A turbine is a machine that spins around in a moving fluid (liquid or gas) and catches some of the energy passing by. They are used in a variety of machines from jet engines to hydroelectric power plants. A wind turbine is a device that converts kinetic energy from the wind into electrical energy. In the same way that a windmill can harness the power of the wind to grind wheat or pump water, a modern wind turbine uses the wind to provide the energy we need rot run our homes and our businesses.
This description is intended to describe to a non-technical audience the basic process of how wind turbines convert wind into electricity.
To operate, a wind turbine needs rotors (blades), a gearbox, a generator and a tower. It also needs adequate wind. Wind Power Density (WPD) is derived from a combination of wind speed, wind sustainability, turbulence, height above the ground and a number of other factors. Depending on their size, turbines need wind speeds of between 12 and 45 miles per hour in order to generate electricity.
The top part of the turbine rotates on the tower so the blades are facing the wind. a combination of a gearbox and a generator then turn the power of the wind into electricity which is stored in a nearby substation to be used when it is needed.
The major steps explained here are:
1. How the Turbine Captures the Wind
2. How the Turbine Converts the Power of the Wind into Electricity
3. How Electricity is Provided to Homes
Figure 1, Understanding Wind Power from TechieNation.com
How the Turbine Captures the Wind
In order to generate electricity, the turbine must first ensure that it captures enough wind. The top part of the turbine consists of the rotors and nacelle (the main body of the turbine which contains a gearbox and a
generator). Anemometers (wind speed monitors) and wind vanes provide measurements about the speed and direction of the wind. Using these measurements, the entire top part of the turbine can be rotated by a motor so that it faces directly into the wind and captures the maximum amount of energy. If the wind speed is too high, brakes are applied to stop the rotors spinning.
How the Turbine Converts the Power of the Wind into Electricity
Once the wind has been captured by the turbine, the next stage is to convert the kinetic power of the wind into electrical power that can be used by people. As the wind blows towards the turbine, the rotors spin around slowly, capturing the kinetic power of the wind and turning the central drive shaft they are mounted on. The rotor blades can swivel on the hub to ensure that they are facing the wind at the best possible angle.
Inside the nacelle, the gearbox…