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Topic: Wind Turbine CONTENTS:
Submit to: Ms. HISTORY
Kulwinder Kaur
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HISTORY: electricity, the most versatile form of
energy, by using a generator.
The first large-scale wind turbine built in the
A wind turbine is a rotary device that
United States was conceived by Palmer
extracts from the wind if the mechanical
Cosslett Putnam in 1934. He completed it in
energy is used directly by machinery, such
1941. The machine was huge. The tower
as for pumping water, cutting lumber or
was 36.6 yards (33.5 meters) high, and its
grinding stones, the machine is called
two stainless steel blades had diameters of
a windmill. If the mechanical energy is
58 yards (53 meters). Putnam's wind turbine
instead converted to electricity, the machine
could produce 1,250 kilowatts of electricity, is called a wind generator, wind
or enough to meet the needs of a small town. turbine, wind turbine generator
It was however abandoned in 1945 because (WTG), wind power unit (WPU), wind
of mechanical failure. energy converter (WEC) or aerogenerator.

With the 1970s oil embargo, the United RAW MATERIALS:

States began once more to consider the
A wind turbine consists of three basic parts:
the tower, the nacelle, and the rotor blades.
The tower is either a steel lattice tower
similar to electrical towers or a steel tubular
tower with an inside ladder to the nacelle.
feasibility of producing cheap electricity
from wind turbines. In 1975 the prototype
Mod-O was in operation. This was a 100
kilowatt turbine with two 21-yard (19-
meter) blades. More prototypes followed
(Mod-OA, Mod-1, Mod-2, etc.), each larger
and more powerful than the one before.
Currently, the United States Department of
Energy is aiming to go beyond 3,200
kilowatts per machine.

The first step in constructing a wind turbine

is erecting the tower. Although the tower's
WIND TURBINE: steel parts are manufactured off site in a
factory, they are usually assembled on site.
A wind turbine is a machine that converts
The parts are bolted together before
the wind's kinetic energy into rotary
mechanical energy, which is then used to do erection, and the tower is kept horizontal
work. In more advanced models, the until placement. A crane lifts the tower into
rotational energy is converted into position, all bolts are tightened, and stability
is tested upon completion. blades are solid, but most blades consist of a
Next, the fiberglass nacelle is installed. Its skin surrounding a core that is either hollow
inner workings—main drive shaft, gearbox, or filled with a lightweight substance such
and blade pitch and yaw controls—are as plastic foam or honeycomb, or balsa
assembled and mounted onto a base frame at wood. A typical fiberglass blade is about 15
a factory. The nacelle is then bolted around meters in length and weighs approximately
the equipment. At the site, the nacelle is 2,500 pounds.
lifted onto the completed tower and bolted
Most towers do not have guys, which are
cables used for support, and most are made Before consideration can be given to the construction
of steel that has been coated with a zinc of individual wind turbines, manufacturers must
alloy for protection, though some are determine a proper area for the siting of
painted instead. The tower of a typical wind farms. Winds must be consistent, and
American-made turbine is approximately 80 their speed must be regularly over 15.5
feet tall and weighs about 19,000 pounds. miles per hour (25 kilometers per hour). If
the winds are stronger during certain
The nacelle is a strong, hollow shell that
seasons, it is preferred that they be greatest
contains the inner workings of the wind
during periods of maximum electricity use.
turbine. Usually made of fiberglass, the
In California's Altamont Pass, for instance,
nacelle contains the main drive shaft and the
site of the world's largest wind farm, wind
gearbox. It also contains the blade pitch
speed peaks in the summer when demand is
control, a hydraulic system that controls the
high. In some areas of New England where
angle of the blades, and the yaw drive,
wind farms are being considered, winds are
which controls the position of the turbine
strongest in the winter, when the need for
relative to the wind. The generator and
electronic controls are standard equipment
whose main components are steel and
copper. A typical nacelle for a current
turbine weighs approximately 22,000

The most diverse use of materials and the

most experimentation with new materials
occur with the blades. Although the most
dominant material used for the blades in
commercial wind turbines is fiberglass with
a hollow core, other materials in use include
lightweight woods and aluminum. Wooden
The nacelle is a strong, hollow shell that fiberglass mixture must then dry for several
contains the inner workings of the wind hours, while it does, an air-filled bladder
turbine, such as the main drive shaft and the within the mold helps the blade keep its
gearbox. It also contains the blade pitch shape. After the fiber glass is dry, the mold
control, a hydraulic system that controls the is then opened and the bladder is removed.
angle of the blades, and the yaw drive, Final preparation of the blade involves
which controls the position of the turbine cleaning, sanding sealing the two halves,
relative to the wind. A typical nacelle for a and painting.
current turbine weighs approximately
22,000 pounds. Heating increases the 3. The blades are usually bolted onto the
consumption of electrical power. Wind farms nacelle after it has been placed onto the
work best in open areas of slightly rolling land tower. Because assembly is easier to
surrounded by mountains. These areas are accomplish on the ground, occasionally a
preferred because the wind turbines can be three-pronged blade has two blades bolted
placed on ridges and remain unobstructed by onto the nacelle before it is lifted, and the
trees and buildings, and the mountains third blade is bolted on after the nacelle is in
concentrate the air flow, creating a natural wind place.
tunnel of stronger, faster winds. Wind farms
must also be placed near utility lines to facilitate
the transfer of the electricity to the local power

Wind turbines also include a utility box,

which converts the wind energy into
ROTARY BLADES: electricity and which is located at the base of
the tower. Various cables connect the utility
1. Aluminum blades are created by bolting box to the nacelle, while others connect the
sheets of aluminum together, while wooden whole turbine to nearby turbines and to a
blades are carved to form an aerodynamic transformer.
propeller similar in cross-section to an
airplane wing.

2. By far the greatest number of blades,

however, are formed from fiberglass. The
manufacture of fiberglass is a painstaking
operation. First, a mold that is in two halves
like a clam shell, yet shaped like a blade is
prepared. Next, a fiberglass-resin composite
mixture is applied to the inner surfaces of
the mold, which is then closed. The
The 3 primary types of HAWT and VAWT
as they appear in operation.


Horizontal-axis wind turbines (HAWT) have

the main rotor shaft and electrical
generator at the top of a tower, and must be
pointed into the wind. Small turbines are
pointed by a simple wind vane, while large
turbines generally use a wind sensor coupled
with a servo motor. Most have a gearbox,
TYPES OF WIND TURBINE which turns the slow rotation of the blades
into a quicker rotation that is more suitable
Wind turbines can rotate about either a
to drive an electrical generator.
horizontal or a vertical axis, the former
being both older and more common.

Wind turbines are designed to exploit the

wind energy that exists at a
location. Aerodynamic modeling is used to
determine the optimum tower height, control elastic blades for large wind turbines are
systems, number of blades and blade shape. being researched.

Wind turbines convert wind energy to

electricity for distribution. Conventional
horizontal axis turbines can be divided
into three components.
1. The rotor component, which is
approximately 20% of the wind turbine cost,
includes the blades for converting wind Cyclic stresses fatigue the
energy to low speed rotational energy. blade, axle and bearing resulting in material
failures that were a major cause of turbine
failure for many years. Because wind
2. The generator component, which is
velocity often increases at higher altitudes,
approximately 34% of the wind turbine cost,
the backward force and torque on a
includes the electrical generator, the control
horizontal-axis wind turbine (HAWT) blade
electronics, and most likely
peaks as it turns through the highest point in
a gearbox component for converting the low
its circle. The tower hinders the airflow at
speed incoming rotation to high speed
the lowest point in the circle, which
rotation suitable for generating electricity.
produces a local dip in force and torque.
These effects produce a cyclic twist on the
3. The structural support component, which
main bearings of a HAWT. The combined
is approximately 15% of the wind turbine
twist is worst in machines with an even
cost, includes the tower and rotor yaw
number of blades, where one is straight up
when another is straight down. To improve
Small wind turbines may be as small as a
reliability, teetering hubs have been used
fifty-watt generator for boat or caravan use.
which allow the main shaft to rock through a
Small units often have direct drive
few degrees, so that the main bearings do
generators, direct current output, aero elastic
not have to resist the torque peaks.
blades, lifetime bearings and use a vane to
point into the wind. The rotating blades of a wind turbine act like
a gyroscope. As it pivots along its vertical
Larger, more costly turbines generally have
axis to face the wind, gyroscopic
geared power trains, alternating current
precession tries to twist the turbine disc
output, flaps and are actively pointed into
along its horizontal axis. For each blade on a
the wind. Direct drive generators and aero
wind generator's turbine, precessive force is
at a minimum when the blade is horizontal
and at a maximum when the blade is rooftop mounted turbine tower is
vertical. The cyclic loading affects the approximately 50% of the building height,
design of the mechanical elements, this is near the optimum for maximum wind
structure, and foundation of the wind energy and minimum wind turbulence.
VERTICAL AXIS DESIGN: Since a tower produces turbulence behind it,
Vertical-axis wind turbines (or VAWTs) the turbine is usually pointed upwind of the
have the main rotor shaft arranged tower. Turbine blades are made stiff to
vertically. Key advantages of this prevent the blades from being pushed into
arrangement are that the turbine does not the tower by high winds. Additionally, the
need to be pointed into the wind to be blades are placed a considerable distance in
effective. This is an advantage on sites front of the tower and are sometimes tilted
where the wind direction is highly variable. forward into the wind a small amount.

With a vertical axis, the generator and Downwind machines have been built,
gearbox can be placed near the ground, so despite the problem of turbulence (mast
the tower doesn't need to support it, and it is wake), because they don't need an additional
more accessible for maintenance. mechanism for keeping them in line with the
Drawbacks are that some designs produce wind, and because in high winds the blades
pulsating torque. can be allowed to bend which reduces their
swept area and thus their wind resistance.
It is difficult to mount vertical-axis turbines
Since cyclic (that is repetitive) turbulence
on towers meaning they are often installed
may lead to fatigue failures most HAWTs
nearer to the base on which they rest, such
are upwind machines.
as the ground or a building rooftop. The
wind speed is slower at a lower altitude, so
less wind energy is available for a given size
turbine. Air flow near the ground and other
12th-century windmills:
objects can create turbulent flow, which can
introduce issues of vibration, including noise
and bearing wear which may increase the These squat structures, typically (at least)
maintenance or shorten the service life. four bladed, usually with wooden shutters or
However, when a turbine is mounted on a fabric sails, were developed in Europe.
rooftop, the building generally redirects These windmills were pointed into the wind
wind over the roof and this can double the manually or via a tail-fan and were typically
wind speed at the turbine. If the height of the used for grinding grain. In the
Netherlands they were also used for
pumping water from low-lying land, and
were instrumental in keeping its polders dry.

In Schiedam, the Netherlands, a traditional

style windmill (the Noletmolen) was built in
2005 to generate electricity. The mill is one AIRBORNE WIND TURBINE:
of the tallest Tower mills in the world, being
some 42.5 metres (139 ft) tall.
19th-century windmills An airborne wind turbine is a design concept
The Eclipse windmill factory was set up for a wind turbine that is supported in the air
around 1866 in Beloit, Wisconsin and soon without a tower. Airborne wind turbines
became successful building mills for may operate in low or high altitudes; they
pumping water on farms and for filling are part of a wider class of airborne wind
railroad tanks. Other firms like Star, energy systems (AWE) addressed by high
Dempster, and Aero motor also entered the altitude wind power. When the generator is
market. Hundreds of thousands of these on the ground, then the tethered aircraft need
mills were produced before rural not carry the generator mass or have a
electrification and small numbers continue conductive tether. When the generator is
to be made. They typically had many blades, aloft, then a conductive tether would be used
operated at tip speed ratios not better than to transmit energy to the ground or used
one, and had good starting torque. Some had aloft or beamed to receivers using
small direct-current generators used for microwave or laser. Air borned turbine
charging storage batteries, to provide power systems would have the advantage of
to lights, or to operate a radio receiver. The tapping an almost constant wind, without
American rural electrification connected requirements for slip rings or yaw
many farms to centrally generated power mechanism, and without the expense of
and replaced individual windmills as a tower construction. Kites and 'helicopters'
primary source of farm power by the 1950s. come down when there is insufficient wind
They were also produced in other countries kytoons and blimps resolve the matter.
like South Africa and Australia (where an Also, bad weather such
American design was copied in 1876. Such as lightning or thunderstorms, could
devices are still used in locations where it is temporarily suspend use of the machines,
too costly to bring in commercial power. probably requiring them to be brought back
down to the ground and covered. Some
schemes require a long power cable and, if
the turbine is high enough, an aircraft
exclusion zone. As of 2008, no commercial Turbines used in wind farms for commercial
production of electric power are
airborne wind turbines are in regular
usually three-bladed and pointed
operation. into the wind by computer-
controlled motors. These have high
tip speeds of over 320 kilo metres
MODERN WIND TURBINE per hour (200 mph), high
efficiency, and low torque ripple,
which contribute to good
reliability. The blades are usually
colored light gray to blend in with
the clouds and range in length from
20 to 40 metres (66 to 130 ft) or
more. The tubular steel towers
range from 60 to 90 metres (200 to
300 ft) tall. The blades rotate at 10-
22 revolutions per minute. At 22
rotations per minute the tip speed
exceeds 300 feet per second (91
m/s). A gear box is commonly used
for stepping up the speed of the
generator, although designs may
also use direct drive of an annular
generator. Some models operate at
constant speed, but more energy
can be collected by variable-speed
turbines which use a solid-state
power converter to interface to the
transmission system. All turbines
are equipped with protective
features to avoid damage at high
wind speeds, by feathering the
blades into the wind which ceases
their rotation, supplemented
by brakes.
held up by guy-wires but have an external
superstructure connected to the top bearing.


A helical twisted VAWT.

Darrieus wind turbine:

"Eggbeater" turbines, or Darrieus turbines,
A subtype of Darrieus turbine with straight,
were named after the French inventor,
as opposed to curved, blades. The cyclo
Georges Darrieus. They have good
turbine variety has variable pitch to reduce
efficiency, but produce large torque ripple
the torque pulsation and is self-starting. The
and cyclical stress on the tower, which
advantages of variable pitch are: high
contributes to poor reliability. They also
starting torque; a wide, relatively flat torque
generally require some external power
curve; a lower blade speed ratio; a higher
source, or an additional Savonius rotor to
coefficient of performance; more efficient
start turning, because the starting torque is
operation in turbulent winds; and a lower
very low. The torque ripple is reduced by
blade speed ratio which lowers blade
using three or more blades which results in a
bending stresses. Straight, V or curved
higher solidity for the rotor. Solidity is
blades may be used.
measured by blade area divided by the rotor
area. Newer Darrieus type turbines are not
carbon dioxide (an emission that contributes
to the greenhouse effect and global
warming) per kilowatt-hour produced. When
wind energy is used for electrical needs,
dependence on fossil fuels for this purpose
is reduced. The current annual production of
electricity by wind turbines (3.7 billion
kilowatt-hours) is equivalent to four million
barrels of oil or one million tons of coal.

Wind turbines are not completely free of
environmental drawbacks. Many people
consider them to be unaesthetic, especially
Windmill with rotating sails
when huge wind farms are built near pristine
wilderness areas. Bird kills have been
documented, and the whirring blades do
produce quite a bit of noise. Efforts to
reduce these effects include selecting sites
Savonius wind turbine:
that do not coincide with wilderness areas or
bird migration routes and researching ways
These are drag-type devices with two (or
to reduce noise.
more) scoops that are used in
anemometers, Flettner vents (commonly
seen on bus and van roofs), and in some
The Future of Wind Turbine:
high-reliability low-efficiency power
The future can only get better for wind
turbines. They are always self-starting if turbines. The potential for wind energy is
there are at least three scoops. They largely untapped. The United States
sometimes have long helical scoops to give Department of Energy estimates that ten
a smooth torque. times the amount of electricity currently
being produced can be achieved by 1995. By
2005, seventy times current production is
possible. If this is accomplished, wind
Environmental Benefits:
turbines would account for 10 percent of the
A wind turbine that produces electricity
United States' electricity production.
from inexhaustible winds creates no
pollution. By comparison, coal, oil, and Research is now being done to increase the
natural gas produce one to two pounds of knowledge of wind resources. This involves
the testing of more and more areas for the 2. High efficiency, since the blades always
possibility of placing wind farms where the move perpendicular to the wind, receiving
wind is reliable and strong. Plans are in power through the whole rotation. In
effect to increase the life span of the
contrast, all vertical axis wind turbines, and
machine from five years to 20 to 30 years,
most proposed airborne wind
improve the efficiency of the blades, provide
turbine designs, involve various types of
better controls, develop drive trains that last
longer, and allow for better surge protection reciprocating actions, requiring airfoil
and grounding. The United States surfaces to backtrack against the wind for
Department of Energy has recently set up a part of the cycle. Backtracking against the
schedule to implement the latest research in wind leads to inherently lower efficiency.
order to build wind turbines with a higher
efficiency rating than is now possible. (The
3. The face of a horizontal axis blade is
efficiency of an ideal wind turbine is 59.3
struck by the wind at a consistent angle
percent. That is, 59.3 percent of the wind's
regardless of the position in its rotation. This
energy can be captured. Turbines in actual
use are about 30 percent efficient.) The results in a consistent lateral wind loading
United States Department of Energy has also over the course of a rotation,
contracted with three corporations to 4. Reducing vibration and audible noise
research ways to reduce mechanical failure. coupled to the tower or mount.
This project began in the spring of 1992 and
will extend to the end of the century. Disadvantages:
1. The tall towers and blades up to 45 meters
Advantages: long are difficult to transport. Transportation
can now amount to 20% of equipment costs.
Variable blade pitch, which gives the turbine
blades the optimum angle of attack.
Allowing the angle of attack to be 2. Tall HAWTs are difficult to install,
remotely adjusted gives greater
needing very tall and expensive cranes and
control, so the turbine collects the
maximum amount of wind energy skilled operators.
for the time of day and season.
1. The tall tower base allows access to 3. Massive tower construction is required to
stronger wind in sites with wind shear. In support the heavy blades, gearbox, and
some wind shear sites, the wind speed can generator.
increase by 20% and the power output by
34% for every 10 meters in elevation. 4. Reflections from tall HAWTs may affect
side lobes of radar installations creating
signal clutter, although filtering can suppress REFERENCE:
5. Their height makes them obtrusively
visible across large areas, disrupting the
appearance of the landscape and
sometimes creating local opposition. BOOKS:
Wind Turbines: Fundamentals,
6. Downwind variants suffer from Technologies, Application
fatigue and structural failure caused by Wind Turbines Economics Book
turbulence when a blade passes through
the tower's wind shadow (for this reason,
the majority of HAWTs use an upwind
design, with the rotor facing the wind in
front of the tower).

7. HAWTs require an
additional yaw control mechanism to
turn the blades and nacelle toward the

8. In order to minimize fatigue loads

due to wake turbulence, wind turbines
are usually sited a distance of 5 rotor
diameters away from each other, but the
spacing depends on the manufacturer
and the turbine model.