What is a Wind Power Plant?
Wind power is the primary energy source in the world. Wind energy power plants are the group of wind turbines that are used to generate electricity. The wind turbine is a rotating device that converts the kinetic energy of the air into electrical energy. Basically, wind turbines are designed in the wide ranges of the blade with the vertical or horizontal axis, and wind energy power plants operation and working principle is not difficult.
Wind power plants are being used more due to a lot of advantages power plants. The world reserve energy sources (coal, oil, natural gas) are depleting day by day. For this reason, engineers or scientists are looking for renewable energy sources. In this case, wind energy power plants can be the biggest renewable energy source in the future.
What do You Mean by Wind Turbines?
The wind turbine is a rotating device that catches the wind with its propeller (blade wings) like an airplane wing. Basically, a wind turbine works based on the wind pressure whenever the wind blows, a pocket of low-pressure air forms on one side of the blade the low-pressure air pocket then pulls the turbine towards it. For this reason, the rotor starts rotating. The wind turbine works by following simple principles.
The wind energy turns two or three propellers (like blades) around the rotor. The wind turbines are connected to the main shaft of the generator and the generator rotates with the turbine and generates electrical energy. Basically, a wind turbine consists of bolting aluminum sheets. It is noted that wind energy is converted into DC electrical energy and this DC energy is converted into AC energy by the inverter. It works like a solar panel.
How does a Wind Turbine Generate Electricity?
A wind turbine power plant is the natural energy source power plant. A wind turbine consists of some wind turbines. The wind turbine is looking like a blade that is used to collect the kinetic energy of the wind. The wind flows over the blades and creates lift (it is performed like airplane wings), which causes the blade to turn. The wind turbine is connected to the shaft and drives the shaft of the generator at the same speed as the wind turbines.
The electric generator shaft rotates same speed as the turbine speeds and the generator converts turbine energy into electrical energy. Basically, an electrical generator produces Alternating Current (AC) power. This energy is transmitted to the high voltage by using a step-up power transformer at a reasonable stage if the long-distance transmission is required. If some user needs DC power they can convert it from AC to DC by using a rectifier. Basically, wind energy is utilized in wind pumps, wind battery charges, wind electricity generators, and others.
How do Wind Turbines Work Step by Step?
Wind turbines operate on a general principle e.g., wind turbines use the wind to generate electricity instead of using electricity to generate wind like a fan. The wind rotates the propeller-like blades of a turbine around a rotor, which rotates a generator and generates electricity. The wind is a form of solar energy created by a combination of three simultaneous events, such as
- The sun unevenly heating the atmosphere
- Irregularities of the earth’s surface
- The rotation of the earth.
The whole world varies greatly and is changed by differences in water and vegetation. People use this wind power or kinetic energy of the wind for different purposes, such as power generation, sailing, kite flying, and others. Both wind power and wind energy describe the process by which wind is used to generate mechanical energy and mechanical energy is converted into electricity.
Most of the wind turbines are mounted in a tower made of tubular steel and consist of three aluminum blades. At 100 feet or more above the ground, the tower is designed to allow turbines to take advantage of high wind speeds at higher altitudes. Turbines capture wind power with their propeller-like blades, which act much like aircraft wings.
When the wind blows, a pocket of depressed air is created on one side of the blade. The low-pressure air pocket then pulls the blade towards it, causing the rotor to rotate clockwise. This is called a lift. The lifted ball is much stronger than the wind force in front of the blade, which is mainly called drag. The combination of lift and drag rotates the rotor like a propeller.
A series of gears rotate the rotor from about 18 revolutions per minute to about 1,800 revolutions per minute which allows turbine generators to produce AC power. Another key element is the turbine controller, which keeps the rotor speed more than 55 miles per hour to avoid high wind damage. An anemometer continuously measures the wind speed and transmits the information to the controller.
How do Wind Turbines Turn Wind Energy?
Using aerodynamic force from the rotor blade into electricity, this act like an airplane wing or helicopter rotor blade. When air flows across the blade, the air pressure on one side of the blade decreases. The difference in air pressure across the two sides of the blade creates both lift and drag. The lifting force is stronger than the drag and this causes the rotor to rotate. The rotor is connected directly to the generator (if it is a direct drive turbine) or to a shaft and a series of gears (a gearbox) that accelerates rotation and allows physically smaller generators. This translation of the aerodynamic ball generates electricity by rotating the generator.
Types of Wind Energy Power Plants
The turbine is an essential element of power plants because electrical energy is generated from mechanical energy into electrical energy. The turbine converts some other forms of energy (steam, wind, etc.) into mechanical energy. The turbine is one of the crucial components of wind energy power plants. There are two types of wind turbine
- Horizontal axis wind turbine.
- Vertical axis wind turbine.
Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine
Horizontal-axis wind turbines have pilot-like blades and they usually have three blades. The largest horizontal-axis turbines are as tall as a 20-story building and have blades over 100 feet long. Longer turbines with longer blades generate more electricity. Almost all wind turbines currently in use are horizontal-axis turbines.
Vertical Axis Wind Turbine
Vertical-axis turbines have blades attached to the top and bottom of a vertical rotor. The most common type of vertical-axis turbine is the Darius wind turbine, named after the French engineer Georges Darius who patented the design in 1931. It looks like a giant, two-bladed egg beater. Some versions of vertical-axis turbines are 100 feet long and 50 feet wide. Very few vertical-axis wind turbines are used today because they do not work like horizontal-axis turbines.
The efficiency of Wind Power Plant
The efficiency of the electrical power plants is not very high. The thermal power plant efficiency is quite high usually 35 to 49% due to the heat losses or exhausted steam. The wind power plant’s efficiency is usually 30 to 35%, but it sometimes rises to 50% at the time of peak wind. The wind is a more efficient source of energy than solar energy.
Compared to solar panels, wind turbines release less CO2 into the atmosphere, consume less energy, and produce more energy overall. A wind turbine can generate the equivalent of about 48,704 solar panels per kilowatt-hour. China Gansu Wind Farm Power Plant is the largest wind power plant in the world, with a target of 20,000 MW by 2021. Shepherds Flat Wind Farm is an 845 MW wind farm in the US state of Oregon.