Interesting Wind Turbine Facts
When we consider that it was originally used as a source of power for river and sea bound ships millennia ago, we can see that man’s relationship with wind power is very much not a 21st Century thing. Factually speaking, wind is essentially the movement of air away from areas of high pressure, towards areas of low pressure. As the sun heats the earth’s surface and the hot air begins to rise, cold air (i.e. wind), via a mechanism known as the Hadley cell, moves in to fill the void.
Wind Energy and the UK
Wind power is an entirely renewable and inexhaustible resource. The wind turbines of today have power ratings from around 550 kW to 5MW, however most turbines installed commercially have an output rated at 1.5-3.5MW. Wind power serviced 2.49% of the UK’s energy needs in 2009, representing a 37% stake within the total renewable energy source available in the current infrastructure. It figures alongside biomass, biogas and hydro energy sources. This sector has been steadily increasing, however extensive expansion at in-land areas has been hampered by protest groups who object to the supposed ugliness of the structures and the noise pollution emitted. Off-shore farms have met some bio-diversity centred opposition however this has mostly been quashed. Studies have shown that off-shore wind speeds are on average circa 90% greater than those on shore; implicit of far greater potential of future wind generated energy.
The aerodynamics of a wind turbine are governed by complicated mathematical formulae, as the airflow passing the blades is not the same as the airflow further away from the main body of the turbine. However with regard to the output of wind turbines, it is important to note that both the area swept by the rotor and the cube of the wind speed are proportional to this output. This means that if you were to double the size of the area swept by the blades (not the size of the blades themselves), then the power generated would double. Furthermore, if the wind speed were to double, then the power output would increase by a factor of 8 – 2 X 2 X 2 (i.e. the cube of the wind speed).
Looking to buy a wind turbine from a specialist supplier in the UK? Contact Earthmill today on 01937 581011.