Equipment used in wind energy may take various forms. When wind energy is used for pumping water, a water pump is coupled to the wind turbine and as the turbine rotates, water is pumped out of a well or from any other water source available nearby. If on the other hand, it is used for grinding corn, a grinder or masher is attached to it. However, when wind energy is utilized for generating electric power, the equipment needed is a little more complex. To be precise, the following equipment or components are usually needed for generating electricity for average home consumption.
v Wind turbine (complete with generator with/without a gearbox)
v Transformer to convert the DC current generated by the turbine to 120V AC current for home consumption
v Battery bank to store the generated current for consumption later
v Electronic control system to switch the generated power to the battery bank or to a dummy load and if so planned, to the power grid.
v Some electrical wires and connectors
v Tower to hoist the turbine.
To start with, let us examine a wind turbine to see what secret it holds. However, I am afraid you would be sorely disappointed since it holds very little or no secret at all. In fact, it is just the opposite of an electric fan. While a fan rotates at high speed when electric current is applied to it, the turbine produces electric current as it turns spinning by wind energy. Of course, it may have Teflon coated bushes to lessen friction, etc but otherwise it is a glorified electric fan. Some turbines are provided with self adjusting gearboxes that hike the rpm of the rotor to produce more current. Turbines can be big or small – the small ones are meant for home use while the big ones are employed in an array to produce power in a mass scale like in a wind farm. Special attachments are also provided with turbines that make them face the wind automatically as and when wind direction is changed.
However, the capacity of a wind turbine is determined mostly by its rotor diameter which is specified below…
Ø Rotor diameter: 04 to 45 ft, hub height: 60 to 120 ft = Rated capacity: Less than 30 kW
Ø Rotor dia. : 46 to 100 ft, hub height:130 to 164 ft = Rated capacity: 30 to 500 kW
Ø Rotor dia. : 100 ft/more, hub height:164 to 260 ft = Rated capacity: 500 kW – 4.5 MW
Although most contemporary wind turbines fall into two basic categories – the Horizontal-axis type and the Vertical-axis type, the larger ones are usually Horizontal-axis types.
As for the transformers, they merely convert the DC current generated by the wind turbine to 120V AC for general purpose consumption.
As the turbine produces electricity all the while or as long as there is sufficient wind power, the resultant power needs to be stored in a battery bank for consumption as and when needed and so it is connected to the delivery end of the turbine. However, an electronic device works as a go between the two which separates the current flow to the batteries when they are fully charged as otherwise the batteries are likely get spoiled very quickly.
The last bit of implement consists of a rigid pole on the top of which the wind turbine is permanently housed.
You can now build your own wind power system and produce your personal wind power. And the best news is, neither is it too complicated, nor is it too costly. In fact, once your system is up and running, you can sure save a lot of money on your power bills. Plus when you go solar, you can also contribute to clean up the air as well. All you need to know is the equipment used in wind energy, where to get them cheaply from, how to set it up and wire the system, where to set it up in the home and also learn about the safety precautions that has to be followed always.