Wind Turbines

How the technology works

In it’s simplest form wind turbines generate energy by using the power of the wind to drive a generator.

A wind turbine is made up of a number of components which together generate electricity. The main components are:

The Blades

A turbine normally has 2 or 3 blades that are used to convert the wind and drive a generator. The size and diameter of the blade will be dependent on the site of the wind turbines – the large the output, the larger the blade diameter. The blades are usually made up from fibreglass-reinforce polyester or wood-epoxy.

Nacelle

This is the box on top of the tower. It contains the inner workings of the wind turbine including the gearbox, generator and other controlls

Gearbox

The gearbox increases the speed the blades are turning and is linked to the generator

Generator

The generator actually produces the electricity in a similar way to fossil fuel power stations, by using magnetic fields.

The blades are forced around by the wind, which turns a shaft inside the Nacelle. The shaft is linked to a gearbox which increases the speed for the generator. The generator uses magnetic fields to convert the rotation into electricity. The electricity produced is in Direct Current (DC).

If the energy is going to be used on-site, then the energy is converted to Alternative Current (AC) by use of an inverter.

If the energy is being supplied direct to the National Grid, then the power goes to a transformer, which converts the elecricity from around 700volts to the right voltage for distrobution, around 33,000 V.

Instruments used to mearure the direction and the speed of the wind are fitted on top of the nacelle. As the wind direction changes, so does the nacelle and the blades. The nacelle is also fitted with brakes so that the turbine can stop generating in very high winds to prevent damage.

 
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