Wind Turbine | Definition, Working, Parts, Types, Advantages & Limitations

By | October 4, 2018

What is a wind turbine?

To understand a wind turbine, first we have to understand what a turbine is.

A turbine is a machine that converts power of a moving fluid into electrical energy

After understanding what a turbine is, we can now move on to our discussion on wind turbines.

Definition of wind turbine

A wind turbine is an electro-mechanical device that converts power of moving air into the electric power.

Working of a wind turbine

A wind turbine consists movable blades. These blades move when air strikes to them. These blades are mounted on a rotor. The rotor moves when the blades move due to air speed. An electrical alternator is mounted on this rotor shaft. The electrical alternator converts the rotary movement of the rotor shaft into the electrical energy.

This electrical energy is further transferred to a power grid and from the power grid the electrical energy gets transmitted to the consumer.

You can further understand the working of the wind turbine with the help of this illustrative video.

Parts of a wind turbine

A typical wind turbine consists of following parts. Each of these parts have their own importance.

  • Anemometer
  • Blades
  • Brake
  • Controller
  • Gear box
  • Generator
  • High-speed shaft
  • Low-speed shaft
  • Nacelle
  • Pitch
  • Rotor
  • Tower
  • Wind vane
  • Yaw drive
  • Yaw motor

Types of wind turbines

There are basically two types of turbines on the basis of the axis of rotation of the main shaft.

  1. Vertical axis wind turbine

Vertical_axis_wind_turbine

  1. Horizontal axis wind turbines

Horizontal axis wind turbines

Advantages of wind turbines

There are several advantages of wind turbines, some of them are.

  • It is a clean source of energy
  • It works on renewable energy
  • It is among the lowest cost power generating technique from renewable energy
  • Can be built on existing farms
  • Contributes to the income of farmers because the wind turbine owners pay rent to the farmers on whose land the wind turbines are installed

Disadvantages or limitations of wind turbines

There are a few disadvantages of wind turbines and they are

  • Higher initial investment
  • A suitable site is required where wind speed is good throughout the year
  • Suitable place for wind farms are usually remote because they have good wind speed availability
  • Wind farms are generally located on remote areas, so power transmission cost can be high
  • Wind turbines can cause noise and aesthetic pollution
  • Wind turbine can create danger to local wildlife. Birds can be killed by the rotor.

Image sources:

Vertical axis wind turbine: Attribution: By Aeolus88 – Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12198731

Horizontal axis wind turbine: Attribution: By Tom Corser – Own work, CC BY-SA 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=434888

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