The basic way to harness wind or wind energy is to generate electricity with the use of turbines.
Wind energy is that which is obtained through the masses of air in motion, that is, through the wind. Currently, it is one of the most popular in the world, since it constitutes a reliable source of energy (the winds are consistent and do not depend on the time of day, as happens with solar energy ).
In addition, it is a clean and renewable energy, that is, non-polluting. By 2014, more than 90 countries owned wind farms, facilities that generate 3% of the total electricity consumed on planet Earth.
Use of wind energy: turbines
How is electricity generated from the wind in wind farms?Power plants collect wind energy through turbines, which are devices that are responsible for transforming wind energy into electricity.
Typically, these turbines are arranged in large quantities in large fields; This type of installation is known as a wind farm.
Broadly speaking, the process of obtaining wind energy is as follows:
- The mass of moving air flows through the blades of the turbine, causing them to move.
- The movement of the turbines drives a generator that subsequently produces electricity.
Each turbine works independently; however, these are connected to each other thanks to a wiring system, which collects the energy produced by all the turbines and transports it to the electricity network in the area.
TurbinesEach turbine is composed of four fundamental parts: the base, the tower, the generator and the impeller
1- The baseThe base keeps the turbine in place. This must be strong enough to withstand the overall structure of the turbine added to the force of the winds.
2- The towerThe mechanism that is responsible for generating electricity from the wind is in the tower. The impeller and the generator are part of the tower.
3- The generatorThe generator is the center of the turbine and is the part that directly transforms energy into electricity.
4- The impellerThe impeller or the blades are fixed to the rotor. Most wind turbines have three blades, the size of which determines the amount of energy collected: the longer they are, the greater the wind energy collected.
Before installing an impeller, it must be subjected to a series of tests to determine if it will be able to withstand weather conditions and wind force.
Wind speedGenerally, a turbine will not take advantage of winds whose speed is less than 3 km / s; instead, the turbine reaches its greatest potential with winds that have a speed of 12 km / s.
What are turbines safe?Wind turbines have an integrated computer that monitors wind direction and speed. Once these two elements have been determined, the turbine is automatically programmed to run smoothly.
In case the wind speed exceeds the levels that are considered safe, the computer will turn off the turbine to avoid damage.
Use of wind energy throughout historyThe use of wind energy is not a new practice. In fact, it has been used since ancient times, in windmills or wind-powered boats, among others.
The first systems that were developed to obtain this type of energy were the vertical and horizontal axis windmills. Currently, this type of system continues to be used.
Later, in 1888, Charles Brush built the first large-scale generating turbine, which collected and transformed wind energy into electricity.
Currently, due to the search for alternative sources of energy to reduce pollution levels on planet Earth, wind energy has increased its popularity and many countries are implementing the construction of wind farms.
Advantages of wind energy1 - Wind energy is a renewable source, which means that there is no concern that it is over, as with fossil fuels.
2 - This type of energy generates little environmental impact, since it does not emit greenhouse gases, gas or other pollutants. This is why it belongs to the "clean energy" group.
3 - The movement of air masses can be accurately predicted, allowing this source to take full advantage.
4 - Because the turbines are independent of each other, they can be subjected to maintenance processes without shutting down the other turbines of the wind farm.
5 - Although the development of this type of energy requires large areas of land, once a wind farm has been built, the surrounding land can be used for other purposes, such as agriculture or livestock.
6 - The wind energy available in the atmosphere is five times larger than the total energy consumption of planet Earth.
7 - Modern turbines are capable of collecting up to 1 mega watt (MV) of wind energy. If farms are built with 100 or 150 turbines, the amount of energy collected would be staggering.