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How Wind Energy Works

How Wind Energy Works


Wind is simply moving air that comes from the sunís energy. Itís hard to believe it but such is the truth. Winds are a result of the imbalanced heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the rotation of the earth and irregularities in the earthís surface. 


Wind energy is the kinetic energy found in moving air. The amount of power created is mainly dependent on the windís speed and partly by the airís density. In other words, an increase in wind speed leads to the production of more power and energy. 

The speed of wind is normally influenced by local terrain and gains momentum as height is increased. This explains why wind turbines are placed on tall towers. 

Air is actually a fluid only that its particles are in the form of gas. When air moves, the particles are also moving. The earthís average wind velocity is estimated at nine miles per second. In terms of electricity generation, a wind mill facing the wind with a speed of 10 miles per hour can produce power of around 50 watts. 

How Wind Energy is Created



The process by which wind is produced begins with the sun. When a certain area of land is heated, the air around it absorbs some of the heat. Upon reaching a certain temperature, hot air will begin move up quickly. When this hot lighter air rises, cooler air flows in to fill the gap. This air that rushes in is already wind. 

Wind flow has various purposes such as in sailing, flying a kite and in electricity generation. Although it is growing in popularity and always in existence, wind power accounts for only less than one percent of the worldís power supply. 

In wind-electric turbine, the turbine blades are designed in order to capture the windís kinetic energy. When wind is captured, the blades turn and then spin the shaft that powers the generator to produce electricity. During this process, energy is transferred from one medium to another. Wind turbines convert the windís kinetic energy into mechanical power which is instrumental in performing specific tasks such as pumping water or grinding grain. 

The same is true about sailboats. When moving air pushes on the sail, the result is that the boat moves. This only means that the wind has transferred its own energy to the sailboat. 

Basic Wind Turbines

Wind turbines are classified into two types Ė the horizontal-axis and the vertical-axis. The horizontal type is the one mostly used today. It stands at about the same height as a 20-storey building and has two or three blades measuring about 200 feet across. In fact, the biggest wind machine in the world has blades that are longer than a football field. 

The vertical axis design was the concept of a French inventor names Darrieus. It is patterned after an eggbeater. 


Large-sized turbines are used collectively. They are grouped together into the so-called wind farms that provide a huge amount of power to the electrical grid. The smaller and single turbines that generate power below 100 kilowatts are commonly used in homes, telecommunication dishes and for pumping water. Some are used in diesel generators, batteries and photovoltaic systems. 

Wind energy is also used in the home.  Learn more by reading home wind energy.




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