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Wind turbine


1 Types of wind turbines o 1.1 Horizontal axis 1.1.1 Counter-rotating horizontal axis turbines 1.1.2 Cyclic stresses and vibration o 1.2 Vertical axis o 1. !ffshore o 1." #erial 2 Turbine design and construction o 2.1 Tower height o 2.2 $u%ber of blades o 2. &otation control 2. .1 'talling and furling 2. .2 (lectro%agnetic bra)ing 2. . *echanical bra)ing o 2." Turbine size o 2.+ ,enerating electricity o 2.- *aterials 'pecial windturbines " #ccidents + History - Co%panies in wind turbine industry . &ecords / 'ee also 0 &eferences 11 (xternal lin)s

# tall tower holds a wind turbine aloft where winds are consistently stronger.

# wind turbine is a %achine for converting the )inetic energy in wind into %echanical energy. 2f the %echanical energy is used directly by %achinery3 such as a pu%p or grinding stones3 the %achine is usually called a windmill. 2f the %echanical energy is then converted to electricity3 the %achine is called a wind generator. This article discusses the conversion %achinery. 'ee the broader article on wind power for %ore on turbine place%ent and controversy3 and in particular see the wind energy section of that article for an understanding of the te%poral distribution of wind energy and how that affects wind turbine design. 4or a %achine that generates wind3 see wind machine. 4or an unusual way to induce a voltage using an aerosol of ionised water3 see vaneless ion wind generator.

Types of wind turbines

5ind far% in the Tehachapi *ountains3 California. 5ind turbines can be separated into two general types based on the axis about which the turbine rotates. Turbines that rotate around a horizontal axis are %ost co%%on. Vertical axis turbines are less fre6uently used. 5ind turbines can also be classified by the location in which they are to be used. !nshore3 offshore3 or even aerial wind turbines have uni6ue design characteristics which are explained in %ore detail in the section on Turbine design and construction. 5ind turbines can also be used in con7uction with a solar power tower to extract the energy due to air heated by the 'un and rising through a large vertical solar chi%ney. The first co%%ercial solar power tower of this type is in the early stages of construction in #ustralia. #nother prototype application is in a 5ave power plant.

Horizontal axis
Horizontal #xis 5ind Turbines 8H#5T9 have the %ain rotor shaft and generator at the top of a tower3 and %ust be pointed into the wind by so%e %eans. '%all turbines are pointed by a si%ple wind vane3 while large turbines generally use a wind sensor coupled with a servo%otor. *ost have a gearbox too3 which turns the slow rotation of the blades into a 6uic)er rotation that is %ore suitable for generating electricity.

'ince a tower produces turbulence behind it3 the turbine is usually pointed upwind of the tower. Turbine blades are %ade stiff to prevent the blades fro% being pushed into the tower by high winds. #dditionally3 the blades are placed a considerable distance in front of the tower and are so%eti%es tilted up a s%all a%ount. :ownwind %achines have been built3 despite the proble% of turbulence3 because they don;t need an additional %echanis% for )eeping the% in line with the wind3 and because in high winds3 the blades can be allowed to bend which reduces their swept area and thus their wind resistance. <ecause turbulence leads to fatigue failures and reliability is so i%portant3 %ost H#5Ts are upwind %achines. There are several types of H#5T= 5ind%ills These four-bladed s6uat buildings3 usually with wooden shutters or fabric sails3 were pointed into the wind %anually. These wind%ills3 generally associated with the $etherlands3 were historically used to grind grain or pu%p water fro% lowlying land. They greatly accelerated shipbuilding in the $etherlands3 and were instru%ental in )eeping its polders dry. #%erican-style far% wind%ills These wind%ills were used by #%erican prairie far%ers to generate electricity and to pu%p water. They typically had %any blades3 operated at tip speed ratios 8defined below9 not better than one3 and had good starting tor6ue. 'o%e had s%all direct-current generators used to charge storage batteries3 to provide a few lights3 or to operate a radio receiver. The rural electrification connected %any far%s to centrally-generated power and replaced individual wind%ills as a pri%ary source of far% power in the 10+1s. 'uch devices are still used in locations where it is too costly to bring in co%%ercial power. Co%%on %odern wind turbines >sually three-bladed3 so%eti%es two-bladed or even one-bladed 8and counterbalanced93 and pointed into the wind by co%puter-controlled %otors. The rugged three-bladed turbine type has been cha%pioned by :anish turbine %anufacturers. These have high tip speeds of up to -x wind speed3 high efficiency3 and low tor6ue ripple which contributes to good reliability. This is the type of turbine that is used co%%ercially to produce electricity. :ucted rotor 'till so%ething of a research pro7ect3 the ducted rotor consists of a turbine inside a duct which flares outwards at the bac). The %ain advantage of the ducted rotor is that it can operate in a wide range of winds. #nother advantage is that the generator operates at a high rotation rate3 so it doesn;t re6uire a bul)y gearbox3 so the %echanical portion can be s%aller and lighter. # disadvantage is that 8apart fro% the gearbox9 it is %ore co%plicated than the unducted rotor and the duct is usually 6uite heavy3 which puts an added load on the tower. Counter-rotating horizontal axis turbines

Counter rotating turbines can be used to increase the rotation speed of the electrical generator. #s of 211+3 no large practical counter-rotating H#5Ts are co%%ercially sold. 5hen the counter rotating turbines are on the sa%e side of the tower3 the blades in front are angled forwards slightly so as to avoid hitting the rear ones. 2f the turbine blades are on opposite sides of the tower3 it is best that the blades at the bac) be s%aller than the blades at the front and set to stall at a higher wind speed. This allows the generator to function at a wider wind speed range than a single-turbine generator for a given tower. To reduce sy%pathetic vibrations3 the two turbines should turn at speeds with few co%%on factors3 for exa%ple .= speed ratio. !verall3 this is a %ore co%plicated design than the single-turbine wind generator3 but it taps %ore of the wind;s energy at a wider range of wind speeds. Cyclic stresses and vibration Cyclic stresses fatigue the blade3 axle and bearing %aterial3 and were a %a7or cause of turbine failure for %any years. <ecause wind velocity increases at higher altitudes3 the bac)ward force and tor6ue on a horizontal axis wind turbine 8H#5T9 blade pea)s as it turns through the highest point in its circle. The tower hinders the airflow at the lowest point in the circle3 which produces a local dip in force and tor6ue. These effects produce a cyclic twist on the %ain bearings of a H#5T. The co%bined twist is worst in %achines with an even nu%ber of blades3 where one is straight up when another is straight down. To i%prove reliability3 teetering hubs have been used which allow the %ain shaft to roc) through a few degrees3 so that the %ain bearings do not have to resist the tor6ue pea)s. 5hen the turbine turns to face the wind3 the rotating blades act li)e a gyroscope. #s it pivots3 gyroscopic precession tries to twist the turbine into a forward or bac)ward so%ersault. 4or each blade on a wind generator;s turbine3 precessive force is at a %ini%u% when the blade is horizontal and at a %axi%u% when the blade is vertical. This cyclic twisting can 6uic)ly fatigue and crac) the blade roots3 hub and axle of the turbine.

Vertical axis
Vertical axis turbines 8or V#5Ts9 have the %ain rotor shaft running vertically. The advantages of this arrange%ent are that the generator and?or gearbox can be placed at the botto%3 near the ground3 so the tower doesn;t need to support it3 and that the turbine doesn;t need to be pointed into the wind. :rawbac)s are usually the pulsating tor6ue produced during each revolution3 and the difficulty of %ounting vertical axis turbines on towers. This %eans they %ust operate in the slower3 %ore turbulent air flow near the ground3 with lower energy extraction efficiency.

H-:arrieus-turbine :arrieus wind turbine These are the @eggbeater@ turbines. They have good efficiency3 but produce large tor6ue ripple and cyclic stress on the tower3 which contributes to poor reliability. #lso3 they generally re6uire so%e external power source to start turning. 'avonius wind turbine These are the fa%iliar two or three scoop drag-type devices used in ane%o%eters and so%e high-reliability low-efficiency power turbines.

!ffshore wind turbines are considered to be less obtrusive than turbines on land3 as their apparent size and noise can be %itigated by distance. <ecause water has less surface roughness than land3 the average wind speed is usually higher over open water. This allows offshore turbines to use shorter towers3 %a)ing the% less visible. 2n stor%y areas with extended shallow continental shelves 8such as :en%ar)93 turbines are practical to install3 and give good service - :en%ar);s wind generation provides about 12-1+A of total electricity de%and in the country3 with %any offshore windfar%s. :en%ar) plans to increase wind energy;s contribution to as %uch as half of its electrical supply3 though as of now :en%ar) is a net i%porter of electricity. The offshore environ%ent is3 however3 %ore expensive. !ffshore towers are generally taller than onshore towers once one includes the sub%erged height3 and offshore foundations are generally %ore difficult to build and %ore expensive as well. Bower trans%ission fro% offshore turbines is generally through undersea cable3 which is %ore expensive to install than cables on land3 and %ay use high voltage direct current operation if significant distance is to be covered -- which then re6uires yet %ore e6uip%ent. The offshore environ%ent is also corrosive and abbrasive. &epairs and %aintenance are %uch %ore difficult3 and %uch %ore costly than on onshore turbines. !ffshore wind turbines are outfitted with extensive corrosion protection %easures li)e coatings and cathodic protection.

5hile there is a significant %ar)et for s%all land-based wind%ills3 offshore wind turbines have recently been and will probably continue to be the largest wind turbines in operation3 because larger turbines reduce the %arginal cost of %any of the difficulties of offshore operation. There are so%e conceptual designs that %ight %a)e use of the uni6ue offshore environ%ent. 4or exa%ple3 a floating turbine %ight orient itself downwind of its anchor3 and thus avoid the need for a yawing %echanis%. !ne concept for offshore turbines has the% generate rain3 instead of electricity. The turbines would create a fine aerosol3 which is envisioned to increase evaporation and induce rainfall3 hopefully on land C1D.

Main article: Airborne wind turbine 2t has been suggested that wind turbines %ight be flown in high speed winds at high altitude. $o such syste%s currently exist in the %ar)etplace. However3 an !ntario based co%pany called *agenn Bower 2nc. has developed a turbine called the *agenn Bower #ir &otor 'yste% 8*#B'9. The *#B' syste% uses a horizontal rotor in a heliu% suspended apparatus which is tethered to a generator on the ground. *agenn states that their technology provides high tor6ue3 low starting speeds3 and superior overall efficiency than)s to its ability to deploy higher in co%parison to non-aerial solutions. *agenn is putting the first of the *#B' product line on the %ar)et in 211-.

Turbine design and construction

Tower height
The wind blows faster at higher altitudes because of the drag of the surface 8sea or land9 and the viscosity of the air. The variation in velocity with altitude3 called wind shear is %ost dra%atic near the surface. Typically3 the variation follows the !"#th power law3 which predicts that wind speed rises proportionally to the seventh root of altitude. :oubling the altitude of a turbine3 then3 increases the expected wind speeds by 11A and the expected power by "A. :oubling the tower height generally re6uires doubling the dia%eter as well3 increasing the a%ount of %aterial by a factor of eight. 4or H#5Ts3 tower heights approxi%ately twice the blade length have been found to balance %aterial costs of the tower against better utilisation of the %ore expensive active co%ponents.

$umber of blades

4or s%all 8novelty or urban9 H#5T turbines %anufacturers typically ship three-bladed turbines with three separate blades that %ust be asse%bled onsite3 into a central hub. 5ithout careful asse%bly ensuring accurate dyna%ic balance of the blades3 the turbine can sha)e itself apart. *ost wind turbines have three blades. Very s%all turbines %ay use two blades for ease of construction and installation. Vibration intensity decreases with larger nu%bers of blades. $oise and wear are generally lower3 and efficiency higher3 with three instead of two blades. Turbines with larger nu%bers of s%aller blades operate at a lower &eynolds nu%ber and so are less efficient. '%all turbines with " or %ore blades suffer further losses as each blade operates partly in the wa)e of the other blades. #lso3 the cost of the turbine usually increases with the nu%ber of blades.

%otation control
Tip speed ratio The ratio between the speed of the wind and the speed of the tips of the blades of a wind turbine. *odern wind turbines are designed to spin at varying speeds 8a conse6uence of their generator design3 see below9. >se of alu%inu% and co%posites in their blades has contributed to low rotational inertia3 which %eans that newer wind turbines can accelerate 6uic)ly if the winds pic) up3 )eeping the tip speed ratio %ore nearly constant. !perating closer to their opti%al tip speed ratio during energetic gusts of wind allows wind turbines to i%prove energy capture fro% sudden gusts that are typical in urban settings. 2n contrast3 older style wind turbines were designed with heavier steel blades3 which have higher inertia3 and rotated at speeds governed by the #C fre6uency of the power lines. The high inertia buffered the changes in rotation speed and thus %ade power output %ore stable. The speed at which wind turbines rotate %ust be controlled for several reasons=

*aintenanceE because it is dangerous to have people wor)ing on a wind turbine while it is active3 it is so%eti%es necessary to bring a turbine to a full stop. $oise reductionE #s a rule of thu%b3 the noise fro% a wind turbine increases with the fifth power of the relative wind speed 8as seen fro% the %oving tip of the blades9. 2n noise-sensitive environ%ents 8nearly all onshore installations93 noise li%its the tip speed to approxi%ately -1 %?s. High efficiency turbines %ay have tip speed ratios of +--3 which3 for onshore turbines3 li%its high efficiency operation to winds of 7ust 11 %?s. Centripetal force reductionE as the rotational speed increases3 so does the centripetal force wor)ing on the central hub or axis. 5hen it exceeds safe li%its blades could snap off3 and the turbine would fail dra%atically.

<ecause the power of the wind increases as the cube of the wind speed3 turbines have to be built to survive %uch higher wind loads 8such as gusts of wind9 than those fro% which they can practically generate power. 'ince the blades generate %ore downwind force 8and thus put far greater stress on the tower9 when they are producing tor6ue3 %ost wind turbines have ways of slowing rotation in high winds. !verspeed control is exerted in two %ain ways= aerodyna%ic stalling or furling3 and %echanical bra)ing. 4urling is the preferred %ethod of slowing wind turbines. &talling and furling 'talling wor)s by increasing the angle at which the relative wind stri)es the blades 8angle of attac)93 and it reduces the induced drag 8drag associated with lift9. 'talling is si%ple because it can be %ade to happen passively 8it increases auto%atically when the winds speed up93 but it increases the cross-section of the blade face-on to the wind3 and thus the ordinary drag. # fully stalled turbine blade3 when stopped3 has the flat side of the blade facing directly into the wind. 4urling wor)s by decreasing the angle of attac)3 which reduces the induced drag fro% the lift of the rotor3 as well as the cross-section. !ne %a7or proble% in designing wind turbines is getting the blades to stall or furl 6uic)ly enough should a gust of wind cause sudden acceleration. # fully furled turbine blade3 when stopped3 has the edge of the blade facing into the wind. # fixed-speed H#5T inherently increases its angle of attac) at higher wind speed as the blades speed up. # natural strategy3 then3 is to allow the blade to stall when the wind speed increases. This techni6ue was used on %any early H#5Ts3 until it was realised that stalled blades generate a large a%ount of vibration 8noise9. 'tandard %odern turbines all furl the blades in high winds. 'ince furling re6uires acting against the tor6ue on the blade3 it re6uires active pitch angle control which is only cost-effective on very large turbines. *any turbines use hydraulic syste%s. These syste%s are usually spring loaded3 so that if hydraulic power fails3 the blades auto%atically furl. !ther turbines use an

electric servo%otor for every rotor blade. They have a s%all battery-reserve in case of an electric-grid brea)down. 'lectromagnetic bra(ing

:yna%ic bra)ing resistor for wind turbine. <ra)ing of a turbine can also be done by du%ping energy fro% the generator into a resistor ban)3 converting the )inetic energy of the turbine rotation into heat. This %ethod is useful if the connected load on the generator is suddenly reduced or is too s%all to )eep the turbine speed within its allowed li%it. Cyclically bra)ing causes the blades to slow down3 which increases the stalling effect3 reducing the efficiency of the blades. This way3 the turbine;s rotation can be )ept at a safe speed in faster winds while %aintaining 8no%inal9 power output. )echanical bra(ing # %echanical dru% bra)e or dis) bra)e is used to hold the turbine at rest for %aintenance. 'uch bra)es are usually applied only after blade furling and electro%agnetic bra)ing have reduced the turbine speed3 as the %echanical bra)es would wear 6uic)ly if used to stop the turbine fro% full speed.

Turbine size

2n the wind business3 bigger is better. Construction and %aintenance costs are si%ilar for large and s%all turbines3 so utility co%panies build the largest feasible turbines. 4or a given survivable wind speed3 the %ass of a turbine is approxi%ately proportional to the cube of its blade-length. 5ind power intercepted by the turbine is proportional to the s6uare of its blade-length. The %axi%u% blade-length of a turbine is li%ited by both the strength and stiffness of its %aterial. Fabor and %aintenance costs increase only gradually with increasing turbine size3 so to %ini%ize costs3 wind far% turbines are basically li%ited by the strength of %aterials3 and siting re6uire%ents. Typical %odern wind turbines have a dia%eter of ca. "1 to 01 %eter and are rated between +11 )5 and 2 %egawatts. The currently 8211+9 %ost powerful tubine is rated at - *5.

*enerating electricity
4or large3 co%%ercial size horizontal-axis wind turbines3 the generator is %ounted in a nacelle at the top of a tower3 behind the hub of the turbine rotor. # speed increasing gearbox %ay be inserted between the rotor hub and the generator3 so that the generator cost and weight can be reduced. Co%%ercial size generators have a rotor carrying a field winding so that a rotating %agnetic field is produced inside a set of windings called the stator. 5hile the rotating field winding consu%es a fraction of a per cent of the generator output3 ad7ust%ent of the field current allows good control over the generator output voltage. Very s%all wind generators 8a few watts to perhaps a )ilowatt in output9 %ay use per%anent %agnets but these are too costly to use in large %achines and do not allow convenient regulation of the generator voltage. (lectrical generators inherently produce #C power. !lder style wind generators rotate at a constant speed3 to %atch power line fre6uency3 which allowed the use of less costly induction generators. $ewer wind turbines often turn at whatever speed generates electricity %ost efficiently. The variable fre6uency current is then converted to :C and then bac) to #C3 %atching the line fre6uency and voltage. #lthough the two conversions re6uire costly e6uip%ent and cause power loss3 the turbine can capture a significantly larger a%ount of the annual wind energy. 2n so%e cases3 especially when turbines are

sited offshore3 the :C energy will be trans%itted fro% the turbine to a central 8onshore9 inverter for connection to the grid.

!ne of the best construction %aterials available 8in 21119 is graphite-fibre in epoxy3 but it is very expensive and only used by so%e %anufactures for special load-bearing parts of the rotor blades. *odern rotor blades 8up to 12- % dia%eter9 are %ade of lightweight pultruded fiberglass3 s%aller ones also fro% alu%inu%3 or so%eti%es la%inated wood. 5ood and canvas sails were originally used on early wind%ills. >nfortunately they re6uire %uch %aintenance over their service life. #lso3 they have a relatively high drag 8low aerodyna%ic efficiency9 for the force they capture. 4or these reasons they were superseded with solid airfoils. !ne wind turbine of the type (--- at 5indpar) Holtrie%?,er%any carries an observation dec)3 open for visitors.

#ccidents with wind turbines happen so%eti%es3 as they do with every %achine. They give so%eti%es a spectacular appearance. The %ost spectacular accidents are burns and bro)en wings. 'o%eti%es there were also total crashes. Fist of spectacular accidents 8'ource= http=??> and http=??> 9


High-efficiency wind turbines 8foreground9 win out over traditional wind%ills 8bac)ground9 in %ost new installations.

5ind %achines were used for grinding grain in Bersia as early as 211 <.C. This type of %achine spread throughout the 2sla%ic world and were introduced by Crusaders into (urope in the 1 th century. <y the 1"th century :utch wind%ills were in use to drain areas of the &hine &iver delta. 2n :en%ar) by 1011 there were about 2+11 wind%ills for %echanical loads such as pu%ps and %ills3 producing an esti%ated co%bined pea) power of about 1 *5. The first wind%ill for electricity production was built in :en%ar) in 1/013 and in 101/ there were .2 wind-driven electric generators fro% + )5 to 2+ )5. The largest %achines were on 2" % towers with four-bladed 2 % dia%eter rotors. <y the 10 1s wind%ills were %ainly used to generate electricity on far%s3 %ostly in the >nited 'tates where distribution syste%s had not yet been installed. 2n this period3 high tensile steel was cheap3 and wind%ills were placed atop prefabricated open steel lattice towers. # forerunner of %odern horizontal-axis wind generators was in service at Ialta3 >''& in 10 1. This was a 111 )5 generator on a 1 % tower3 connected to the local -. )V distribution syste%. 2t was reported to have an annual load factor of 2 per cent3 not %uch different fro% current wind %achines. 2n 10"1 the world;s first %egawatt-size wind turbine was connected to the local electrical distribution syste% at ,randpa;s Jnob3 Ver%ont3 >'#. This 1.2+ *5 '%ith-Butna% turbine operated for 1111 hours before a blade failed at a )nown wea) point3 which had not been reinforced due to war-ti%e %aterial shortages. 2n the 10"1s3 the >.'. had a rural electrification pro7ect that )illed the natural %ar)et for wind-generated power3 since networ) power distribution provided a far% with %ore dependable usable energy for a given a%ount of capital invest%ent. 2n the 10.1s %any people began to desire a self-sufficient life-style. 'olar cells were too expensive for s%all-scale electrical generation3 so practical people turned to wind%ills. #t first they built ad-hoc designs using wood and auto%obile parts. *ost people discovered that a reliable wind generator is a %oderately co%plex engineering pro7ect3 well beyond the ability of %ost ro%antics. Bractical people began to search for and rebuild far% wind-generators fro% the 10 1s. Kacobs wind generators were especially sought after. Fater3 in the 10/1s3 California provided tax rebates for ecologically har%less power. These rebates funded the first %a7or use of wind power for utility electricity. These %achines3 gathered in large wind par)s such as at #lta%ont Bass would be considered s%all and un-econo%ic by %odern wind power develop%ent standards. #s aesthetics and durability beca%e %ore i%portant3 turbines were placed atop steel or reinforced concrete towers. '%all generators are connected to the tower on the ground3 then the tower is raised into position. Farger generators are hoisted into position atop the tower and there is a ladder or staircase inside the tower to allow technicians to reach and %aintain the generator. !riginally wind generators were built right next to where their power was needed. 5ith the availability of long distance electric power trans%ission3 wind generators are now often on wind far%s in windy locations and huge ones are being built offshore3 so%eti%es trans%itting power bac) to land using high voltage sub%arine

cable. 'ince wind turbines are a renewable %eans of generating electricity3 they are being widely deployed3 but their cost is often subsidised by taxpayers3 either directly or through renewable energy credits. *uch depends on the cost of alternative sources of electricity. 5ind generator cost per unit power has been decreasing by about four percent per year.

Companies in wind turbine industry

5orld %ar)et for wind energy plants in 211 :e5ind :$V Certification of 5ind Turbines and 5ind Turbine Bro7ects (*: #?' 5indB&! software pac)age for pro7ect design and planning of turbines ,a%esa ,arrad Hassan and Bartners Ftd. ,eneral (lectric3 through its subsidiary ,( (nergy Jenetech Corporation <an)rupt F* ,lasfiber #?' &otor blades ranging fro% 1 ." to -1.+ % $atural Bower 2nternational wind energy consultancy services $(, *icon *erged with Vestas in 211" $ordex &(power up to + *5 turbines 'ie%ens 5ind Bower #?' 8for%erly <onus (nergy #?'9 Vestas *anufactures 211 )5 to *5 turbines 8".+ *5 planned for 21109 4riesian (nercon ,%bH up to - *5 5ind Brospect


highest and %ost powerful tubine= (nercon (112 with - *5 and overall height of 1/- % 8hub= 11" %9 biggest dia%eter= &(power +* with 12- % dia%eter 8+ *53 overall height 1/ %9

&ee also

:arrieus wind turbine (lectrical generator

,reen energy &enewable energy 'avonius wind turbine 5ind far% 5ind power 5ind%ill


#lan 5yatt= Electric Power: Challenges and Choices. <oo) Bress Ftd.3 Toronto 10/-3 2'<$ 1021-+111. !n wind far%s - !n the i%pact of wind far%s on birds. 2berica - !n the i%pact of wind far%s on birds. ! - How to build a wind turbine fro% scratch 8including the blade9. 2ncludes several designs. 'coraig 5ind (lectric - Ho%ebrew wind turbines - courses3 boo)s and free infor%ation. Fots of pics of hands on construction.