How Does a Wind Turbine Generate Electricity?

Humans have understood that energy can be used and reused. They use wind flow and convert it into electricity. This motion energy is applicable for many purposes, such as flying kites, sailing, and even generating electricity.

A wind turbine allows you to generate electricity using the airflow that is naturally available in the earth’s atmosphere. Modern wind turbines can capture kinetic energy from the wind and produce electricity.

However, the problem with wind energy is that it doesn’t have electricity production consistency. Since weather conditions and speed of the wind are variable, it does not maintain 100% production. In general, the terms ‘wind energy’ describes the process by which the harnessed wind produces mechanical energy or electricity. This mechanical power can then serve various purposes.

What is Wind Turbine?

The concept of harnessing wind power to generate mechanical energy goes back for millennia. In the early days, people relied on windmills to grind grain, pump water, and cut wood at sawmills. Today’s wind turbines are the windmill’s modern equivalent that converts the kinetic energy in the wind into eco-friendly and clean renewable electricity.

How Does a Wind Turbine Generate Electricity?

A wind turbine turns wind power into electricity with the help of aerodynamic force from the rotor blades. The rotor blades work like the blades of a helicopter or an airplane wing. When air flows across the blade, the air pressure decreases on one side of the blade.

The variation of air pressure across the two sides of the blade creates both lift and drag.  The combination of drag and lift causes the rotor blade to spin like a propeller. The power of the lift is stronger than the drag, and this causes the rotor to rotate.

The rotor connects to the generator, either directly or through a shaft, and a series of gearboxes speed up the rotation and allow for a physically smaller generator. This movement of aerodynamic force to rotate the rotor of a generator produces electricity.

A series of gears increase the rotation of the rotor from about 18 revolutions a minute to approximately 1,800 revolutions per minute. The speed is enough to allow the turbine’s generator to produce alternating current. Find out how much energy does a wind turbine produce here.

Key Parts of a Wind Turbine

Wind turbines are installed on a tower to capture energy from the airflow. The higher the blades are, the more advantage it can take of the faster and less turbulent winds. The wind-energy turbine consists of three major parts:

Rotor Blades

The blades are the canvas of the system; simply put, they act as barriers to the wind. However, the modern rotor blade can go beyond the barrier method. When the wind forces the blades to move, it will transfer some of its energy to the rotor. Most turbines come with two or three blades.

Shaft

The shaft is connected to the center of the wind-turbine rotor. When the rotor spins, then the shaft also turns with its flow. In such a manner, the rotor transfers its mechanical, rotational energy to the shaft, which enters an electrical generator on the other end. A high-speed shaft drives the generator, whereas the low-speed shaft turns it at about 30-60 rpm.

Generator

A generator is a pretty simple and vital device in a wind turbine. The generator uses the properties of electromagnetic induction to produce electrical voltage. Voltage is essential for electrical pressure, and it helps to move the electrical current from one point to another continuously. Therefore, generating voltage is, in effect, generating current flow. A simple generator comprises magnets and a conductor, in which the conductor is a coiled wire.

In the generator, the shaft connects to an assembly of permanent magnets that surrounds the coil of wire. When the rotor turns the shaft, the shaft spins the assembly of magnets, generating voltage in the wire.

The voltage then drives electrical current out through power lines for distribution. On average, a generator produces 60-cycle alternating current electricity. It is generally an off-the-shelf induction generator.

Conclusion

Wind energy is a clean fuel source and a domestic source of energy. It is one of the low-cost renewable energy technologies developed today. The wind turbines come with three blades mounted to a tubular steel shaft. Similarly, the wind moves the blades around a rotor, which spins and creates electricity.