Environmentally Friendly Wind Generators
Having electric vehicles is all well and good, but what happens if the electricity generation to re-charge the batteries comes at the cost of huge coal-burning power stations? Are they still environmentally friendly vehicles – maybe not.
Fortunately we all have available alternative methods of producing electricity which can be used for charging batteries and more. Here we will look at wind generators.
A wind turbine is a device that converts kinetic energy from the wind into electrical power. Wind turbines use large blades to catch the wind. When the wind blows, the blades are forced round, driving a turbine which generates electricity. The stronger the wind, the more electricity produced.
Wind turbines can vary widely in size an capacity ranging from home models which generate from 500W upwards, to huge turbines used in wind farms which can each produce 1.5 megawatts of electricity. wind turbines frequently seen in the United States are tall, with a typical tower height of 260 feet high.
There are two types of domestic-sized wind turbine:
Pole mounted: these are free standing and are erected in a suitably exposed position, often about 5,000W to 6,000W.
Building mounted: these are smaller than mast mounted systems and can be installed on the roof of a home where there is a good enough wind strength. Often these are around 1,000W to 2,000W in power generation capacity.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) at NREL is at the forefront of energy innovation. For more than three decades, our researchers have spent countless hours building unparalleled expertise in renewable energy technologies while supporting the vision that wind and water can create clean, reliable, and cost-effective electricity. The NWTC strives to be an essential partner to companies, other DOE laboratories, government agencies, and universities around the world seeking to create a better, more sustainable future.
See more here http://www.nrel.gov/learning/re_wind.html
The Basics of Wind Energy
We have been harnessing the wind’s energy for hundreds of years. From old Holland to farms in the United States, windmills have been used for pumping water or grinding grain. Today, the windmill’s modern equivalent—a wind turbine—can use the wind’s energy to generate electricity.
Wind turbines, like windmills, are mounted on a tower to capture the most energy. At 100 feet (30 meters) or more above ground, they can take advantage of the faster and less turbulent wind. Turbines catch the wind’s energy with their propeller-like blades. Usually, two or three blades are mounted on a shaft to form a rotor.
A blade acts much like an airplane wing. When the wind blows, a pocket of low-pressure air forms on the downwind side of the blade. The low-pressure air pocket then pulls the blade toward it, causing the rotor to turn. This is called lift. The force of the lift is actually much stronger than the wind’s force against the front side of the blade, which is called drag. The combination of lift and drag causes the rotor to spin like a propeller, and the turning shaft spins a generator to make electricity.
NREL’s wind energy research is primarily carried out at a separate site near Boulder, Colorado, designated as the National Wind Technology Center. Learn more about the National Wind Technology Center and its research by watching the video on the website.
Wind Turbine Applications example can be a row of eight, large three-bladed, wind turbines, at Lamar, Colorado, which are part of the 162-MW Colorado Green Wind Farm.
Wind turbines can be used as stand-alone applications, or they can be connected to a utility power grid or even combined with a photovoltaic (solar cell) system. For utility-scale (megawatt-sized) sources of wind energy, a large number of wind turbines are usually built close together to form a wind plant, also referred to as a wind farm. Several electricity providers today use wind plants to supply power to their customers.
Stand-alone wind turbines are typically used for water pumping or communications. However, homeowners, farmers, and ranchers in windy areas can also use wind turbines as a way to cut their electric bills. Small wind systems also have potential as distributed energy resources. Distributed energy resources refer to a variety of small, modular power-generating technologies that can be combined to improve the operation of the electricity delivery system. For more information about distributed energy, visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability.
NREL’s National Wind Technology Center Covers:
Wind Energy Basics
U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Just south of Boulder, Colorado, the NWTC is nestled at the base of the Rocky Mountain foothills. The 305-acre site experiences diverse and vigorous wind patterns—more than 100 miles per hour—making it an ideal setting for testing the reliability and performance of wind turbines. The NWTC comprises the necessary infrastructure, highly experienced staff, and state-of-the-art equipment needed to provide its partners and stakeholders with a full spectrum of research and development capabilities to develop everything at one location—from small residential wind turbines and components to utility-scale offshore wind and water power technologies.