Wind Turbines Wind Turbines are becoming more and more popular as the idea of “green energy” expands Matt McCombs.
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Wind Turbines Wind Turbines are becoming more and more popular as the idea of “green energy” expands Matt McCombs
History The first wind turbines were created in 500 A.D. by the Persians. The Persians used the idea of wind power for everyday work such as grain grinding and water pumping cutting down on manual labor. The Chinese are believed to have created the first turbines, but there was no proof documenting the invention until 1215 A.D. The picture to the left is a recreation of a 19 th century wind turbine.
Wind mills in the western world The first turbines to be made in Europe had a horizontal-axis configuration instead of the vertical axis that had been created by the Persians. In 1270 A.D. the first four bladed wind mill was created and used the same technological ideas that are used today. In the 19 th century, Americans were able to create the most effective water pumping wind mill during the time, pictured below. Between 1850 and 1970 more than six million wind mills, 1 horsepower or less were built in the United States. It wasn’t until the late 19 th century the first wind turbine was built to help create electricity.
20 th Century technology The first use of a large windmill to create electricity was created in Cleveland, Ohio in 1888 by Charles Brush. The Brush windmill was effective for 20 years was able to create 12 kilowatts. However in 1891 Dane Poul La Core created the first electrical output wind machine and because of the speed was far more practical for electrical generation. By the end of world war one, these mills had spread all through Europe, but the use of fossil fuels soon put the mills out of business. The idea of airplane propellers were created using the same technology as the machines created by La Core. It was in Russia, in 1931 that the idea of “bulk-energy” was first introduced with the 100kW Balaclava wind generator was created
European Developement After world war two, fossil fuels were of major shortage in Europe and lead to the expansion of wind power. The Gedser mill was extremely famous and operated successfully until 1960 in Denmark operating at 200kW. To the left is a picture of the mill created by Gedser
Government Involvement Facing an oil crisis, the United States government starting getting involved by helping fund the building of wind turbines. In the 1980’s NASA began to get involved in building wind turbines creating the first “real” NASA turbine which had a 100 ft diameter. The machine however had many flaws. It was far to big and made to much of a technological leap from the previously built turbines. From 1973-1986, Americans started the development of wind farms. In these wind farms many turbines would be placed within the same are to try to maximize the energy output.
Where is it going In 1999 wind power once again became a major topic in the United States as a result of the idea of green power. A variety of new wind power ideas were being put into place in the late 90’s, where major wind farms were being instituted through Texas and California In 1999 the cost of electricity had dropped significantly due to wind power.
21 st Century Wind power has the potential to supply more than one and a half times the current electricity consumption of the United States. One wind turbine has the potential to power 600-800 residential homes with renewable energy. Although a single middle sized turbine is approximately 90,000 dollars the pay off in the long run makes the machine well worth it Although turbines do not require a lot of land, their placements are still being focused in the west and many farmers are considering turbines their new “cash crop” Also when placing a turbine, the wind must almost constantly be blowing about 11 mph hour annually.
Residential Turbines Many people who are big supporters of green energy are now trying to build turbines within their own yards. Residential turbines are legal and although expensive, has a payoff of two or three times greater. Wind turbines however because they are so large do have many restrictions though. There are many codes and laws people must abide with when building them. Wind power is also far more effective than that of energy harnessed from solar panels. Wind Turbines harness a far larger percentage of energy than that created from solar panels.
Floating Wind Turbines The newest ideas in green energy are floating turbines. Floating turbines are very effective, being able to capture wind from the ocean and convert it to energy. The water levels must be 15 meters or less to be effective but the turbines are placed into the ocean and convert wind to energy just as a land locked wind turbine. As of now, there are 400 off shore wind turbines in place and are having a large effect.
On the Water Water wind turbines are more expensive than regular turbines because of their size. The ocean turbines are 90 feet tall and the turbine itself has a diameter of 140 meters. The turbines are assembled on shore and towed out to sea by tug boat making the installation some what easier. Due to wind on the ocean, the turbines are almost twice as effective as those that are on land.
How it will end As reusable energy continues to grow, no end is in sight for wind turbines. Wind farms continue to grow world wide and help in the fight to end fossil fuels in the United States and world wide.