200 used wind power to gain mills and water pumping purposes.
Daniel Halladay (American engineer) was the first person who designed windmill in the year 1854 in therefore the manufacturing of the first windmill started in the United States. Windmill was a huge success at that time and mainly used in farms for pumping water.
Windmill also played a vital role in the expansion of railroads as pumped water was used in a steam engine. Windmills were so booming that six million-plus windmills were installed in the United State between the year 1850 to 1970.
Initially they use winds vanes to know the direction of the wind. However with further improvements more elements added in the construction-designs like safety devices to prevent windmill destruction due to high winds, pumping equipment, and use of multi-blade systems.
The United States-based Wind Engine & Pump Co. produced the first all-steel windmill and tower and after that use of steel and iron as windmill material become the first choice as they require little maintenance.
In 1888 Charles F. Brush invented first-ever electricity-generating wind turbines to generating electricity using wind energy.
This first electricity-generating wind turbine generated 12 kilowatts of power with the use of the turbine’s diameter of 50 feet and 144 rotor blades.
Uses of wind energy
- Firstly to generate electricity.
- Secondly, In modern fishing or even in cargo they are installing large kite to use wind energy for transportation.
- Thirdly many sports are using wind energy for various activities.
- Similarly in small and medium food industries for milling grains.
- To pumping water from the reservoir.
Advantages of wind energy
- Very cost-effective.
- known as a clean source of energy.
- It is a renewable and sustainable source of energy.
- The use of it can reduce the use of fossil fuels.
- It is free available in nature.
- Applicable in small and large applications.
- It can provide power to remote areas.
- The wind power plant running cost is low.
- It creates new jobs.
- The potential of wind energy is 20 times more than Wolds’s need.
Disadvantages of wind energy
- It is not constant it is fluctuating in nature therefore unreliable energy source.
- Wind turbines are expensive.
- Wind turbine contributes to danger to wildlife.
- The operation of wind power generation is noisy.
- Wind turbines can create a blot on a nice landscape.
- Required large open area to set up a wind farm.
- The efficiency of wind turbines is less than fossil fuels.
- The maintenance cost of the wind turbine is more as there are too many mechanical parts that undergo wear and tear.
Firstly with the competitive pricing and growing environmental concerns, there is a strong future for wind energy for sure.
Secondly with developing countries like India focusing on reducing dependency on fossil fuels and foreign energy sources, It is a good sign for renewable energies like Wind energy, Solar energy, Tidal energy for their future growth.
The Indian government has already set a target of 175 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2022. And therefore many states are already starting their journey towards this target.
Wind power cost in India is also decreasing drastically in the last few years. The cost of wind power in India is ₹2.43 (3.4¢ US) per kWh.
Tamil Nadu tops the list with the largest wind power generation capacity of 8859.96 megawatts as on 31.03.2019 whereas Gujarat and Maharashtra stand on 2nd and 3rd position with total wind capacity of 6098.25 and 4718.15 megawatts respectively.
Also Read :
As long as the sun is shining, there will be wind on earth. Hence we can say that we can not run out of the wind.
We can say that wind energy was truly discovered in 1888 when the first electricity-generating wind turbine was invented. This was invented by Charles F. Brush in Cleveland, Ohio.
Yes we can store the wind energy but in the form of compressed air. We can store it in above-ground tanks or in underground caverns and can later be used to provide mechanical energy to the generator.
My name is Vivek Rawool. I am extremely motivated to constantly develop my skills and grow professionally. I have completed my BE Mechanical Degree from Mumbai University and currently working with Paramount India as a Sales and Marketing Engineer. I also do Share market trading and investment.