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Wind Power Generation Essential Concepts

Jurandir Primo, P.E.

This course of Wind Power Generation Essential Concepts is a basic introduction, of the most common wind turbines. Wind power turbine can be defined as a huge fan or a propeller moved by the wind, consisting of 3 blades that rotate, in a way that the axis of rotation must be aligned with the directionof the blowing wind. A gear box is used for converting the electric energy, using mechanical methods; hence, it is termed as a high-precision mechanical system. There are many different types of wind turbines, but the frequently used wind turbines are horizontal axis turbines and vertical axis turbines.

Renewable energy sources, such as, solar, wind, tidal, hydro, biomass, and geothermal have become significant sectors of the energy market. Wind turbines used in wind farms for electricity production are usually three-bladed, generally mounted onshore or offshore with computer-controlled motors. These have high tip speeds of over 320 km/h (200 mph), high efficiency and low torque, which contribute to good reliability. The blades are usually colored white for daytime visibility by aircraft, and range from 20 to 40 meters (66 to 131 ft) or more. The tubular steel towers range from 60 to 90 meters (200 to 300 ft) tall.

Two different types of turbines are common today: geared wind turbines or direct drive turbines. Direct drive turbines need a huge generator due to low rotation speed. Geared wind turbines are using a direct coupled gear box, also used for stepping up the speed of the small generator. Some models operate at constant speed, but more energy can be collected by variable-speed turbines which use a solid-state power converter to interface to the transmission system. All turbines are equipped with protective features to avoid damage at high wind speeds, by feathering the blades into the wind which ceases their rotation, supplemented by brakes.

This course includes a multiple-choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

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