The kinetic energy of air in motion is called wind energy
Wind energy is a free, renewable resource, so no matter how much is used today, there will still be the same supply in the future. Wind energy is also a source of clean, non-polluting, electricity. Unlike conventional power plants, wind plants emit no air pollutants or greenhouse gases.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, in 1990, California’s wind power plants offset the emission of more than 2.5 billion pounds of carbon dioxide, and 15 million pounds of other pollutants that would have otherwise been produced. It would take a forest of 90 million to 175 million trees to provide the same air quality.
Generation of wind energy
- Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power.
- This mechanical power can be used by a generator which can convert this mechanical power into electricity to power homes, businesses, schools, and the like.
- Wind farms are built in geographical areas that are conducive to consistent prevailing winds.
- For utility-sized applications, many wind turbines are built in close proximity to one another to form a “wind farm.”
Generation of wind energy
- On these wind farms, giant wind turbines harness the kinetic energy in wind to create electric energy.
- When the force of the wind pushes against the turbines’ blades, they rotate to create mechanical energy.
- The spinning blades, attached to a hub and a low-speed shaft, turn along with the blades. The rotating low-speed shaft is connected to a gearbox that connects to a high-speed shaft on the opposite side of the gearbox.
- This high-speed shaft connects to an electrical generator that converts the mechanical energy from the rotation of the blades into electric energy.
- Spinning between 11 and 20 times per minute, each turbine can generate a maximum 1.5 megawatts of electric energy.
- To generate electric energy from the kinetic power of the wind, wind turbines are used.
- Two kinds of wind turbines are available. They are
- Horizontal axis wind turbines
- Vertical axis wind turbines
- Wind turbines normally has the following componenets,
- Blade or rotor, which converts the energy in the wind to rotational shaft energy.
- A drive train, usually including a gearbox and a generator.
- A tower that supports the rotor and drive train.
- Other equipment, including controls, electrical cables, ground support equipment, and interconnection equipment.
Advantages of wind energy
- Wind is available at free of cost.
- Wind energy does not cause any green house gases.
- Remote areas that are not connected to the electricity power grid can use wind turbines to produce their own supply.
- Wind energy is an renewable energy.
- Newer technologies are making the extraction of wind energy much more efficient.
Disadvantages of wind energy
- The energy produced from the wind is unreliable.
- Multiple wind turbines are required to meet industrial & commercial needs.
- The construction of wind turbines are very expensive.
- Wind energy can cause noise pollution, as a small jet engine in wind will produces noise.
Other types of Atomic Energy