Harnessing Energy From Wind Power: Innovations And Advancements

by | Apr 28, 2024 | Renewable Energy, Wind Energy

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Our economy consumes energy; the sooner we can supplement and replace fossil-fuel-based power sources, the better. Fossil fuels have adverse side effects. The breakthroughs in wind technology that have been explored in the previous year or two serve as a reminder that, with the right equipment, we can transform the motion of the air above us into fuel for our energy-hungry lifestyles, making energy from wind power an excellent way to generate clean, renewable energy.

Wind Power Projects Need Precise Planning

Operating a wind power facility involves more than merely constructing wind turbines in a breezy location. Wind power plant owners must carefully select where to locate wind turbines, considering how quickly and frequently the wind blows at the site.

Wind turbines thrive in areas with yearly average wind speeds of 9 miles per hour (mph)—or 4.0 meters per second (m/s)—for small turbines and 13 mph (5.8 m/s) for utility-scale turbines. Favourable locations are the summits of smooth, rounded hills, broad plains and water, and mountain gaps that funnel and increase wind. Wind speeds increase as one moves above the earth’s surface. Large wind turbines are located on towers that reach from about 500 feet to as high as 900 feet tall.

energy from wind power

Source: EIA

Also Read: Interesting Wind Turbine Energy Facts You Must Know!

Innovations in Harnessing Energy from Wind Power

1. Airborne Wind Turbines

  • Makani Airborne Wind Turbine: The Makani Airborne Wind Turbine (AWT) can access more robust and more consistent energy from wind power at heights over 1,000 feet, potentially allowing for the use of wind resources in 85% of the US (compared to only 15% with current turbine technology). When installed in far-offshore waters, the Makani turbine might provide access to a renewable energy resource four times greater than the country’s electricity-generating capability.
  • Altaeros Airborne Wind Turbine: The Altaeros device uses a helium-filled inflatable shell to get to high elevations, where winds are stronger and more harmonious than in tower-mounted turbines; the electricity it creates is then tethered to the ground below. By taking advantage of these high-altitude winds, its gadget can lower energy costs by up to 65% and shorten the installation procedure from weeks to days.

2. Power from Low-Speed Winds

  • Wind Harvester: The Novel harnesses low-speed energy from wind power. Wind harvesters use horizontal aerofoils, similar to those found on aeroplanes, to generate reciprocating motion. Because they make almost no noise and can power homes moderately, they may help new installations acquire acceptability more quickly. Furthermore, they can operate in winds more robust than those generally encountered by current wind turbines.

3. Bladeless Wind Power

  • Windstalk: Windstalk technology utilizes stacked piezoelectric ceramic discs within hollow poles for bladeless wind power generation. Electrodes are sandwiched between two ceramic discs. Each pole has a cable running from top to bottom that connects every other electrode. Even-numbered electrodes are joined by one cable, whereas a separate cable links odd-numbered electrodes. The swaying of the poles in the wind compresses a stack of piezoelectric discs, causing an electrical current to flow between them.

4. Wind Turbine Lenses

  • Wind Lens: The Japanese study team doubts that a simple approach can enhance wind turbine efficiency threefold. They believe that by placing a “wind lens” around the turbine blades, wind power might become more cost-effective than nuclear power.

5. Vertical Axis Turbines

  • Windspire: The traditional Windspire is 30 feet tall and 4 feet wide, meeting most cities’ height limits. The 1.2 kW Windspire installed at the farm will generate around 2,000 kWh per year at average wind speeds of 11 mph, and its vertical axis structure has been tried to be only 6 dB louder than the surroundings.
  • Eddy Turbine: The eddy turbine is small and can run reliably in gusts up to 120 mph. It starts working at 3.5 m/s and stops at 30 m/s. With a 600-watt output, this turbine is intended to supplement solar panels by harnessing the energy from wind power.

6. Quiet Wind Turbines

  • Eco Whisper Turbine: The Eco Whisper wind turbine from Renewable Energy Solutions of Australia is an excellent choice. Although the developer claims the turbine is “virtually quiet,” its 20 kW power is little consolation. Some argue that it is also more effective.

7. Wind Power Storage

  • Manmade Island Wind Battery Concept: A typical type of energy storage, pumped hydro, is utilized on Green Power Island. In typically pumped hydro systems, extra energy is utilized to pump water from a lower reservoir to a higher reservoir during low-demand periods (off-peak). Electricity is generated when water is allowed to flow downhill into a lower reservoir in accordance with increasing demand.

8. Community-Owned Wind Power

  • Baywind Energy Cooperative: The wind farm, built in 1996 and the UK’s first community-owned wind plant, generates approximately 10,000 MWh of energy per year, enough to power about 30,000 homes. The project benefits its participants financially and environmentally and donates money to local schools for field excursions and environmental textbooks.

9. Multipurpose Offshore Wind Turbines

  • Seaweed Farms: Ecofys, a Dutch company, is leading a project to operationalize multipurpose offshore wind turbines for seaweed farms. The company recommends cultivating seaweed near offshore wind turbines for “the production of fish and animal feed, biofuels and electricity.”

Advancements in Wind Technology

Wind power is among the most promising renewable energy options. As turbine design has advanced, wind energy has become more efficient and cost-effective. Here are some advances in wind technology:

  • Offshore Wind Turbines: Maximum Energy Conversion

Wind technology developments have resulted in more extensive and powerful offshore wind turbines than onshore turbines. These turbines make use of more robust and more regular offshore winds, allowing electric engineers to generate energy at a faster rate. Because of their placement in the open water, offshore wind turbines necessitate specific installation and maintenance techniques. However, this does not impede rapid progress in offshore wind technology.

  • Skybrator: Harvesting Energy from Wind power from High Altitudes

Skybrator employs kites to harvest wind energy at high elevations. This method works by linking a kite to a generator on the ground, which generates electricity as the wind moves the turbine. The Skybrator has the potential to produce more energy than ordinary wind turbines since higher altitudes have more robust and more steady winds. Furthermore, this technology is less expensive and simpler to maintain than conventional wind turbines.

  • Wind Energy Storage Systems: Addressing Intermittent Power Generation

Wind power is a reliable renewable energy source, but one of its primary drawbacks is the intermittent nature of wind output. To address this issue, efficient energy storage technologies are required to store extra wind-generated electricity during low-demand periods and deliver it during peak-demand periods. Some of the most prevalent energy storage solutions for wind generation are batteries, pumped hydro storage, and compressed air energy storage.

In conclusion, some technologies are likely just a preview of what’s to come. Although some advances in energy from wind power are still in the concept stage, others are at the prototype or testing stage and may enter the energy market shortly. Energy from wind power generation has seen various promising advancements, including offshore wind, residential turbines, and community-owned turbines.

Also Read: The Rise Of Wind Power In Oklahoma: A Clean Energy Revolution

 

Author

  • Michael Thompson

    Michael Thompson is an esteemed expert in the renewable energy sector, with a profound experience spanning over 25 years. His expertise encompasses various sustainable energy solutions, including solar, wind, hydroelectric, and energy efficiency practices. Michael discusses the latest trends in renewable energy and provides practical advice on energy conservation.

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