How do Wind turbines work?

Wind Farm

Wind Farm

Simply put wind turbines convert kinetic energy from the rotating blades and turbines into electrical energy using a generator. There are two types of turbines in use one is horizontal (the 3 blade ones like propellers which we see more often) and the vertical ones (which are very very rare). Commercially the horizontal axis wind turbines are more widespread. The vertical axis ones are mostly used in smaller stand alone units and on off grid systems to pump water. The commercial turbines now available in the market vary between 1-4 MW output.

When the wind flows the blades catch the wind, turn and rotate thus creating kinetic energy. This Kinetic energy is converted by a generator into electricity at medium voltage. These generators are linked to transformers which increase the voltage to suit distribution voltage on the grid. Then the power generated combines with other turbines at a collection point and gets distributed. Sometimes it is also sent to a sub-station to stabilize the voltage to transmission voltage.

The major Wind energy turbine manufacturers are:

  • Vestas, Denmark – World’s largest manufacturer of wind turbines with a 23 per cent market share, and 35,000 wind turbines installed, Vestas is the world’s leading supplier of wind energy power solutions. www.vestas.com

  • Enercon ,Germany

  • General Electric

  • Gamesa Eolica, Spain

These 4 account for 3/4th of the worlds wind turbine production.

FUTURISTIC:

FLODESIGN is an aerospace engineering company which is known for its aircraft engines and non-lethal weapons has come up a very unique design which they claim is more efficient and cost effective in the long run. It is based on the jet engines with smaller sturdier and faster blades in more numbers arranged inside a hoop. They claim this design can reduce the area of land required too.

Using single turbine/ small wind turbines for homes and offices

Single turbine wind systems can provide enough power for day to day running of a household. In some states just like solar power people are able to sell back excess power generated using wind turbines to the grid. It is preferable to have your wind turbine system linked to a grid so that even in un-favorable conditions you will still have power. There is always an option to go for fully independent wind turbine too. These wind turbines are listed as up to 100kW and below. US is the leading manufacturer and consumer of small wind turbines.

  • Things to be aware of before planning to install a small-wind turbine.

  1. Wind Turbines are relatively large so not practical for use in an urban or small-lot suburban homes.

  2. Wind Turbines need a minimum of 7-10 miles per hour wind to keep producing electricity and wind being un-predictable it might be a good idea to tie it to the grid.

  3. What is your energy requirement? It is based on your consumption, to get a rough idea check several of your household or facility electric utility bills (ideally, the bills for a one year period) for the quantity of energy you use per month.  This energy consumption number will be expressed in kilowatt-hours (kWh).

  4. To calculate the size of wind turbine you might require use this calculator – follow the link http://www.nrel.gov/analysis/power_databook/calc_wind.php

  5. Cost is between 3000 – 5000$ per kW, i.e. around 40,000$ for a 10kW Wind Turbines Energy system installed. (Check with a local dealer for exact pricing). Wind Turbines are cheaper than solar systems yet do take from 6 to 30 years to break even.

  6. Together with a small wind turbine if one also makes the home more energy efficient that will aid in reducing the bill and the break even time.

  7. With Wind Turbines Taller the tower the better chances of having un-restricted wind flow. The towers are 80 -120 feet tall.

  8. Always find out what the laws in your area say about wind turbines. Some areas have restrictions on size etc…

  9. There is always a chance someone in your neighborhood might complain about the aesthetic appeal of the Wind Turbines structure.

  10. Most wind turbines are supposed to have a life expectancy of 25 years.

  11. The AWEA list of Commercially proven US wind energy small wind turbine systems providers are the following:

Manufacturer Models (Rated Capacity)
Abundant Alternative Energy- Manufacturers of Small size wind turbine energy systems. The website is very informative and has all kinds of calculators and a price list.
www.abundantre.com

ARE110 (2.5KW), ARE442 (10KW)

AeroVironment or AV- AV developed a small, modular wind turbine system designed for installation on buildings in urban and suburban areas. By eliminating the support tower, reducing noise and vibration, and creating a sleek and adaptable, modular housing that installs quickly and easily onto buildings, without penetrating the roof, AV defines a new category of wind energy systems that adds value to buildings and demonstrates clean energy at work.
www.provenenergy.co.uk

AVX400 (0.4 kW, building-integrated)

Bergey Windpower Co. Call themselves the largest suppliers in the world of Small size wind turbines. Its 10 kW BWC Excel is
America’s most popular residential & small business wind turbine
www.bergey.com

BWC XL.1 (1 kW),
BWC EXCEL (10 kW)

Distributed Energy Systems For over 30 years, Northern Power has been known for developing industry-leading wind power technology.
(previously known as Northern Power Systems)
www.distributed-energy.com

NPS 100 (100 kW)

Energy Maintenance ServiceBroadwind Energy, headquartered in Naperville, Ill., manufactures, installs and maintains components for energy and infrastructure-related industries with a primary emphasis on the wind energy sector.
www.energyms.com

E15 (35 kW or 65 kW)

Entegrity Wind Systems One of the leading manufacturers of commercial-scale wind turbines with installations world wide.
www.entegritywind.com
EW15 (50 kW)
Gaia-Wind Ltd
www.gaia-wind.com
11kW
Lorax Energy
www.lorax-energy.com
FL 25 (25 kW), FL 30 (30 kW),
FL 100 (100 kW)
Proven Energy, Ltd.
www.provenenergy.co.uk
Proven 600 (0.6kW), Proven 2.5 (2.5kW), Proven 6 (6kW), Proven 15 (15kW)
Solar Wind Works
www.solarwindworks.com
Proven WT600 (600 W), WT2500, (2.5 kW) WT6000 (6kW), WT15000 (15kW)
Southwest Windpower Co.
www.windenergy.com
AIRX (400 W), Whisper 100
(900 W), Whisper 200 (1 kW), Whisper 500 (3 kW),
Skystream 3.7(1.8 KW)
Wind Energy Solutions Canada
www.windenergysolutions.ca
WES 5 Tulipo – (5 Metre Rotor Dia. – 2.5 kW), WES 18 – (18 Metre Rotor Dia. – 80 kW), WES 30 – (30 Metre Rotor Dia. – 250 kW)
Wind Turbine Industries Corp.
www.windturbine.net
23-10 Jacobs (10 kW),
31-20 Jacobs (20 kW)

Source www.awea.org

*Certified or qualified by recognized agencies as meeting established standards and recommended business practices
(see
http://www.powernaturally.com/Programs/Wind/qualified_wind.asp?i=8 and http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/cgi-bin/eligible_smallwind.cgi), and/or determined by AWEA’s Small Wind Turbine Committee as commercially available with multiple publicly accessible

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