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Wind is a form of solar energy and is a result of the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the irregularities

of the earth's surface, and the rotation of the earth. Wind flow patterns and speeds vary greatly across the United States and are modified by bodies of water, vegetation, and differences in terrain. Humans use this wind flow, or motion energy, for many purposes: sailing, flying a kite, and even generating electricity. The terms wind energy or wind power describe the process by which the wind is used to generate mechanical power or electricity. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power. This mechanical power can be used for specific tasks (such as grinding grain or pumping water) or a generator can convert this mechanical power into electricity. So how do wind turbines make electricity? Simply stated, a wind turbine works the opposite of a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines use wind to make electricity. The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft, which connects to a generator and makes electricity. View the wind turbine animation to see how a wind turbine works or take a look inside.

Types of Wind Turbines


Modern wind turbines fall into two basic groups: the horizontal-axis variety, as shown in the photo to the left, and the vertical-axis design, like the eggbeater-style Darrieus model pictured to the right, named after its French inventor. Horizontal-axis wind turbines typically either have two or three blades. These threebladed wind turbines are operated "upwind," with the blades facing into the wind.

Sizes of Wind Turbines


Wind turbines can be built on land or offshore in large bodies of water like oceans and lakes. Though the United States does not currently have any offshore wind turbines, the Department of Energy is funding efforts that will make this technology available in U.S. waters. Utility-scale turbines range in size from 100 kilowatts to as large as several megawatts. Larger wind turbines are more cost effective and are grouped together into wind farms, which provide bulk power to the electrical grid.

A wind turbine is a device that converts kinetic energy from the wind, also called wind energy, into mechanical energy; a process known as wind power. If the mechanical energy is used to produce electricity, the device may be called wind turbine or wind power plant. If the mechanical energy is used to drive machinery, such as for grinding grain or pumping water, the device is called a windmill orwind pump. Similarly, it may be called wind charger when it is used to charge batteries. The result of over a millennium of windmill development and modern engineering, today's wind turbines are manufactured in a wide range of vertical and horizontal axis types. The smallest turbines are used for applications such as battery charging or auxiliary power on boats; while large grid-connected arrays of turbines are becoming an increasingly important source of wind power-produced commercial electricity.

Theoretical power captured by a wind turbine


Total wind power could be captured only if the wind velocity is reduced to zero. In a realistic wind turbine this is impossible, as the captured air must also leave the turbine. A relation between the input and output wind velocity must be considered. Using the concept of stream tube, the maximal achievable extraction of [13] wind power by a wind turbine is 59% of the total theoretical wind power

TYPES Horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWT) have the main rotor shaft and electrical generator at the top of a tower, and must be pointed into the wind. Small turbines are pointed by a simple wind vane, while large turbines generally use a wind sensor coupled with a servo motor. Most have a gearbox, which turns the [15] slow rotation of the blades into a quicker rotation that is more suitable to drive an electrical generator. Since a tower produces turbulence behind it, the turbine is usually positioned upwind of its supporting tower. Turbine blades are made stiff to prevent the blades from being pushed into the tower by high winds. Additionally, the blades are placed a considerable distance in front of the tower and are sometimes tilted forward into the wind a small amount. Downwind machines have been built, despite the problem of turbulence (mast wake), because they don't need an additional mechanism for keeping them in line with the wind, and because in high winds the blades can be allowed to bend which reduces their swept area and thus their wind resistance. Since cyclical (that is repetitive) turbulence may lead to fatigue failures, most HAWTs are of upwind design. Turbines used in wind farms for commercial production of electric power are usually three-bladed and pointed into the wind by computer-controlled motors. These have high tip speeds of over 320 km/h (200 mph), high efficiency, and low torque ripple, which contribute to good reliability. The blades are usually colored white for daytime visibility by aircraft and range in length from 20 to 40 metres (66 to 130 ft) or more. The tubular steel towers range from 60 to 90 metres (200 to 300 ft) tall. The blades rotate at 10 to 22 revolutions per minute. At 22 rotations per minute the tip speed exceeds 90 metres per second [16][17] (300 ft/s). A gear box is commonly used for stepping up the speed of the generator, although designs may also use direct drive of an annular generator. Some models operate at constant speed, but more energy can be collected by variable-speed turbines which use a solid-state power converter to interface to the transmission system. All turbines are equipped with protective features to avoid damage at high wind speeds, by feathering the blades into the wind which ceases their rotation, supplemented by brakes. Vertical-axis wind turbines (or VAWTs) have the main rotor shaft arranged vertically. Key advantages of this arrangement are that the turbine does not need to be pointed into the wind to be effective. This is an advantage on sites where the wind direction is highly variable, for example when integrated into buildings. The key disadvantages include the low rotational speed with the consequential higher torqueand hence higher cost of the drive train, the inherently lower power coefficient, the 360 degree rotation of the aerofoil within the wind flow during each cycle and hence the highly dynamic loading on the blade, the pulsating torque generated by some rotor designs on the drive train, and the difficulty of modelling the wind flow accurately and hence the challenges of analysing and designing the rotor prior to fabricating a [18] prototype.

With a vertical axis, the generator and gearbox can be placed near the ground, using a direct drive from the rotor assembly to the ground-based gearbox, hence improving accessibility for maintenance. When a turbine is mounted on a rooftop, the building generally redirects wind over the roof and this can double the wind speed at the turbine. If the height of the rooftop mounted turbine tower is approximately 50% of the building height, this is near the optimum for maximum wind energy and minimum wind turbulence. It should be borne in mind that wind speeds within the built environment are generally much [19][20] lower than at exposed rural sites, noise may be a concern and an existing house may not adequately resist the additional stress. Another type of vertical axis is the Parallel turbine similar to the crossflow fan or centrifugal fan it uses the ground effect. Vertical axis turbines of this type have been tried for many years: a large unit producing [21] up to 10 kW was built by Israeli wind pioneer Bruce Brill in 1980s: the device is mentioned in Dr. Moshe Dan Hirsch's 1990 report, which decided the Israeli energy department investments and support in the [citation needed] next 20 years. The Magenn WindKite blimp uses this configuration as well, chosen because of [22] the ease of running. Subtypes of the vertical axis design include: Darrieus wind turbine "Eggbeater" turbines, or Darrieus turbines, were named after the French inventor, Georges Darrieus.
[23]

They have good efficiency, but produce large torque ripple and cyclical stress on the

tower, which contributes to poor reliability. They also generally require some external power source, or an additional Savonius rotor to start turning, because the starting torque is very low. The torque ripple is reduced by using three or more blades which results in greater solidity of the rotor. Solidity is measured by blade area divided by the rotor area. Newer Darrieus type turbines are not held up by guy-wires but have an external superstructure connected to the top bearing. Giromill A subtype of Darrieus turbine with straight, as opposed to curved, blades. The cycloturbine variety has variable pitch to reduce the torque pulsation and is self-starting.
[25] [24]

The advantages of

variable pitch are: high starting torque; a wide, relatively flat torque curve; a higher coefficient of performance; more efficient operation in turbulent winds; and a lower blade speed ratio which lowers blade bending stresses. Straight, V, or curved blades may be used. Savonius wind turbine These are drag-type devices with two (or more) scoops that are used in anemometers, Flettner vents (commonly seen on bus and van roofs), and in some high-reliability low-efficiency power turbines. They are always self-starting if there are at least three scoops. Twisted Savonius Twisted Savonius is a modified savonius, with long helical scoops to provide smooth torque. This is often used as a rooftop windturbine and has even been adapted for ships.
[27] [26]

Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using: wind turbines to make electrical power,windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships. A large wind farm may consist of several hundred individual wind turbines which are connected to the electric power transmissionnetwork. Offshore wind farms can harness more frequent and powerful winds than are available to land-based installations and have less visual impact on the landscape but construction costs are considerably higher. Small onshore wind facilities are used to provide electricity to isolated locations and utility companies increasingly buy surplus electricity produced by small domestic [1] wind turbines. Wind power, as an alternative to fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, produces [2] no greenhouse gas emissions during operation and uses little land. Any effects on the environment are generally less problematic than those from other power sources. As of 2011, Denmark is generating more than a quarter of its electricity, and 83 countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial [3] basis. In 2010 wind energy production was over 2.5% of total worldwide electricity usage, and growing rapidly at more than 25% per annum. The monetary cost per unit of energy produced is similar to the cost [4] for new coal and natural gas installations. Although wind power is a popular form of energy generation, [5][6][7][8][9][10][11] the construction of wind farms is not universally welcomed due to aesthetics. Wind power is very consistent from year to year but has significant variation over shorter time scales. The intermittency of wind seldom creates problems when used to supply up to 20% of total electricity demand, but as the proportion increases, a need to upgrade the grid, and a lowered ability to supplant conventional production can occur. Power management techniques such as having excess capacity storage, dispatchable backing supplies (usually natural gas), storage such as pumped-storage hydroelectricity, exporting and importing power to neighboring areas or reducing demand when wind [12][13][14] production is low, can greatly mitigate these problems. Since wind speed is not constant, a wind farm's annual energy production is never as much as the sum of the generator nameplate ratings multiplied by the total hours in a year. The ratio of actual productivity in a year to this theoretical maximum is called the capacity factor. Typical capacity factors are 2040%, with [62][nb 1] values at the upper end of the range in particularly favourable sites. Online data is available for [63][64] some locations and the capacity factor can be calculated from the yearly output. Unlike fueled generating plants the capacity factor is affected by several parameters, including the variability of the wind at the site but also the generator size. A small generator would be cheaper and achieve a higher capacity factor but would produce less electricity (and thus less profit) in high [65] winds. Conversely, a large generator would cost more but generate little extra power and, depending on the type, may stall out at low wind speed. Thus an optimum capacity factor would be aimed for, which is usually around 2035%. In a 2008 study released by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the capacity factor achieved by the U.S. wind turbine fleet is shown to be increasing as the technology improves. The capacity factor achieved by new wind turbines in 2004 and 2005 reached [66] 36%.

[edit]Penetration Wind energy penetration refers to the fraction of energy produced by wind compared with the total available generation capacity. There is no generally accepted maximum level of wind penetration. The limit for a particular grid will depend on the existing generating plants, pricing mechanisms, capacity for storage or demand management and other factors. An interconnected electricity grid will already include reserve generating and transmission capacity to allow for equipment failures. This reserve capacity can also serve to compensate for the varying power generation produced by wind plants. Studies have indicated that 20% of the total annual electrical energy consumption may be incorporated with minimal [67] difficulty. These studies have been for locations with geographically dispersed wind farms, some degree of dispatchable energy or hydropower with storage capacity, demand management, and interconnected to a large grid area enabling the export of electricity when needed. Beyond the 20% level, there are few technical limits, but the economic implications become more significant. Electrical utilities continue to study the effects of large scale penetration of wind generation on system stability and [68][69][70][71] economics. A wind energy penetration figure can be specified for different durations of time. On an annual basis, as of 2011, few grid systems have penetration levels above five percent: Denmark 26%, Portugal 17%, [72] Spain 15%, Ireland 14%, and Germany 9%. For the U.S. in 2011, the penetration level was [72] estimated at 2.9%. To obtain 100% from wind annually requires substantial long term storage. On a monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly basisor lesswind can supply as much as or more than 100% of current use, with the rest stored or exported. Seasonal industry can take advantage of high wind and low usage times such as at night when wind output can exceed normal demand. Such industry can include production of silicon, aluminum, steel, or of natural gas, and hydrogen, which allow long term storage, [73][74] facilitating 100% energy from variable renewable energy. Homes can also be programmed to accept extra electricity on demand, for example by remotely turning up water heater thermostats (mixer valves [75][76] prevent anyone from being scalded). Small-scale wind power is the name given to wind generation systems with the capacity to produce up to [161] 50 kW of electrical power. Isolated communities, that may otherwise rely on diesel generators, may use wind turbines as an alternative. Individuals may purchase these systems to reduce or eliminate their dependence on grid electricity for economic reasons, or to reduce their carbon footprint. Wind turbines have been used for household electricity generation in conjunction with battery storage over many [25] decades in remote areas. Grid-connected domestic wind turbines may use grid energy storage, thus replacing purchased electricity with locally produced power when available. The surplus power produced by domestic microgenerators can, in some jurisdictions, be fed into the network and sold to the utility company, producing a retail credit [162][163] for the microgenerators' owners to offset their energy costs. Off-grid system users can either adapt to intermittent power or use batteries, photovoltaic or diesel systems to supplement the wind turbine. Equipment such as parking meters, traffic warning signs, street lighting, or wireless Internet gateways may be powered by a small wind turbine, possibly combined with a photovoltaic system, that charges a small battery replacing the need for a connection to the power [164] grid. In locations near or around a group of high-rise buildings, wind shear generates areas of intense [165] turbulence, especially at street-level. The risks associated with mechanical or catastrophic failure have

thus plagued urban wind development in densely populated areas, rendering the costs of insuring urban [166] wind systems prohibitive. Moreover, quantifying the amount of wind in urban areas has been difficult, [167] as little is known about the actual wind resources of towns and cities. A Carbon Trust study into the potential of small-scale wind energy in the UK, published in 2010, found that small wind turbines could provide up to 1.5 terawatt hours (TWh) per year of electricity (0.4% of total UK electricity consumption), saving 0.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (Mt CO 2) emission savings. This is based on the assumption that 10% of households would install turbines at costs competitive with grid [168] electricity, around 12 pence (US 19 cents) a kWh. A report prepared for the UK's governmentsponsored Energy Saving Trust in 2006, found that home power generators of various kinds could [169] provide 30 to 40 percent of the country's electricity needs by 2050. Distributed generation from renewable resources is increasing as a consequence of the increased awareness of climate change. The electronic interfaces required to connect renewable generation units with the utility system can include additional functions, such as the active filtering to enhance the power [170] quality.