All types of matter have energy. They can either be kinetic energy or potential energy. Anything that involves motion is considered as kinetic energy. Moving solid objects have kinetic energy. Water in a stream has kinetic energy. It may be difficult to imagine but even moving air or wind has kinetic energy. This said, any form of kinetic energy has the potential to be transformed into usable energy.
Many alternative forms of energy sources have taken advantage of this. Geothermal energy, hydroelectric energy and even wind energy serves as a great option especially in today’s rising fuel prices.
It is easy to determine how wind power works. You can just imagine the setup of a hydroelectric dam and its large turbines garnering the force of water. In the case of wind, turbines are used to capture the heat of the wind through its constant rotation. When the energy has been capture, it is then transferred into a generator, which stores and transforms energy into functional electricity. This is done through the rotor inside the generator spinning in loops of copper wire and iron core. The spinning ultimately achieves electromagnetic induction.
The Creation of Wind
Why does wind have a force strong enough to be harnessed, you may ask? Well, to further understand how wind power works, one needs to understand how wind is generated. Wind is created through the combination of hot air and cool air. Hot air is generated when the heat of the sun hits the land. Some of its heat is transferred in the air. As the hot air rises quickly because it is lighter than cool air, the cool air in turn tries to compensate for the air lost by filling in the gap. The attempt to fill the gap is what generates the wind. It is not a misconception to say then that wind power is actually a form of solar energy.
When a wind is strong enough, it can cause objects to move the same way it allows clothes in a clothesline to move. The blockage (in this case, the turbines) can capture some of its energy.
It would also be incomplete to discuss how wind power works without discussing the importance of turbine design. The tilt of the windmill is designed in such a way that even light wind allows it to rotate. It is important to note though that continuous strong winds are needed in order to create functional electricity. There are vertical-axis turbines but the most common are the horizontal axis-turbines, which look like typical windmills.
How Wind Power Works in Wind Turbines
The size of the turbine is the determinant of the output of electricity the turbine generates. Hence, the bigger the turbine, the more energy it can generate. Most household turbines are usually sized at 8 feet and can generate an average of 6 kilowatts
It is especially important in today’s depleting fossil fuels that transition between unrenewable to renewable energy be hastened. In this case, it is important to note how wind power works because it stands for 10% of how the world garners energy today. This is bound to rise more in the coming years.