Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wind Turbines

Wind turbines are devices that transform wind energy into mechanical energy to generate electricity. Wind turbines can have one blade or multi-blades depending on their area of application.

There are two types of wind turbines; the vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT) and the horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT). Today, most of the wind turbines use a horizontal axis with two or three blades due to their high tip speed and efficiency which contribute to good reliability.

There are two types of applications for wind turbines. Either stand-alone, or synchronized and connected  to the utility power grid. Also, wind turbines can be integrated with a photovoltaic (solar cell) system, batteries, and diesel generators and in such case they are known as hybrid systems.

Water pumping wind turbines are examples of a stand-alone application that doesn’t produce electricity and use multi-blades similar to the ones used in the old west. These days a large number of electricity generating wind turbines are being erected in close vicinity to each other in designated areas known as wind farms to harvest the wind energy and feed the utility power grid. However, in windy areas far away from the utility power grid, homeowners and farmers are utilizing wind turbines to generate electricity.

There are several factors that can be used to predict electrical power output that can be generated from a  wind turbine. These factors can be extracted from manufacturer’s data sheets and power curve. The most important of these factors include:
Based on these factors that can be extracted from the manufacturer’s data sheet  contribute to the wind turbine capacity factor.

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