Learn Exactly How Wind Power Works For The Home Alternative Energy

One of the best sorts of renewable energy – it is environmentally friendly, clean, and never-ending! In a way, wind energy is the result of solar energy – our planet’s wind starts as the result of the sun heating our planet’s surface unevenly, causing wind the rise and fall at different rates in different parts of the world, and the air begins to move about according to physical law, producing what we experience as blowing wind. Wind generators stand in the wind and this causes them to turn, to spin, and to make energy. And with your own wind turbine you can take benefit of this free energy to produce your own electrical energy rather than paying the power company to get it done for you — and their energy is usually produced from non-renewable, non-environmentally friendly sources.

But before you begin to use a wind turbine, you might want to understand specifically how wind energy works. The most straightforward way is to imagine a fan going backwards in time: instead of electricity interacting with magnets to turn the fan blades and hence generate wind, the blowing wind turns the fan blades and this interacts with magnets to produce electrical energy. Put simply:

* wind blows on the rotor blades of the fan
* the fan rotor blades are angled and hence start to turn
* the axle holding the rotor blades spins
* the generator at the other end of the axle produces electrical energy

There is usually a gearing system to increase the motion, thereby creating even more electrical energy. There is also usually an automatic stopping system to prevent possible damage to the whole assembly if the wind speeds gets too high. Domestic wind turbines usually come in two varieties: (1) Turbines with a vertical axis (2) Turbines with a horizontal axis It is the second type that is usually favored today, and upon which the US Department of Energy is focusing much of its research recently. These usually have two or three rotor blades (those with two blades generally faces away from the wind, and those with three blades usually face into the wind).

You might have observed large three-bladed wind turbines around the countryside, clustered together in what are known as wind farms, and they can produce a lot of electrical energy — the larger the rotor blades, the more electrical energy, in general. Domestic wind turbines are much smaller, and can produce typically 50 kilowatts for home use.

In remote rural places wind turbines can also be used to pump water out of the ground, and such places will often produce electrical energy using a combination of solar panel systems and wind turbines. They make use of batteries to collect excess electrical energy they have produced, and in some cases they can even sell additional excess electrical energy back to the energy company!

However in an urban setting a wind turbine will be used as a supply of energy to supplement the normal grid supply of electricity from the power company. The reason for this is that there is always the opportunity that there is not enough wind energy to generate electrical energy — if the blowing wind is much below 8 miles per hour then most wind turbines will not generate energy, and the grid will provide the electrical energy requirements. As the blowing wind speed increases and the wind turbine produces more electrical energy, the amount taken from the grid gradually reduces.

A general rule of thumb is that the average blowing wind speed ought to be about 11 miles per hour; if it is lower than that the tower supporting the generator will have to be taller to trap the higher-speed winds at higher altitudes — but there are diminishing returns there and if your blowing wind speed is often too low then it may not be worth setting up wind turbines.

Taking into consideration not only the cost savings from not using grid energy, plus the occasional opportunity to sell energy back to the energy company, wind turbines can help to eliminate a home’s power costs by an amount in the region of 50% to 90%, although there are lots of factors affecting this. If your home uses 10,000 kWh (kilowatt-hours) of electrical energy each year, a small generator of rating between five and fifteen kilowatts must be sufficient to your requirements. There will obviously be initial costs associated with setting up a wind turbine, but these will quickly be recouped — and you will save more money by building one yourself – instruction manuals and videos are available for a low price over the internet.

Now that you have some understanding of exactly how wind energy works, you must think seriously about setting up a wind turbine for your home – not only will you be saving money, you will also be saving our planet – and all because of a little breeze!

Posted under Solar Water Heaters

This post was written by editor on July 12, 2011

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