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Typical wind generators

cindy / 2017-02-10
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 Turbine blades are shaped a lot like airplane wings-they use an airfoil design. In an airfoil, one surface of the blade is somewhat rounded, while the other is relatively flat. Lift is a pretty complex phenomenon and may in fact require a Ph.D. in math or physics to fully grasp. But in one simplified explanation of lift, when wind travels over the rounded, downwind face of the blade, it has to move faster to reach the end of the blade in time to meet the wind travelling over the flat, upwind face of the blade.
 
Since faster moving air tends to rise in the atmosphere, the downwind, curved surface ends up with a low-pressure pocket just above it. The low-pressure area sucks the blade in the downwind direction, an effect known as lift. On the upwind side of the blade, the wind is moving slower and creating an area of higher pressure that pushes on the blade, trying to slow it down. Like in the design of an airplane wing, a high lift to drag ratio is essential in designing an efficient turbine blade. Turbine blades are twisted so they can always present an angle that takes advantage of the ideal lift-to-drag force ratio. See How Airplanes Work to learn more about lift, drag and the aerodynamics of an airfoil.
 
Aerodynamics is not the only design consideration at play in creating an effective wind turbine. Size matters- the longer the turbine blades, the more energy a turbine can capture from the wind and the greater the electricity-generating capacity. Generally speaking, doubling the rotor diameter produces a four fold increase in energy output. In some cases, however, in a lower wind-speed area, a smaller diameter rotor can end up producing more energy than a larger rotor because with a smaller setup, it takes less wind power to spin the smaller generator, so the turbine can be running at full capacity almost all the time. Tower height is a major factor in production capacity, as well. The higher the turbine, the more energy it can capture because wind speeds increase with elevation increase ground friction and ground-level objects interrupt the flow of the wind. Scientists estimate a 12 percent increase in wind speed with each doubling of elevation.
 
Wind-power Resources and Economics
Watt electricity generating capacity
1 megawatt of wind power can produce from 2.4 million to 3 million kilowatt-hours of electricity in one year.
Kilowatt-hour-one kilowatt of electricity generated or consumed in one hour
 
On a global scale, wind generators are currently generating about as much electricity as eight large nuclear power plants. That includes not only utility-scale turbines, but also small turbines generating electricity for individual homes or businesses, sometimes used in conjunction with photovoltaic solar energy. A small, 10kw capacity turbine can generate up to 16000 kWh per year, and a typical US household consumes about 10000 kWh in a year.
 
A typical large wind generators can generate up to 1.8 MW of electricity, or 5.2 million KWh annually, under ideal conditions enough to power nearly 600 households. Still, nuclear and coal power plants can produce electricity cheaper than wind generators can. So why use wind energy? The two biggest reasons for using wind to generate electricity are the most obvious ones: Wind power is clean, and it's renewable. It doesn't release harmful gases like CO2 and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere the way coal does see How Global Warming Works, and we are in no danger of running out of wind anytime soon. There is also the independence associated with wind energy, as any country can generate it at home with no foreign support. And a wind turbine can bring electricity to remote areas not served by the central power grid.
 
But there are downsides, too. Wind generators can't always run at 100 percent power like many other types of power plants, since wind speeds fluctuate. Wind generators can be noisy if you live close to a wind plant, they can be hazardous to birds and bats, and in hard-packed desert areas there is a risk of land erosion if you dig up the ground to install turbines. Also, since wind is a relatively unreliable source of energy, operators of wind-power plants have to back up the system with a small amount of reliable, non-renewable energy for times when wind speeds die down. Some argue that the use of unclean energy to support the production of clean energy cancels out the benefits, but the wind industry claims that the amount of unclean energy that's necessary to maintain a steady supply of electricity in a wind system is far too small to defeat the benefits of generating wind power.
 
Large HAWT components
rotor blades: capture wind's energy and convert it to rotational energy of shaft
shaft: transfers rotational energy into generator
nacelle: casing that holds the gearbox , increases speed of shaft between rotor hub and generator, generator,uses rotational energy of shaft to generate electricity using electromagnetism, electronic control unit,monitors system, shuts down turbine in case of malfunction and controls yaw mechanism, yaw controller moves rotor to align with direction of wind and brakes stop rotation of shaft in case of power overload or system failure.
tower: supports rotor and nacelle and lifts entire setup to higher elevation where blades can safely clear the ground
electrical equipment: carries electricity from generator down through tower and controls many safety elements of turbine

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