Guide to Wind Energy
With world oil supplies becoming more costly to tap, the rush to sustainable energy sources is on. Wind power has taken a central place in alternative energy circles due to its relative ease of installation and the worldwide distribution of gusty locales. Many tycoons are ecstatic about this new “translucent gold” and are devising ways to efficiently and economically tap the world’s windiest regions. Nuclear power is often opposed with recollections of Chernobyl and the recent Fukushima Daiichi incident. Geothermal, tidal and hydroelectric energy require specific and naturally scarce situations for implementation. Wind power may just be the future of energy generation.
Environmental advocates and homeowners looking to save a few dollars will find wind power a compelling alternative to their current grid hookups. Energy industry veterans have obvious reasons to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to power. Those with the most to gain are current and aspiring engineers with the aspirations to build a competitive business. This information is designed for all of these people to gain an understanding of wind energy’s history, current development and directions for the future.
The Force of Wind
Both temperature and pressure affect the force of gales in their locales. The science behind the meteorological creation of wind guides businesses to choose specific locations for their wind farms. Aerodynamic considerations are taken into account in the design of wind turbines to maximize their efficiency. These resources will teach you about the physics of gusts and its impact on the wind energy industry.
- What makes wind is an important question in the deployment of wind farms in specific locations. The air current patterns around the world and interaction between land and water temperatures are described as well.
- Suzy’s World has facts about the production, measurement and behavior of breezes. Projects are suggested to document wind trends and determine its direction.
- Wind Loads delves into the technical details of what produces wind and how it is measured in modern science. Many equations help to calculate wind speed in two formats, convert one to the other and measure the impact of obstructions.
- NASA’s guide to aerodynamics is meant to explain the science of flight but is easily applicable to the physics of wind turbines. Features that make an object float effortlessly through the air will improve wind turbines as well as rockets and airplanes.
Humans and Wind in History
While modern technology allows us to generate electricity from wind, humans have utilized this force for millennia. Evidence from Egyptian civilization suggests that early boats and ventilation systems employed wind power. Later windmills were developed as a mechanical means of production which evolved into the modern wind turbine. The relationships that humans have developed with wind over the years are discussed here.
- The history of wind power began with the Egyptian production of papyrus and invention of the sail. Since then it has been used in agriculture, fluid diversion and now power generation.
- The United Kingdom Guardian traces the milestones in the wind turbine technology since they were first used to generate power. Much of the article focuses on British developments, though U.S. history is included.
- New Home Wind Power has a brief history of the changing uses of windmills throughout time. Predictions for the future of wind power and its potential benefits drum up excitement for the industry.
- Wind power history summarizes the many uses humans have devised for wind throughout history. Much of the timeline focuses on the use of wind for electrical power though historical uses for wind as ventilation and pumping mechanics are touched on.
Converting the force of wind into electricity is more complex than simply setting up a windmill. The blades of the turbine must be controlled to maximize output and a generator installed to transform physical input to electrical energy. The technical processes behind wind energy are explained below along with do-it-yourself tutorials to illustrate the different components of a wind turbine.
- The physics behind harnessing the breeze include concepts of force and work, measurements of the power that moves wind turbines. A quiz is included to test your knowledge of the scientific concepts.
- Harvesting the Wind examines the meteorological forces that allow wind turbines to create energy. Diagrams of different types of windmills depict the different ways wind energy can be captured.
- The U.S. Department of Energy has information on the inner workings of wind turbines and their variations. Definitions of common terms used to describe them clarify the scientific jargon.
- Choosing an appropriate site can make or break the profitability of power generation. Through the discussion the parts of a wind turbine are listed and predictions are made on the growth of wind energy.
- Using PVC, wood, pipe fittings and a generator this tutorial shows how to build a functioning wind turbine complete with pictures. A receipt of parts required and safety precautions make this one of the most thorough how-tos around.
- This video demonstrates how to build a wind generator for use in your own home. While the end product may not produce the same power as a commercial model it is an interesting and educational project to try.
While wind power is an ecologically sound way to generate needed energy, it is also a multibillion dollar industry worldwide. From 2008 to 2009 the energy generated by wind turbines increased over 30 percent, interesting investors and entrepreneurs with the sustainable energy trend. Though it may make ecological and political sense to switch to renewable power sources, the true nature of wind energy, its business, is laid out in the articles below.
- Sustainable energy is a source of pride for many companies in the modern era. WindMade has created a label for businesses to display their utilization of wind resources.
- Wind of Change is a detailed article on how wind is created naturally, the factors that make turbines efficient and current research to increase their efficiency. It forecasts continued growth in the wind energy business for the foreseeable future.
- Windustry suggests considerations for any scale of wind energy project. The advantages and disadvantages of business models are presented to help you devise a plan.
- While wind energy may seem a perfect industry for investment it is not without its problems. Many regions of the world lack consistent enough breezes to make installation profitable.
- Green energy has a dark side. It turns out the plastics and polymers used in windmill production have toxic effects for worker health, a factor all business executives should investigate and protect against.
- Wind Power Monthly is an online and subscription magazine offering news and analysis of the energy markets. Sections on technology, law, environment and other issues are also available.
While windmills are by no means a new invention, renewed interest and new applications have spurred research projects to improve their structure. Many laboratories around the world specialize in wind power specifically, seeing it as an exciting frontier relevant to many modern problems. Staying abreast of the wind can be a difficult challenge as change happens frequently, but the information below will help you get started.
- The wind is unpredictable and inconsistent. Current research involves the storage of power produced by wind turbines to increase efficiency.
- Vertical-axis turbines have the advantage of ecological safety and improved versatility. Additionally the absence of blades makes them quieter, easier to set up and less expensive.
- The production of wind turbine blades occurs in factories across the world. They are made up of fiberglass and are much larger than you might expect.
- The recent growth in demand for wind power has increased the business of composite manufacturers around the world. They are faced with considerations of quick and streamlined production coupled with pressures to employ more efficient materials in construction.
- The National Renewable Energy Laboratory is dedicated to fostering a competitive environment for sustainable energy sources in the United States. They conduct research and development to improve the safety, viability, efficiency and cost of wind turbines.
- The University of Massachusetts Wind Energy Center performs essential studies on the physics of wind turbines. This includes control devices, dynamic concerns and systems to increase productivity.
- The World Wind Energy Association details the science of wind capture throughout history. It then details the physical and electrical concerns associated with windmill construction and how to apply them to an energy project.
- Wind Energy in Federal Applications highlights government wind facilities around the United States known for their cost effectiveness. The specifications of the different installations are detailed to show the most effective types of turbines.