If you live in a fairly remote region that receives a lot of wind, there’s a good chance that you’ve no doubt seen many a wind turbine dot the landscape. And as you drive past the massive machines, the question may have popped into your mind, “exactly how does a wind turbine work?”
If you’re looking for the answer to that question, you’re in the right place. Read on to learn the basics of how wind turbines work to generate electrical renewably using solely the power of Mother Nature.
The concept behind the operation of a wind turbine is actually extremely simple. The turbine is composed of a few blades (typically three), that are shaped in such a way so as to capture the effect of the wind.
Whenever the wind blows, the turbine rotates along with it due to the shape of the blades. The turbine is connected to a shaft in the inner workings of the machine. As the turbine rotates, the shaft rotates, and it spins within a generator to create electricity.
This electricity charge is then housed and stored and can be sent across electricity lines to power many a household.
There are many ways in which one can maximize the efficiency of a wind turbine. The more efficient a wind turbine is, the fewer turbines are necessary to produce the same amount of electricity, which saves the power plant significant money (and those savings are translated to you as the consumer in the form of cheaper utilities!).
Wind turbine efficiency depends on the region that it’s in. If high wind speeds are normal, then short, thin blades are ideal. This will prevent the blades from breaking off and requiring repair.
If, on the other hand, low wind speeds are the norm for the region, then longer blades with greater surface area are necessary. The addition of surface area means that the air will experience greater drag against each blade, pushing it all the more.
The material that the turbine blades are made out of also has a tremendous effect on the turbine. The lighter the material, the easier it will be for the wind to turn the blade and generate electricity. However, the material also needs to be strong enough so as not to bend or break in the face of harsh winds.
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Considering the fast depletion of the world’s fossil fuels, as well as the negative effects of burning fossil fuels on the Earth’s atmosphere, it’s clear that renewable sources of energy are the future.
Wind turbines are a great source of exactly that kind of energy, harnessing the energy that we so freely experience every day to power our homes in the twenty-first century. Now that you know the answer to the question “How does a wind turbine work?” you can appreciate it all the more!
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