Wind turbines work because they slow down the speed of the wind. The wind flows over the airfoil shaped blades causing lift, like the effect on airplane wings, causing them to turn. The blades are connected to a drive shaft that turns an electric generator to produce electricity.
Modern wind turbines are much more technologically advanced and some of them are equiped with wind tracking control systems. They use blades made of fiberglass or other high-strength materials to collect the wind’s kinetic energy. Large turbines are connected to the utility power network. Lots of large turbines could be connected to a wind farm. Small turbines are sometimes connected to diesel/electric generators or sometimes have a battery to store the extra energy they collect when the wind is blowing hard.
There are two types of wind turbines – wind turbines with the horizontal–axis and with the vertical–axis.
Wind turbines with a vertical axis
Such type of turbines need not be oriented with respect to wind direction, but they are not so efficient as the wind turbine with horizontal axis. Main component of the wind turbine with vertical axis are:
1 – upper hub
2 – central column
3 – lower hub
4 – gear box
5 – generator
6 – rotor blade
7 – rotor height
Wind turbine with horizontal axis
This is the most comment wind turbine design. The axis of blade rotation is parallel to the wind flow.
The main elements of vertical-axis wind machines are:
1 – rotor hub
2 – rotor blade
3 – transmission
4 – drive shaft
5 – generator
6 – nacelle
Main component of the wind turbine
Rotor is the portion of the wind turbine that collects energy from the wind. The number of blades that make up a rotor and the total area that they cover affect wind turbine performance.
Generator converts the turning motion of a wind turbine blades into electricity. Different type of generators produce either alternating current (AC) or direct current (DC).
Transmission (gear box) is used to increase the rotation of the generator to the speeds necessary for efficient electricity production.
Tower is not just a support structure. It used to raise the wind turbine so that its blades safely clear the ground and can reach the stronger winds at higher elevation.