How does a Wind Turbine work?

Wind turbines- how it all started?

Wind turbine originated at the end of the 19th century as a device to generate electricity. However, it is the 21st century that has taken wind turbines to heights of popularity. The reasons for this, of course, were evident- issues such as depletion of fossil fuels, global warming and the global concerns regarding energy security have led to the popularity of wind turbines with wind inverter. Today, they are one of the prime sources of renewable energy across the world.

In Europe alone, wind energy is responsible for 8% of the Eu’s electricity consumption which clearly indicates the growing popularity of wind turbines.

The mechanism behind wind turbines

If we put it simply, wind turbines work in an exact opposite way to how electric fans operate. While a fan uses electricity to give wind, a wind turbine uses wind to generate electricity.

The following is the step-by-step process of how a wind turbine works:

The blades of the turbine move with the help of wind.
These moving blades turn a shaft placed inside a box at the top of the turbine.
The shaft enters the gear box and increases the speed of rotation.
With the help of the generator, rotational energy gets converted into electrical energy.
The transformer helps in converting the electricity from nearly 700 Volts (V) to 33,000V (the estimated voltage appropriate for distribution).
The power thus generated is transmitted by a central grid.

Let us know a wind turbine better

The following are some of the parts of a wind turbine:

Tower

These are cylindrical columns made of steel ranging from a height of 25 to 75 metres.

Gear Box

Responsible for increasing the rotational speed, the gear box is located at the top of the wind turbines. However, nowadays, the direct drive generators are on the rise.

Rotor blades

Wind turbines can have anything from one to three rotor blades which range from 30 and 80 metres in diameter. Longer blades cause better energy output. Pitch angle can be changed and power output can be modified by rotating the blades.

The Yaw System

The yaw mechanism directs the wind turbine rotor towards the wind.

Wind speed and direction monitor

Sensors help to monitor wind direction. Power is auto-controlled with the varying wind speed since very high wind speed may damage the machines.

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