Abundant and economical energy is the life blood of modern civilizations. Coal, nuclear and hydro are used primarily to make electricity. Natural gas is widely used for heating. Biomass, which usually means wood or dried dung, is used for heating and cooking. Oil powers almost all machines that move and that makes oil uniquely versatile. Oil powered airplanes carry 500 people across the widest oceans at nearly the speed of sound. Oil powered machines produce and transport food. In North America there are many more seats in oil powered vehicles than there are people. Oil powered machines are ubiquitous. Clearly, we live in the age of oil, but the age of oil is drawing to a close.
If oil production remains constant until it's gone, there is enough to last 42 years. Oil wells produce less as they become depleted which will make it impossible to keep production constant. Similarly, there is enough natural gas to last 61 years and there is enough coal to last 133 years. Nearly everyone realizes oil and gas will become scarce and expensive within the life times of living humans. Inevitably, there will be a transition to sustainable energy sources. The transition may be willy-nilly or planned-the choice is ours.
The bargraph shows oil, coal and natural gas together supplying 85 percent of the world's energy supply in 2008.
The red sliver is wind and solar power, primarily. The red sliver may be small, but it is the future because wind and solar power are sustainable.
Although technology has made oil extraction more efficient, the world is having to struggle to provide oil by using increasingly costly and less productive methods such as deep sea drilling, and developing environmentally sensitive areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The world's population continues to grow at a quarter of a million people per day, increasing the consumption of energy. Although far less from people in developing countries, especially USA, the per capita energy consumption of China, India and other developing nations continues to increase as the people living in these countries adopt more energy intensive lifestyles. At present a small part of the world's population consumes a large part of its resources, with the United States and its population of 300 million people consuming far more oil than China with its population of 1.3 billion people.
So there is a urgent need for the human civilization to develop alternative source of energy which is sustainable, low in cost and also ecofriendly.
Wind power can be an effective solution to the energy crisis in the world. It is totally safe, low cost, and totally ecofriendly i.e it’s a source of clean and green energy. Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as electricity, using wind turbines. Humans have been using wind power for at least 5,500 years to propel sailboats and sailing ships, and architects have used wind-driven natural ventilation in buildings since similarly ancient times. Windmills have been used for irrigation pumping and for milling grain since the 7th century AD. The first use of a large windmill to generate electricity was a system built in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1888 by Charles F. Brush. The Brush machine (shown at right) was a postmill with a multiple-bladed "picket-fence" rotor 17 meters in diameter, featuring a large tail hinged to turn the rotor out of the wind. It was the first windmill to incorporate a step-up gearbox (with a ratio of 50:1) in order to turn a direct current generator at its required operational speed . The development of modern vertical-axis rotors was begun in France by G.J.M. Darrieus in the 1920s. Of the several rotors Darrieus designed, the most important one is a rotor comprising slender, curved, airfoil-section blades attached at the top and bottom of a rotating vertical tube. Major development work on this concept did not begin until the concept was reinvented in the late 1960s by two Canadian researchers.
Wind energy as a power source is attractive as an alternative to fossil fuels, because it is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, and produces no greenhouse gas emissions. At the end of 2008, worldwide capacity of wind-powered generators was 121.2 gigawatts (GW). In 2008, wind power produced about 1.5% of worldwide electricity usage and is growing rapidly, having doubled in the three years between 2005 and 2008. Several countries have achieved relatively high levels of wind power penetration, such as 19% of stationary electricity production in Denmark, 11% in Spain and Portugal, and 7% in Germany and the Republic of Ireland in 2008. As of May 2009, eighty countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis.
Basic technology of wind power
Wind electric generator converts kinetic energy available in wind to electrical energy by using rotor, gearbox and generator.
Main components of a wind electric generator are:
6. Braking System.
7. Yaw System.
The Basic Process
The wind turns the blades of a windmill-like machine. The rotating blades turn the shaft to which they are attached. The turning shaft typically can either power a pump or turn a generator, which produces electricity.
Most wind machines have blades attached to a horizontal shaft. This shaft transmits power through a series of gears, which provide power to a water pump or electric generator. These are called horizontal axis wind turbines.
There are also vertical axis machines, such as the Darrieus wind machine, which has two, three, or four long curved blades on a vertical shaft and resembles a giant eggbeater in shape.
The amount of energy produced by a wind machine depends upon the wind speed and the size of the blades in the machine. In general, when the wind speed doubles, the power produced increases eight times. Larger blades capture more wind. As the diameter of the circle formed by the blades doubles, the power increases four times.
Why Wind Energy
Essential requirements for setting up a wind farm
An area where a number of wind electric generators are installed is known as a wind farm. The essential requirements for establishment of a wind farm for optimal exploitation of the wind are
1. High wind resource at particular site.
2. Adequate land availability.
3. Suitable terrain and good soil condition.
4. Proper approach to site.
5. Suitable power grid nearby.
6. Techno-economic selection of WEGs.
7. Scientifically prepared layout.
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