Wind Energy Definition

Steven asks…

What is a definition of Wind Energy?

Im doing a physics report on alternative energy sources. Why we are doing basic science in physic, i am unaware, but i still need an answer (:
Thanks!

Windmill Farms answers:

Energy received from the movement of the wind across the earth. This energy is a result of the heating of our oceans, earth, and atmosphere by the sun.

Sandra asks…

Definitions and descriptions of these typesof alternate energy: solar,geothermal, hydro,wind,hydrogen,biomass?

I have a report due tomorrow… I need to define and describe the following alternate energy types:
solar, geothermal, hydro, wind, hydrogen, and biomass.

Windmill Farms answers:

Solar energy is energy that comes directly from the sun. There’s two basic forms of current solar, solar thermal and photovoltaic. Solar-thermal heats a liquid that causes pressure to build and that turns a turbine. (turbines spin in magnets creating electricity) Photovoltaic gets electricity from the sun directly. Silicon has the property that it sheds electrons when sunlight hits it. There’s no fancy mechanical hookup or anything. The only trick is to have a wire that collects the spare electrons that are electricity.

Geothermal is heat from the earth, this would be geysers, volcanoes and other trapped heated pockets within the earth. This heat creates pressure, that’s used to turn a turbine.

Hydro is water, dams mostly, where water is stored at a high level and released through a turbine that produces electricity.

Wind is the wind mills you see, that’s directly hooked to a turbine creating electricity.

Hydrogen is a gas, and I don’t think belongs on this list. It’s a fuel and not a type of alternative energy. If she wants it in there I’d say that it’s for direct burning through an internal combustion engine, or through fuel cells. Fuel cells take Hydrogen and run them through a membrane that strips electrons while mixing the Hydrogen with Oxygen. (H20)

Biomass is burning, or converting used plant material creating heat and turning a turbine to get energy. They can make a fuel from biomass that can be burned later.

Nancy asks…

What is the wind? (just a good Definition of it)?

is it when the trees move they make the wind or is the wind making the trees move

Windmill Farms answers:

Wind is the flow of air or other gases that compose an atmosphere (including, but not limited to, the Earth’s).

Forces which drive wind or affect it are the pressure gradient force, the Coriolis force, buoyancy forces, and friction forces. When a difference in pressure exists between two adjacent air masses, the air tends to flow from the region of high pressure to the region of low pressure. On a rotating planet, flows will be acted upon by the Coriolis force, in regions sufficiently far from the equator and sufficiently high above the surface.

The two major driving factors of large scale global winds are the differential heating between the equator and the poles (difference in absorption of solar energy between these climate zones), and the rotation of the planet.

Winds defined by an equilibrium of physical forces are used in the decomposition and analysis of wind profiles. They are useful for simplifying the atmospheric equations of motion and for making qualitative arguments about the horizontal and vertical distribution of winds. Examples are:

Geostrophic wind (wind that is a result of the balance between Coriolis force and pressure gradient force; flows parallel to isobars and approximates the flow above the atmospheric boundary layer in the midlatitudes if frictional effects are low)
Thermal wind (not actually a wind but a wind difference between two levels; only exists in an atmosphere with horizontal temperature gradients, i.e. Baroclinicity)
Ageostropic wind (difference between actual and geostrophic wind; the wind component which is responsible for air “filling up” cyclones over time)
Gradient wind (like geostrophic wind but also including centrifugal force)

Linda asks…

A list of non polluting energy sources?

For science class I need a list of energy sources. I know solar power and wind power. Anything else?

Windmill Farms answers:

Depends on the definition of “non-polluting.”

Solar, Wind, Hydro, and Nuclear are all emission free, and therefore do not produce “pollution” but all energy sources will create waste.

The photovoltaic cells in solar require a ton of petroleum to make, and therefore create a lot of pollution in the initial stage of development (they’re better for the environment long-term, though).

Wind turbines have generators that wear out and must be replaced, and they don’t really generate much electricity anyway.

Hydro dams block up fish migration, and destroy fish habitats.

Nuclear power creates nuclear waste that must be stored away safely until it reaches half-life, which could be billions of years.

So, to answer your question, there really is NO energy source that is completely pollution-free. Even the energy we (humans) produce (from calories) creates pollution in the form of fat cells and excrement.

Additional info: Kira is right, geothermal heat is not waste-producing, but it’s very restrictive in terms of geographical location. There are plenty of things that generate energy without waste, but the problem is harnessing that energy for human consumption. For example: coal is energy in the form of “potential energy” – it’s the conversion process of taking this “potential energy” into “kinetic energy” (by burning it and using the heat to generate pressure into an electric generator) that creates pollution.

John asks…

Can the world ever be totally reliant on clean sources of energy?

BQ: Name a few clean, reliable sources of energy.

Windmill Farms answers:

Depends on what you call “clean”. Most people define clean as meaning: Free from fossil fuels. And under that definition, yes we can be “clean”.

However, the word clean (and some environmentalist take up this definition) implies that it doesn’t disrupt the surrounding environment. Its why some environmentalist don’t like dams and don’t view them as “clean” energy anymore because it dramatically changes the landscape and hurts the fish that use the river, especially salmon during spawning season. Similar things can be said of windmills and solar panels. Windmills disrupt wind patterns which causes bad turbulence down wind and birds occasionally get killed by the blades. Also solar panels absorb energy/heat and would take up VAST amounts of land to absorb the energy needed to support major cities. And under this definition of “clean energy” it is absolutely impossible to be clean with current technologies.

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Vertical Wind Power Systems

Charles asks…

Have you built a low-wind-speed electrical energy system?

The winds in our area are 2 to 10 miles an hour over 70% of the year. Do you know any one who has experience with this low-wind-speed? Do you know how I would be able to compute the size of the wind mill I’d need to get say:100 watts of power. I do not want net feed. I just want to run a few lights and possibly a fan. I have considered battery storage and that appears possible. Is it wise? Thanks for the help.

Windmill Farms answers:

Check Pacwind.com. They offer low wind vertical turbines, however they will need an electric motor hooked to them in order to to start the turbine in low wind conditions but once they start turning they are self sufficient.

William asks…

Overhead Powerlines – hotizontal or vertical?

Hello…
So all the geographers have left the office -Does anyone know if the overhead power lines in Scotland are verticle or horizontal and if so are there any weather related disadvantages to these? i.e. are they more vulnerable to highwinds, snow weight because of their structure…. This is not homework.. I am generally just interested…. Thank you :)

Jennifer
I thought that was a clear question… but thank you Steven for asking me to ‘think about it’ … just to clarify… I am not referring to the sky as vertical…I am interested to know if power lines run East-West – i.e the width of Scotland or are they positioned North-South..i.e. the length…

Windmill Farms answers:

Whycantigetagoodnickname has given you the best answer as far as I am concerned. I do have a few additional items to add to his comments since I have had years of experience designing power lines at various voltage levels.

Almost all line designs used by power companies follow a standard set of engineering requirements, such as modulus of elasticity for the poles used, height vs. Diameter, typical average maximum wind load, ice load, span length, conductor tension, guying systems, on and on.

They use these standards to create a cookbook method of planning and designing the power line unless there is a special condition that must be taken into account. Such as placing a power line at the edge of cliff may result if effective wind speeds twice that allowed for in the line design standard.

Why not design the line for each location? Costs too much and the average will usually work 90% of the time. Thus there are always some conditions that will take a line down. Can we build it to withstand a super-storm. Yes, but at what cost?

As far a East-West, North-South, as has been stated, the lines follow the path of “least cost” from the supply to the customer location.

One other item, there is a line design that pays attention to horizontal vs. Vertical construction of the line. Meaning in this case the wires are all at the same height (horizontal construction) or they are place one above the other (vertical construction)’ Horizontal line construction gives the best ground clearance vs. Pole height, vertical line construction gives a better distribution of mechanical loading on the pole so a slightly smaller pole may be used and makes it easier to turn corners.

Hope this adds to your understanding,

Newton1Law

Joseph asks…

What is a good air turbine system for green energy to be used at homes?

Any more details about installation, cost, upkeep, electricity generated… would be great.

Windmill Farms answers:

What is your current power usage per day? What are your local regulations? Any neighborhood covenants? How close are your neighbors? Noise like some wind turbines can create in suburbs are not always appreciated. How high are the trees? Any large buildings close by? What is your budget?

Look at the offerings in the alternative energy section of http://www.northerntool.com They have 2 different styles of systems that might work for you.

Another type of wind plant is vertical axis. One style of VAWT is sold by http://www.wepower.us/

Once you know what your power demand is, you can determine what size of power generation you need to charge your battery bank at the same time you are drawing a moderate load from the system.

The amount of money in your budget once all other things are known might be the determining factor of what system is “best” in your area. One way to help make it work is to do what you can to reduce your current power consumption patterns.

You can also find some useful info here too:

http://www.awea.org/

The key is to understand what you need, and the limitations of any system. Do the research yourself rather than rely on a magazine like homepower. It is “ok” magazine, but it is written more as a compilation of sales brochures.

Save your money, use the web. You can actually find a lot of information about the strong points and weakpoints of various maufacturers by seeing what people have to say on youtube. Those systems that fail get a lot of coverage there. There is also a lot of information on what works well there too.

There is going to periodic maintanence on your batteries, periodic inspection of the wind turbine blades (especially composites). Routine inspections of the tower, the wiring between the wind plant and the house, these will vary from every week for batteries to annualy.

A wind plant by itself may not be adequate for power generation depending on your usage patterns, weather, and how much constant wind you get.

Make no assumptions. Your total energy output for a month may not be as great as you thought it would be.

Installation costs vary greatly, and if you have no mechanical aptitude of your own, expect towards the higher end of any cost estimate from any installation contractor.

If you have a high degree of aptitude, you can save yourself some money, the only thing is most of those types of how to’s you have to search out on the web, homepower magazine rarely has any of those, they are few and far between when they do.

Mandy asks…

Anyone useing a Wind Turbine?

I’m trying to get some infomation on companies that sell and install Wind turbines “Wind Mills” that produce electricty for the home.
There has to be people useing them and companies that sell and install them but i just have’nt found any yet.

I have a wind farm near me but i need the smaller home version so any help is aprisheated.
I will pick the beast answer 10 points
Thanx
Example
http://www.pronto.com/mpm/Skystream-3.7-Wind-Turbine-p_1062728120-PP

Windmill Farms answers:

Wind turbines for home use seem to be limited to 12v systems because of the varying speeds of the blades. AC power requires a constant speed. Also there is a direct relationship between the size (surface area) of the rotor and the amount of energy the turbine can generate. A small house located in a moderate wind area would require a rotor about 14-18 foot in diameter. A vertical shaft turbine could be smaller but you must also consider lock down in a hurricane or really bad storm.

Chris asks…

How to make (hand made ) a wind mild (turbine) using recycled materials to get energy?

I want to install six lamps, and build a wind turbine (from recycled materials), in order it to be ecologically clean.I have a small budget.

Windmill Farms answers:

Keep in mind that wind turbines work best when used to charge batteries, otherwise their power will fluctuate with the wind. Also, a wind turbine should be placed as far from vertical objects as possible to capture the best wind, and as high as you can feasibly support it. Roof tops are not good locations either, as they will damage the roof, and the turbulence will cause the turbine to break frequently.

To be cost effective (ie: not use an inverter to change the electricity from DC to AC) you would need to buy special lamps and bulbs that run on DC electricity, these may be expensive and hard to find in certain sizes, and running 6 lamps on one circuit is pushing the limits of such a system. You should also buy a few deep cycle batteries (regular car batteries are not acceptable unless you only plan to use the light very rarely). Be warned, while batteries don’t seem dangerous, they can be explosive, and if you connect them incorrectly, or don’t have the proper monitoring system you can easily ruin them, and possibly start a fire or kill someone. Learn about it before you get started.

But if none of that deters you, here is a link to a nice little how-to video of a guy inexpensively recycling old parts into a turbine.

Http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-_g5AQ-GbAs&feature=related

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Renewable Energy Sources List

Lizzie asks…

List if renewable and nonrenewable energy sources and the advantages and disadvantages?

Windmill Farms answers:

Renewable resources include such energies as wind, solar (sun) power, geothermal (heat from the ground) and hydro (water). They are beneficial for the Earth because they do not produce harmful emissions and can, theoretically, last forever. They are often considered a hindrance (or just annoying) to society because they are rarely cheap to harness (or at least not cheaper than fossil fuels) and a suitable infrastructure is not properly in place for such energies.

Non-renewable resources, on the other hand, include such energies as fossil fuels (this is turned from crude oil into gasoline), natural gases (burnt in many processes for energy), wood (this is considered non-renewable if the rate at which it is used is greater than the rate at which it is created), coal (burnt in many processes for energy) and pretty much any Hydrocarbon. Non-renewable resources are considered useful and valuable because they are generally cheap to use and have been used throughout history. For this reason, the infrastructure around non-renewable resources is substantially greater than that of its renewable counterpart. These energies cause a greater problem than they solve because went used, they produce harmful emissions such as carbon dioxide. These chemicals are detrimental to one’s health and are a contributing factor in the Greenhouse Effect (the leading cause of global warming in the world).

Obviously, renewable resources pose a brighter prospect for the future.

I hope this was an informative answer!

Robert asks…

Can u list some different types of renewable energy sources?

im writtting a essay i have windmill energy and solar power

Windmill Farms answers:

The main renewable sources of energy to generate electricity are:

1.Hydro-power (use of water from rivers, dams, tides and ocean waves)

2.Wind energy (using wind turbines)

3.Solar power (using the power of the sun to heat water or produce electricity)

4.Geothermal (using the heat deep under the earth’s crust)

5.Ocean Thermal (using surface heat and deep cold water)

6.Biofuel (producing ethanol from organic material like switch-grass, corn and sugar cane husks)

Chris asks…

give me list of the GD topics for renewable energy sources?

Windmill Farms answers:

Renewable energy sources:

You can discuss on topics related with

Solar Power,
Wind Power and
Bio mass.

Here Bio mass is one which has good potential and is economical in comparission to others.

In India Gobar Gas based electricity generation units can be made all over i.e. In almost all villages. I believe this is the best source for us since it will not only give us electricity but its waste slurry is a very good compost and this saves us from using chemical based fertilisers.

So, I think discussion on these topics will be the best. Hydro based, Nuclear based and Coal based power generation units are not good and are very polluting or dangerous or require lot of land area hurting agriculture.

Thomas asks…

List 3 renewable and 3 nonrenewable energy sources?

List 3 renewable and 3 nonrenewable energy sources
, list at least 4 advantages and 4 disadvantages of each
List 3 renewable and 3 nonrenewable energy sources
, list at least 4 advantages and 4 disadvantages of each . IT’S NOT AN ESSAY, IT’S A FOOD FOR THOUGHT QUESTION!

Windmill Farms answers:

Renewable:
Solar
Wind Turbines
Draft Horses

Not renewable:
Coal
Oil
Natural Gas

Solar
advantages:
Quiet
Long lasting (if properly installed)
zero emisions
relatively compact (fits on peoples roofs)
Disadvantages:
Cloudy, rainy, snowy days
Hail (!!)
Climbing onto the roof and washing the dust off them
Batteries often used in conjunction with them.

Wind Turbines
Advantages:
Relatively quiet
Extremely modist waste produced
Continued use of the land they stand on for farming
Tourist attraction (odd, but true)

Disadvantages:
Climbing 300 feet up a lader to repair them.
Some people do not like they way the look (I do however)
“Foghorning” (serrious noise) when in need of grease/repair
Tourist attraction (tourist are both possitive & negative)

Draft Horses
Advantages:
Reproduce themselves
Manure (fertilizes the crops)
Tourist draw when working with them
“Start” even in the coldest weather (when tractors will not)

Disadvantages:
Flies
Manure (draws flies)
Tourist…who are usually complete idiots when it comes to horses
Need time off (unlike a tractor than can run all day)

Not renewable:

Coal
Advantages:
coal found/used in areas where there’s not a lot of hydro power.
Employes a lot of people to mine and tansports
Unable to come up with other reasonable advantages.

Disadvantages:
mining and harm to the earth
Death of miners, both fast (cave in) and slow (lungs).
Pollution as it burns
Must be transported after being mined

Oil
Advantages:
Employes a lot of people
Our only current means of transporting large numbers of people (gas/oil/fuel)
I can come up with no other reasonable advantages

Disadvantages:
Oil spills
Transportation and pumping costs
Financial support of terorist countries
Harm to wildlife habitat

Natural Gas

Advantages:
A by-product that use to just be burned of but is now used
Employes large numbers of people
Burns cleanly
Relatively inexpensive

Disatvantages:
Exsposive
Transportation/shipping/piping costs
Toxic if acidentally released (without burning)
Support of terrorist countries

~Garnet
Homesteading/Farming over 20 years

John asks…

What is the best renewable energy source?

Please, just answer this if you really KNOW :) For a country that has sun, wind and geothermal areas, and lots of it all, in which order should these resources be used as energy sources, considering cost of production, land use and amount of energy production

Windmill Farms answers:

This answer is not as simple as which one is best… There are many factors that would largely be based on geographical Location. For instance it would not make much sense to install solar energy collection systems in areas that too far north because they simply do not get enough direct sunlight to be viable. Likewise placing a wind system in an area where sustained winds are rare would do no good. The other thing to consider is where are the consumers for the energy located in comparison to the locations of the energy system. Placing large wind farms in the Dakotas ( two of the states with the largest wind sources in the nation ) really doesn’t do the nation any good because you cannot transport the energy very far. The neighboring states is about all the further the benefit would reach. The same goes for placing large solar collection stations in Arizona or Nevada. You could power nearby cities but you really can only transfer the energy so far.

That is based on large scale energy collection systems. If you are interested in something residential then it is a different story.

Currently the best of the 3 options may surprise you… It is GeoThermal. But not geothermal energy production… Merely usage. If you were to install a Ground-source heat-pump in your home you would save up to 70% on the energy you currently use. These systems are proven and have been around a long time. The price range is reasonable NOW unlike other options. Prices can range from $2500 + for install depending on the situation and if you need to tear-out an existing system. The land usage is underground so you just need space to have a crew come in and dig. The unit would pay for itself in savings within a few years. Total amount of energy that the system would save is much more than the amount it takes to put the system in place (thus giving it a smaller Carbon footprint). Even though this system does not produce energy it uses existing energy and greatly reduces the amount of energy that a residence requires.

Photoelectric solar panels are very inefficient and very expensive to produce. The amount of energy that it takes to produce a solar panel is actually MORE than the amount of energy that the panel will be able to produce within it’s lifetime. ( given an average lifespan of the panel and current technology ) While the panel may save YOU money and energy, it costs the enviroment more energy than it can recoupe.

A Wind system costs less in money and energy to produce than solar but still has some of the same draw backs. Both systems require battery banks and extra wiring systems before something could be used. Wind and sun are both non-consistent sources so days when the sun is weak or the wind is down you receive no benefit.

All three systems are currently only supplimentary at best. We don’t have the technology to use any single source by itself completely. Solar and Wind both require better energy storage techniques to suppliment days of low production. Geothermal heat/cooling systems still require another source of energy. Solar systems need to become much more efficient before they are truly viable except for providing power in very remote locations.

In terms of providing large scale benefits to the masses using industrial sized verions of these energy sources we need to find ways to transport energy over greater distances with better super-conductors or microwave technology or something new.

Currently I would list the three sources in order of energy benefit in this order.

Geothermal
Wind
Solar

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Wind Power Generator

George asks…

How do I build wind power generator?

Hi,

I have heard about a lot of people who have build their own wind power generators. I am looking to setup one at my house and was wondering where I can get more information on how to build my own wind power generator.

Any help would be much appreciated

Windmill Farms answers:

Check out the DIY section of the site below, you can save money while doing something for our environment.

Robert asks…

Do you have information about a solar and wind generator combo?

Hi, I’ve heard that there are wind powered generator that also have solar panels?
The idea is to have enhanced reliability.
Do you know where can I find information about it? Anywhere in the world is fine!
Thank you!

Windmill Farms answers:

You can build a system that consists of solar panels and a wind powered gererator. In this case you can use whatever windmill you like and whatever solar panels you like.

Try:

http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=solar+panels&y=Search+the+Web&ei=UTF-8&fr=FP-tab-web-t400&x=wrt&meta=vl%3Dlang_en%26vl%3Dlang_de

And:
http://search.yahoo.com/search?p=wind+generator&fr=FP-tab-web-t400&toggle=1&cop=&ei=UTF-8

Thomas asks…

What motor should I use for a DIY Mini Wind Turbine?

I read that stepper motors from old tape drives or dot-matrix printers are low rpm and good for making wind turbines, but I can’t find either of those for the life of me. Are there any other common household items that would have a suitable motor to use as a wind power generator?

Windmill Farms answers:

I would agree the previous answer. You seem to require a small motor, a PMDC is what you require.

YOu can find them anywhere….look at old toys that run on batteries, cordless tools that are broken, there are lots of them in junk cars (look for the window washer pump, or power mirror motors).

Nice place to one brand new is at Jameco on the internet.
They have Mabuchi, Johnson Electric, Star, and Igarashi DC motors…try the blow link. Good luck.

Http://www.jameco.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/CategoryDisplay?storeId=10001&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&categoryId=351530

Mark asks…

Do gliders have any kind of avionics?

Radios, tansponder, anything? Can they? No electrical system, I know, but maybe a wind powered generator?

Windmill Farms answers:

If it has a wind powered generator, then that would cause more drag, -and that would be a drag!!

Nancy asks…

how to make a wind powered generator?

i wanted to make a wind powered generator for science fair. i was wondering about the part that generates the electricity if it was called a DC motor?

Windmill Farms answers:

It is called a generator but is more or less the same thing. On a motor, electricity flows through a wire coil that is surrounded by magnets. The current causes a central shaft to turn. On a generator an power source turn the shaft to cause a current in the coils.

It should be relative easy to make a crude generator as long as you have resources.

Http://www.metacafe.com/watch/912594/simple_electric_generator/

I will let you figure out the wind part of the project. Good Luck.

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Advantages Of Wind Power Over Fossil Fuels

Robert asks…

What are the advantages of a fossil fuel power plant?

Windmill Farms answers:

They are more flexible in terms of conversion to different fuels, a coal plant can use different types of coal with out being significantly changed.
Fossil fuels are high in energy, compact in form, easily transportable, and safe to store and handle. Fossil fuel power plants are cheap to build, and relatively cheap to scrub the exhaust of particulates.
They are cheap to maintain, and require a less educated maintainance and specialized team than something like nuclear or wind power.
They have a low impact of the environment when they undergo catastrophic failure.
They worn out parts are easy and cheap to recycle.
They are very very reliable

Richard asks…

pros and cons of fossil fuels?

I need five different advantages & disadvantages to
1) Petrolium (oil)
2)Wind power

THANKS SO MUCH!

Windmill Farms answers:

Petroleum
Advantage.
1. Lots of BTU’s per unit of oil.
2. 95% of all electric generators run of some type of petroleum product.
3. Plastic – billions of uses
4. Past advantage ( fueled the industrial revolution )
5. Relatively cheap when considering the price of other forms of electricity ( Example corn based ethanol. The government pushing this option drove the price of food up, and it still has not come down to original price )

Disadvantage
1. Expensive to find
2. Pollution
3. Environmental hazard if not contained
4. US will invade countries to get it. ( War )
5. Limited resources

Wind power
Advantage
1. No pollution
2. Cheap ( except for the initial cost of wind mill farm )
3. Natural resource – will never run out
4. Can make electricity anywhere there is wind
5. I think they look neat : yes, lame, I know

Disadvantage
1. Need massive wind farms
2. No wind = no power
3. Expensive initial cost
4. It will take millions of wind mills to generate all the electricity we get from oil
5. If the wind is to high, the generators need to be shut down.

George asks…

HElP science project about wind power?

well here are the questions:
1. Explains how wind power gives us heat energy (thermal energie)
2.Name three advantages and three disadvantages of wind power.
3.According to you, what a great question in relation to wind power we should test, be very specific.

Windmill Farms answers:

1. Wind powers an electric generator, and the electricity goes to your house, where a resistive element converts the electrical energy to heat energy ( or by using a heat pump, which does the same but using a different method).

2.
A) no carbon dioxide produced, no global warming.
B) no acid rain produced
c) no wasting fossil fuels needed for other uses
a1)birds can be killed by the rotating blades
a2)wind farms tend to be ugly and require lots of land area
a3)wind may not blow when energy is needed

3. We need to test whether the wind farm will pay for itself in a reasonable time, be profitable for investors, and provide reasonably priced energy for rate payers.

Sharon asks…

Fossil Fuel Alternatives ?

Some help guys.. Name the problems created by fossil fuels.. and then can you pick an alternative energy source and explain its advantages and disadvantages, (Solar energy, hydroelectric, wind geothermal, nuclear, hydrogen burning, tidal power, biomass)…

Just hearing how somebody else would answer this would really help out. Thanks

Windmill Farms answers:

Burning fossil fuels produce greenhouse gases, which leads to the earth’s climate getting warmer. Solar would be a good alternative since the sun shines everywhere, but solar panels require land space and they use poisonous chemicals which could be an environmental hazard if the chemical leaks out of the panel.

Michael asks…

what are the advantages and disadvantages of having nuclear power plants?

Windmill Farms answers:

Advantages:
1. Produces of a large scale of power, competitive with a combustion fuel plant. Wind, solar, and hydroelectric cannot easily compete.

2. High upper limit temperature, thus the ability to make an efficient power cycle.

3. No exhaust gas exists as bi-products out of a smoke stack, therefore it doesn’t pollute the air.

Disadvantages:
1. Difficult to dispose of solid nuclear waste
2. Safety of operation is a large challenge. Nuclear power plants have more failure modes to design against than their fossil fuel competition.

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Wind Energy Conversion System

Lizzie asks…

Which NIT should I take admission in Electrical engineering with rank a AIR EE1283 OBC…?

I am a student of Electrical Engineering and ranked AIR EE1283 OBC in 2012.

I am mainly interested in doing m tech in ‘Power System‘ and also have interest in ‘Power Electronic Drives’. On the basis of Placement after m tech, which NIT will be best choice for me…?
If provided a list of best NITs with best subjects for m tech , that will be really helpful to me to take admission for m tech.

Windmill Farms answers:

NIT-TRICHY…………

This Course aims at training graduate engineers in the field of Power Systems. This course deals with the state of the art techniques in Power System analysis, stability evaluation planning, reliability and forcasting. The course Also covers subjects on high voltage DC transmission, Industrial electronics and controls, Power electronics and drives, wind and solar energy electric conversion systems and advanced topics in micro processors and micro controllers which are very much needed for today’s power system engineer. Projects of practical relevance in these areas of carried out in the final semester of the course.

Http://www.nitt.edu/home/academics/departments/eee/programmes/mtech/

Good Luck…….!!!!!!

Chris asks…

Will solar energy finally be respected as the earths most powerful resource?

Its our most abundant resource and it creates life instead of destroying it.
Big Oil and Big Coal were at one point VERY EXPENSIVE and then lowered in price when it became common and popular. Yet the pollution from both is at the very least bad for mankinds lives.
PVC cells come from Silicon which is the 2nd most prevalent resource on earth. The technology is NOT NEW. Its actually over 40 years old.
It can be put literally anywhere as it has nothing to do with temperature.
Sunlight is sunlight.
Many countries where there is less sun do not need solar PVC energy. Iceland where it is dark 3 months out of the year depend on geothermal and hydroelectric energy to power 100% of the country.
Hydroelectric,Wind,Nuclear and Geothermal energy can provide all the energy the USA needs in the evening hours.
A solar PVC system 3 times the size of Rhode Island can power the entire USA during the day. This easily fits in empty areas of Utah,Arizona and Nevada.
And there is room for more !!
Batteries are not needed as I described. The power would go directly into the grid after conversion thru an inverter.
We already displace much more area thru refineries, coal plants, natural gas plants, oil platforms and oil fields than solar installations would take up. No pollutants would come from the installations that would need MINIMAL MAINTENANCE compared to oil and coal installations.
Even on cloudy days we still receive a massive amount of sunlight. We would not be taking anything like oil or coal as a resource. Over 95% of sunlight is already wasted.

Windmill Farms answers:

You make an important point. The sun energy powers solar cells and drives the wind and waves.
A new solar power cell claimed an energy conversion efficiency of 42%, gasoline motors have a lower efficiency. Solar power cells can be placed on top of homes, deserts, carports, hangars, garages, etc. At the current price of oil they are already the most cost-effective -and the price of oil will continue to increase, thanks to our “friends and enemies.”

MIT is developing a floating windmill which would allow thousands of huge windmills (each 5 MW) all over the oceans most too far to provide power with a cable.
To collect the energy they could use the electricity, and highly pure water, to make Hydrogen. The same ships that collect the hydrogen would bring the highly purified water.
These windmills are designed to survive storms but can be driven to other locations to avoid one or avoid bird routes.
Their total power capacity could, eventually, exceed that of oil and nuclear power combined.

Laura asks…

what is the use of thermal converter in waster to energy conversion?

Windmill Farms answers:

The use of a thermal converter means higher efficiency.
From the reference below:
Generally, “conversion” refers to the replacement of fossil-fuel resources with alternative fuels or technologies; “thermal efficiency improvements” refers to the recovery of waste heat or steam produced in any commercial or industrial processes; and “solid waste conversion” refers to the use of waste to produce energy and the utilization of such energy. Eligible technologies include solar-thermal systems, photovoltaic systems, wind, biomass, landfill gas, and waste-recovery systems.

Donald asks…

whats a better form of solar energy?

the sterling engine or Photovoltaics?
explain why at least people!

Windmill Farms answers:

Solar Energy
I INTRODUCTION

Solar Energy, radiation produced by nuclear fusion reactions deep in the Sun’s core (see Nuclear Energy). The Sun provides almost all the heat and light Earth receives and therefore sustains every living being.

Solar energy travels to Earth through space in discrete packets of energy called photons (see Electromagnetic Radiation). On the side of Earth facing the Sun, a square kilometer at the outer edge of our atmosphere receives 1,400 megawatts of solar power every minute, which is about the capacity of the largest electric-generating plant in Nevada. Only half of that amount, however, reaches Earth’s surface. The atmosphere and clouds absorb or scatter the other half of the incoming sunlight. The amount of light that reaches any particular point on the ground depends on the time of day, the day of the year, the amount of cloud cover, and the latitude at that point. The solar intensity varies with the time of day, peaking at solar noon and declining to a minimum at sunset. The total radiation power (1.4 kilowatts per square meter, called the solar constant) varies only slightly, about 0.2 percent every 30 years. Any substantial change would alter or end life on Earth.

II INDIRECT COLLECTION OF SOLAR ENERGY

People can make indirect use of solar energy that has been naturally collected. Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, and plant life, for example, collect solar energy that people later extract to power technology.

The Sun’s energy, acting on the oceans and atmosphere, produces winds that for centuries have turned windmills and driven sailing ships (see Wind Energy). Modern windmills are strong, light, weather-resistant, aerodynamically designed machines that produce electricity when attached to generators.

Approximately 30 percent of the solar power reaching Earth is consumed by the continuous circulation of water, a system called the water cycle or hydrologic cycle. The Sun’s heat evaporates water from the oceans. Winds transport some of the water vapor from the oceans over the land where it falls as rain. Rainwater seeps into the ground or collects into streams or lakes and eventually returns to the ocean. Thus, radiant energy from the Sun is transformed to potential energy of water in streams and rivers. People can tap the power stored in the water cycle by directing these flowing waters through modern turbines. Power produced in this way is called hydroelectric power. See Waterpower; Dam.

The oceans also collect and store solar energy. A significant fraction of the Sun’s radiation reflects or scatters from the water’s surface. The remaining fraction enters the water and rapidly diminishes with depth as the energy is absorbed and converted to heat or chemical energy. This absorption creates differences in temperature between layers of water in the ocean called temperature gradients. In some locations, these differences approach 20°C (36°F) over a depth of a few hundred meters. These large masses of water existing at different temperatures create a potential for generating power. Energy flows from the high-temperature water to the low-temperature water (see Thermodynamics). The flow can be harnessed, to turn a turbine to produce electricity for example. Such systems, called ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) systems, require enormous heat exchangers and other hardware in the ocean to produce electricity in the megawatt range. Almost all of the major United States OTEC experiments in recent years have taken place in Hawaii.

Plants, through photosynthesis, convert solar energy to chemical energy, which fuels plant growth. People, in turn, use this stored solar energy through fuels such as wood, alcohol, and methane that are extracted from the plant life (biomass). Fossil fuels such as oil and coal are derived from geologically ancient plant life. People also eat and digest plants, or animals fed on plants, to obtain energy for their bodies.

III DIRECT COLLECTION OF SOLAR ENERGY

People have devised two main types of artificial collectors to directly capture and utilize solar energy: flat plate collectors and concentrating collectors. Both require large surface areas exposed to the Sun since so little of the Sun’s energy reaches Earth’s surface. Even in areas of the United States that receive a lot of sunshine, a collector surface as big as a two-car garage floor is needed to gather the energy that one person typically uses during a single day.

A Flat Plate Collectors

Flat plate collectors are typically flat, thin boxes with a transparent cover that are mounted on rooftops facing the Sun. The Sun heats a blackened metal plate inside the box, called an absorber plate, that in turn heats fluid (air or water) running through tubes within the collector. The energy transferred to the carrier fluid, divided by the total solar energy that falls on the collector, is called the collector efficiency. Flat plate collectors are typically capable of heating carrier fluids up to 82°C (180°F). Their efficiency in making use of the available energy varies between 40 and 80 percent, depending on the type of collector.

These collectors are used for water and space heating. Homes employ collectors fixed in place on roofs. In the Northern Hemisphere, they are oriented to face true south (± 20°); in the Southern Hemisphere, they are oriented to face north. For year-round applications such as providing hot water, they are tilted relative to the horizontal at an angle equal to the latitude ± 15°.

In addition to the flat plate collectors, typical hot-water and space heating systems include circulating pumps, temperature sensors, automatic controllers to activate the circulating pump, and a storage device. Either air or a liquid (water or a water-antifreeze mixture) can be used as the fluid in the solar heating system. A rock bed or a well-insulated water storage tank typically serves as an energy storage medium.

B Concentrating Collectors

For applications such as air conditioning, central power generation, and many industrial heat requirements, flat plate collectors cannot provide carrier fluids at high enough temperatures to be effective. They may be used as first-stage heat input devices; the temperature of the carrier fluid is then boosted by other conventional heating means. Alternatively, more complex and expensive concentrating collectors can be used. These devices reflect the Sun’s rays from a large area and focus it onto a small, blackened receiving area. The light intensity is concentrated to produce temperatures of several hundred or even several thousand degrees Celsius. The concentrators move to track the Sun using devices called heliostats.

Concentrators use curved mirrors with aluminum or silver reflecting surfaces that coat the front or back surfaces of glass or plastic. Researchers are developing cheap polymer films to replace the more expensive glass. One new technique uses a pliable membrane stretched across the front of a cylinder and another across the back with a partial vacuum between. The vacuum causes the membranes to form a spherical shape ideal for concentrating sunlight.

Concentrating solar energy is the least expensive way to generate large-scale electrical power from the Sun’s energy and therefore has the potential to make solar power available at a competitive rate. Consequently, government, industry, and utilities have formed partnerships to reduce the manufacturing costs of concentrators.

One important high-temperature application of concentrators is solar furnaces. The largest of these, located at Odeillo in the Pyrenees Mountains of France, uses 63 mirrors with a total area of approximately 2,835 sq m (about 30,515 sq ft) to produce temperatures as high as 3200°C (5800°F). Such furnaces are ideal for research requiring high temperatures and contaminant-free environments—for example, materials research to determine how substances will react when exposed to extremely high temperatures. Other methods of reaching such temperatures usually require chemical reactants that would also react with the substances to be studied, skewing the results.

Another type of concentrator called a central receiver, or “power tower,” uses an array of sun-tracking reflectors mounted on computer-controlled heliostats to reflect and focus the Sun’s rays onto a water boiler mounted on a tower. The steam thus generated can be used in a conventional power-plant cycle to produce electricity. A U.S. Demonstration in the Mohave Desert, Solar One, operated through most of the 1980s. During the early 1990s a second demonstration, called Solar Two, used molten salt heated in the boiler to 574°C (1065°F) to produce electricity. The hot salt was stored and later used to boil water into steam that drove a turbine to produce electricity.

IV PASSIVE SOLAR HEATING

The solar energy that falls naturally on a building can be used to heat the building without special devices to capture or collect sunlight. Passive solar heating makes use of large sun-facing windows (south-facing in the Northern Hemisphere) and building materials such as brick and tile that absorb and slowly release solar heat. A designer plans the building so that the longest walls run from east to west, providing lengthy southern exposures that allow solar heat to enter the home in the winter. A well-insulated building with such construction features can trap the Sun’s energy and reduce heating bills as much as 50 percent. Passive solar designs also include natural ventilation for cooling. Shading and window overhangs also reduce summer heat while permitting winter Sun.

In direct gain, the simplest passive heating system, the Sun shines into the house and heats it up. The house’s materials store the heat and slowly release it. An indirect gain system, by contrast, captures heat between the Sun and the living space, usually in a wall that both absorbs sunlight and holds heat well. An isolated gain system isolates the heated space (a sunroom or solar greenhouse, for example) from the living space and allows the solar heat to flow into the living area via convective loops of moving air.

V SOLAR COOLING

Solar energy can also be used for cooling. An absorption air conditioner or refrigerator uses a large solar collector to provide the heat that drives the cooling process (see Refrigeration). Solar heat is applied to the refrigerant and absorbent mixture, which is combined under pressure in a container called a generator or boiler. The Sun’s heat brings the mixture to a boil. The refrigerant (often ammonia) vaporizes, rises as a gas, and reaches the condenser. There it gives off heat and returns to liquid form. As the drops of pure refrigerant fall, they trickle into the evaporator (freezing unit) where they evaporate vigorously. Evaporation requires heat energy, which comes from the surroundings, and results in cooling: The refrigerant absorbs heat from the unit and cools the space. The refrigerant, now a gas again, rejoins the mixture in the boiler to restart the process.

Absorption coolers must be adapted to operate at the normal working temperatures for flatbed solar collectors—between 82° and 121°C (180° and 250°F) Alternatively, concentrating collectors may be used.

VI PHOTOVOLTAICS

Solar cells called photovoltaics made from thin slices of crystalline silicon, gallium arsenide, or other semiconductor materials convert solar radiation directly into electricity. Cells with conversion efficiencies greater than 30 percent are now available. By connecting large numbers of these cells into modules, the cost of photovoltaic electricity has been reduced to 20 to 30 cents per kilowatt-hour. Americans currently pay 6 to 7 cents per kilowatt-hour for conventionally generated electricity.

The simplest solar cells provide small amounts of power for watches and calculators. More complex systems can provide electricity to houses and electric grids. Usually though, solar cells provide low power to remote, unattended devices such as buoys, weather and communication satellites, and equipment aboard spacecraft.

VII SOLAR ENERGY FROM SPACE

A futuristic proposal to produce power on a large scale envisions placing giant solar modules in geostationary Earth orbit. Energy generated from sunlight would then be converted to microwaves and beamed to antennas on Earth for conversion to electric power. The Sun would shine on a solar collector in geostationary orbit almost 24 hours a day; moreover, such a collector would be high above the atmosphere and so would receive the full power of the Sun’s rays. Consequently, such a collector would gather eight times more light than a similar collector on the ground. To produce as much power as five large nuclear power plants (1 billion watts each), several square miles of solar collectors, weighing 10 million pounds, would need to be assembled in orbit. An Earth-based antenna five miles in diameter would be required to receive the microwaves. Smaller systems could be built for remote islands, but the economies of scale suggest advantages to a single large system (see Space Exploration).

VIII SOLAR ENERGY STORAGE DEVICES

Because of the intermittent nature of solar radiation as an energy source, excess solar energy produced during sunny periods must be stored. Insulated tanks commonly store this energy in hot water. Batteries often store excess electric energy produced from wind or photovoltaic devices. One possibility for the future is the use of excess solar-generated electric energy as a supplemental source for existing power networks. Uncertain economics and reliability, however, make this plan difficult to implement.

Count Dracula

Sandy asks…

What issues associated with the solar/wind/biofuel that need to be addressed?

Windmill Farms answers:

1)The efficiency of conversion from the medium (sun, wind, etc…) to electricity. How much electricity is actually obtained from the effort in.

2) The efficiency of producing the equipment necessary to harness the energy. Mass production of solar panels for example would mean they could be offered at a lower cost to the consumers. Until that time the cost per kW is expensive.

3) The general cost per kW of these sources is more than the current grid power. This is called the “parity.” Right now it is hard for homeowners to justify spending more money or make upgrades to working systems if they will not get a return on their investment in a reasonable amount of years.

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Is Wind Power Green

William asks…

wind power is a great symbol of a stride towards greener power however a utter waste of time. thoughts?

surely we should be investing more in more efficient energy sorces. does anybody know of any projects for more efficient power?

Windmill Farms answers:

WIND POWER IS THE KEY TO PRESENT AND FUTURE. ENERGY NEEDS.

Countries like Spain and Germany already have about 20% of their energy needs covered by wind power.

The US would have to build about half a million 1MW windmills to replace the present power generation base. This is a manageable figure, considering there are about the same amount of bridges. This will take decades to accomplish but is feasible.

Solar, on the other hand, is only feasible in desert like environments, with mirrors concentrating heat and generating steam. Power density is much lower than wind and requires therefore large surfaces.

These technologies are very friendly to the environment.

.

Jenny asks…

what is the green power plants mean?

enviroment

Windmill Farms answers:

Here is an example of a Green Power Company

Green mountain appears to employ two methods of generating GREEN electricity.

Wind mill farms and Photo-voltaic cell arrays

==============================…

Thanks to the demand of Green Mountain Energy Company’s customers, the following 13 wind and solar facilities have been built and are generating over 180,000 KW of new renewable energy. These facilities are owned and operated by third parties and branded as Green Mountain through licensing agreements because the demand from our customers played a significant role in getting these projects built. Since the first facility came online in 1999, these facilities have been responsible for avoiding over 261,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming.

Apr. 1999 — Green Mountain Energy BJ’s Solar — Conshohoken, Penn.
This 50-kilowatt (kW) facility, located on the roof of BJ’s Wholesale Club, was the largest solar generation facility in Pennsylvania when built.

Sept. 1999 — Green Mountain Energy Solar 2000 Mendocino — Hopland, Calif.
This 106-kW facility is comprised of 1200 photovoltaic panels.

May 2000 — Green Mountain Energy Wind Farm at Garrett, Penn. — Garrett, Penn.
The company’s first commercial wind farm (also a first for Pennsylvania) consists of eight, 187-foot high wind turbines. The wind farm is 10.4 megawatts (MW) in size.

Dec. 2000 — Green Mountain Energy Solar at Berkeley — Berkeley, Calif.
This 100-kW facility has 924 panels and, when completed, was the largest photovoltaic solar array in the San Francisco Bay area.

Feb. 2001 — Green Mountain Energy Solar at Pittsburgh — Pittsburgh, Penn.
This 30-kW system is comprised of 175 solar electric panels installed on top of the IKEA store in Robinson Towne Centre.

May 2002 — Green Mountain Energy Solar at Southern New Jersey — Deptford, N.J.
This 52-kW system consists of 1,330 solar panels.

May 2002 — Green Mountain Energy Solar at Lake Farm Park — Kirtland, Ohio
This ground-mounted facility is a commercial scale, 26-kW solar array comprised of 264 solar panels. The array also serves as a solar education opportunity for visitors to Lake Earmarking Kirtland, Ohio.

May 2002 — Green Mountain Energy Solar at The Winston School — Dallas, Texas
This commercial scale, 58-kW facility, consisting of 594 solar panels, is the largest solar array in Dallas. The facility also serves as a learning tool for the students at The Winston School and was constructed, in part, due to the support of Big Texas Sun Club® members.

June 2002 — Green Mountain Energy Solar at Upper Kirby District — Houston, Texas
This facility, one of the largest in Houston, is a commercial scale, 43-kW solar array with 440 panels located on top of the Upper Kirby District Foundation building. The facility was constructed, in part, due to the support of Big Texas Sun Club® members.

June 2002 — Green Mountain Energy Solar at The Discovery Museum — Bridgeport , Conn.
This facility, one of the largest in Connecticut, is a commercial scale, 19-kW solar array with 198 panels installed at ground level near the Discovery Museum’s parking lot.

Nov. 2003 — The AMP-Ohio/Green Mountain Energy Wind Farm — Bowling Green, Ohio
The first utility-scale wind farm in the state of Ohio, this wind farm originally consisted of two 1.8 MW wind turbines, the largest east of the Rockies. The capacity was doubled in 2004 when two more turbines were added.

Dec. 2003 — Green Mountain Energy Wind Farm at Brazos — Borden & Scurry Counties, Texas
The 160-MW wind farm in West Texas is tied for second largest in the state of Texas and one of the top 10 nationwide. The Green Mountain Energy Wind Farm at Brazos is also the first and largest wind farm built since Texans were given the option to choose their Retail Electric Provider in January 2002.

Dec. 2005 — Green Mountain Energy Solar at The Heard Museum — McKinney, Texas
This 6 kW solar array is one of the most recent solar projects that Green Mountain Energy Company has created. It was supported, in part, by the Big Texas Sun Club®.

Steven asks…

Wind Power – Is it truly green?

The whole world seems to think that wind power is environmentally friendly.

How can this be so when we are now extracting many thousands of GigaWatts of power from the wind by means of wind generators. This must in turn have a braking effect on the earth´s air currents. Look what happens when El Nino occurs causing the water currents to reverse off South America? It causes droughts + fires in the USA and floods in Australia.

I will be very relieved if someone can convince me that wind power will not have an adverse effect the worlds weather patterns.

At the moment it is my opinion that the whole world seems to be burying it`s head in the sand on this issue! I´m all for green, renewable energy, but is wind power truly green?

Martyn Pridham

Windmill Farms answers:

I think with any system if energy is removed then the ‘natural’ state of the system must be disrupted somehow. With wind we must consider how much we are taking out of the overall system. The first thing to note is that the winds are largely driven by solar heating – causing high and low pressures to form through air density differences which act to even out by transporting air between them. The sheer scale of the energy and the vertical distribution of the wind means that even with our best efforts we can currently only harvest a small amount of the wind energy at surface level, let alone for the whole 10km of the troposphere. The effect that this will have is for the wind farm to be ‘seen’ by the lower winds as an area of increased surface friction, in a similar way to a large tree might be seen. This might lead to local effects close to the turbines but I don’t think it would be noticeable without high-tech equipment. As for global effects like El Nino then we would have to be seriously affecting the upper controlling winds (like the jet stream) and global circulation cells.
I would say that if the entire globe was covered in wind turbines then I would expect some dampening of the atmospheric circulation system, but since this is unlikely and we currently (key word!) extract a tiny percentage of the available energy then it is not of concern.

According to Greenpeace, we currently extract 6.0xE4 MW per year in the world. The total energy in the global wind is estimated at 3.6xE9 MW. With five orders of magnitude difference we have a long way to go before we impact on the wind in the atmosphere. Also there is a limit of 59% (called Betz limit) on how much we could extract.

To be green I think we should reduce our energy consumption, be efficient, and use the whole set of renewable available to “play with a full set of clubs”. In addition, I think we should return to this issue if wind power begins to extract a more significant amount of energy from the atmosphere.

Lizzie asks…

which is more efficient? wind power or solar power?

Windmill Farms answers:

Good question. Wind power derives from solar power (differential heating or cooling of air masses). The real question is how efficiently can wind or solar power be captured. Solar power exists only 12 of every 24 hours and also depends on cloud cover. Solar power can be readily captured efficiently as heat energy in a green house (or a closed up car sitting in the sun). Solar power can be captured using photovoltaic cells but they are not highly efficient (yet). Wind power can blow 24 hours a day in select locales and the velocity is higher at elevations above the ground. Also wind turbine blades are far more efficient (exponentially) as their diameter increases. Therefore, large-blade wind turbines on high towers are relatively more efficient (capturing energy from currents in large moving air masses) than a solar collector that depends on the limited surface area of the device. There are solar collectors that use a field full of mirrors that all focus on a target (collector) and they can capture great amounts of pure high temperature (photon) energy.

Betty asks…

Would you pay more for wind power?

Hi,

I’m doing my ISU and i have a simple question:

Would you pay more money on your electricity bill for wind power? What about other clean renewable energy?

Windmill Farms answers:

I wouldn’t pay any more for wind power, or any other kind of green power. The only long-term, sustainable way for green power to work is for it to be more cost effective than other forms of energy. This will happen one of two ways:

1) The government puts so many taxes and restrictions on non-green power (or gives leniency and tax breaks to green power) that it becomes more profitable to utility companies to use green power.

2) The cost of digging for more oil, and supplying other non-green energy forms becomes so expensive due to diminishing raw forms of it that it is more profitable for companies to use green energy.

This is really an economics problem. All businesses will make decisions to make as much profit as possible, even utilities. When green-power fits into this catagory it will be used.

For me wind power takes up too much land for the amount of energy you get in return. I prefer nuclear and clean burning waste to energy incinerators (which would also help to take care of our garbage problem). From the studies I’ve seen, green energy just isn’t efficient enough to power the whole planet. The only option that might be viable is in the area of solar power. If engineers can design a more advanced way to capture the sun’s power it’s possible that it could power the planet, but it would need to be a lot more efficient than what we have today.

One out of the box idea I like is requiring all buildings to have a power generating wind mill and/or solar panels. This would greatly reduce the need for power from power plants, regardless of their energy source.

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Advantages Of Wind Power Articles

Ken asks…

Does South Africa have any wind turbines? With the strong South Easter in Summer?

And with the gale force North Easter in Winter, I imagine the Cape could supply power for the whole country?? In Europe, many countries make use of wind as a sourceof power, everywhere one sees these huge turbines standing, looking a bit like modern windmills, their three bladed rotors turning round and around and around and . . . creating POWER = Electricity !!

http://www.wind-energie.de/en/news/article/wind-energy-has-helped-to-stabilise-the-electricity-grid/166/

And if a rich investor/landowner sets up such a “forest” of turbines, he could, besides financing his own electricity supply, sell the overflow (there are times when the turbines produce more than one needs and this must go somewhere)

Is it just that people are not recognising the advantages of the market at the moment?
*ADD*

That´s interesting and exciting news, Darth.

Windmill Farms answers:

The first commercial wind farm in South Africa is being constructed 13km’s outside Darling in the Western Cape on farm Windhoek. The first phase will consist of four 1.3MW turbines supplied by Fuhrlander, Germany. The total power generated estimated at 5.2MW will be put into the national grid at 66kV. It has taken the developer Herman Oelsner 10 years to achieve his dream of being the first privatised wind farm in South Africa. There has been enormous concerns regarding environmental and aviation some of which still need to be resolved. DWP ( Darling Wind Power ) will be responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of the wind farm under a watchful eye from Germany. Various stake holders from international to Local have invested in the project which could only benefit an already over extended power producer in South Africa namely Eskom.

Additionally, Klipheuwel wind farm, the first wind farm in sub-Saharan Africa, comprises three turbines – a Vestas V66 with 1.75 MW output, a Vestas V47 with 660 kW output and a Jeumont J48 with 750 kW output, giving a total output of almost 3.2 MW

****Add*****
You can actualy see them on the new South African advertisement that runs on the CNN news channel. Thats how I got to know about them.

Helen asks…

Nuclear vs. coal fired power plant?

What are the advantages/disadvantages of a town being powered by either? I have to write a composition on the topic.

Windmill Farms answers:

Nuclear is much cleaner and issues with supplies, wastes, proliferation or meltdowns can be addressed with thorium-based breeder reactors or molten salt designs. Heat produced from nuclear plants or other sources like wind, solar, coal, etc.. Are also an issue with global warming. Japan’s recent nuclear problems were largely due to poor site location…had the reactor sites been built another 30-40 feet higher, it would not have been a problem. More people die per year from coal-related health issues than all the nuclear plant issues ever have.

Mini-nuke reactors are being developed which are safer, cost less, can be buried in the ground and generate power for decades at or below coal-fired costs. One small reactor the size of a garden shed or garage can provide power for 20-25,000 homes.

Clean coal or carbon sequestration methods to produce biofuels could improve coal-fired issues.

Both have issues with generating heat which contributes to global warming.

Related links…

Mini-nukes…

Http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/nov/09/miniature-nuclear-reactors-los-alamos

http://www.engadget.com/2007/12/19/toshibas-building-a-micro-nuclear-reactor-for-your-garage/

Thorium and molten salt designs…

Http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-08/thorium-reactors-could-wean-world-oil-just-five-years

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/02/china-thorium-power

http://www.smartplanet.com/technology/blog/thinking-tech/a-meltdown-proof-nuclear-reactor-may-alleviate-fears/6494/

http://home.earthlink.net/~bhoglund/

http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/inf09.html

Using algae to sequester CO2 and convert into biofuels…

Http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2007/0407-possible_fix_for_global_warming.htm

http://desertsweetbiofuels.com/

Warming issues related to heat produced from coal plants, nuclear or wind farms…the average automobile also produces 2/3 ‘s of it’s energy into heat loss in the cooling system or out the tailpipe.

” Although nuclear power does not produce carbon dioxide emissions in the same way as burning fossil fuels it does produce heat emissions equivalent to three times the energy of the electricity it generates and so contributes to global warming significantly, Nordell adds.”
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090713085248.htm

Daniel asks…

Wind Turbine Efficiency?

What is the most efficient design for a wind turbine and how can it be made to be more efficient.

Windmill Farms answers:

Hey Young, good question. If you take a moment to read through all these different answers, you’ll see that there are a lot of different positions on this subject. The short answer is the most efficient wind turbine design is the horizontal axis single blade turbine. Most people have never heard of or seen one in North America, they were common years ago in many parts of Europe where the winds were very light, and so efficiency was a chief concern. The single blade extended only in one direction away from the hub, and on the opposite side was a large bowling ball shaped counter weight. The reason this type is most efficient is that the one airfoil has complete use of the passing air. When you add a second blade, you can capture the wind twice as often, but the combination of two blades to swing through the air, and the turbulence left behind from one blade interferes with the second one in its path, much like a boat leaving a wake behind for another one to pass through. The next most efficient design is the 2 blade, but it is nearly as efficient as the single blade, better for slightly higher and less steady winds. They work best in areas where the wind blows mainly in one direction all day and the rotor head does not have to change direction often. When you are in a situation where the wind changes direction frequently, like the upper midwest, the three blade units are the best, because no matter what orientation the blades are in, the gyroscopic moment on the tower is steady while the unit is turning to a different direction. This is the main reason the 3 blade units are so common in North America. The 5 or 10 percent loss in efficiency is more than offset by the longer longevity of the tower and equipment, they run much smoother. Once you get beyond the 3 blades, additional blades do not offer any additional advantages, but each additional blade costs a bit more in efficiency losses. For this reason, most wind turbine manufacturers today primarily make 3 blade units. There are a few 2 blade units out there, Southwest windpower has one I believe for home use. There are also a few very small units for remote applications with 6 or 8 blades, but these are made purely for extremely high wind applications, like an artic weather station or onboard an ocean going vessel.

The two people who are considered the gurus on this subject are Mick Sagrillo and Paul Gipe. Paul has written a book called, “Wind Power for Home and Business,” and Mick has authored several papers and articles and written several books on renewable energy as well, and continues to teach workshops in Wisconsin on the subject. We were fortunate enough to go to one of his classes at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair several years ago. I would suggest looking for Paul’s book at the library, or anything by Mick, or surfing to one of the websites below, it’s all very interesting reading, and you’ll be getting better information on the subject this way. Take care, Rudydoo

Donald asks…

which is more efficient small or large wind turbine?

I have a question for my assignment. I wanted to find out which turbine(small or large) was the most efficient at generating electricity. I carried out a experiment and found that large wind turbine produced more electricity at low wind speed and the small wind turbine produced more electricity but at higher wind speed. Which is better and why?

Windmill Farms answers:

Hey Shalom, good day to you. Your question is not really answerable as it is written. From the standpoint of efficiency, fewer blades does translate to better efficiency, meaning how much energy you can extract from a given wind and swept area, I’ll explain in a moment. Mike is correct that there is no one design that is best, whether you’re speaking of cost per unit power, power per unit wind, man-hours of maintenance per unit power and so on. If there were one best design, all windmills would be the same. They aren’t, and there’s a very good reason. Mad Max is correct also, the utility sized turbines use less material per unit power output. The other advantage to them is you need fewer people to maintain them per unit power they put out, this is what really endures them to utility companies. They do cost more in terms of purchase price for manufacturing, shipping and installation, but once you have one of those beasts running, they look very good on the balance sheet for years to come.

When people in the wind business talk of efficiency, they are referring to amount of power you can extract from a given wind speed and swept area of the blades. The short answer is the most efficient wind turbine design is the horizontal axis single blade turbine. Most people have never heard of or seen one in North America, they were common years ago in many parts of Europe where the winds were very light, and so efficiency was a chief concern. The single blade extended only in one direction away from the hub, and on the opposite side was a large bowling ball shaped counter weight. The reason this type is most efficient is that the one airfoil has complete use of the passing air. When you add a second blade, you can capture the wind twice as often, but the combination of two blades to swing through the air creating drag, and the turbulence left behind from one blade interferes with the second one in its path, much like a boat leaving a wake behind for another one to pass through. The next most efficient design is the 2 blade, but it is nearly as efficient as the single blade, better for slightly higher and less steady winds. They work best in areas where the wind blows mainly in one direction all day and the rotor head does not have to change direction often. When you are in a situation where the wind changes direction frequently, like the upper midwest, the three blade units are the best, because no matter what orientation the blades are in, the gyroscopic moment on the tower is steady while the unit is turning to a different direction. This is the main reason the 3 blade units are so common in North America. The 5 or 10 percent loss in efficiency is more than offset by the longer longevity of the tower and equipment, they run much smoother. Once you get beyond the 3 blades, additional blades do not offer any additional advantages, but each additional blade costs a bit more in efficiency losses. For this reason, most wind turbine manufacturers today primarily make 3 blade units. There are a few 2 blade units out there, Southwest windpower has one I believe for home use. There are also a few very small units for remote applications with 6 or 8 blades, but these are made purely for extremely high wind applications, like an artic weather station or onboard an ocean going vessel.

The two people who are considered the gurus on this subject are Mick Sagrillo and Paul Gipe. Paul has written a book called, “Wind Power for Home and Business,” and Mick has authored several papers and articles and written several books on renewable energy as well, and continues to teach workshops in Wisconsin on the subject. We were fortunate enough to go to one of his classes at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair several years ago. I would suggest looking for Paul’s book at the library, or anything by Mick, or surfing to one of the websites below, it’s all very interesting reading, and you’ll be getting better information on the subject this way. Hope this helps, take care, Rudydoo

Carol asks…

Help answering some questions about wind generated energy?

- where in Canada/Ontario is this method used?
- advantages and disadvantages of using this method
- benefits or hazards to the environment when using this method
- how does energy production using this energy source compare with energy production from solar power?
- how much energy can be produced by this method; is it enough to be used alone or must it be used with another energy source?
- summarize the process
- are there any commercial products that you know of that are powered by wind energy?

If you could help answers any of these questions, or just give me good pictures or websites to find information on it would be super helpful. Thanks! :)

Windmill Farms answers:

1. Http://www.renewables-info.com/energy_news_and_reports/wind_power_-_the_best_clean_energy_option_for_canada.html and http://www.renewables-info.com/renewable_energy_info/renewable_energy_in_canada_info.html
2. Http://www.renewables-info.com/drawbacks_and_benefits/wind_energy_advantages_and_disadvantages.html
3. The same link as No.2
4. Http://www.renewables-info.com/interesting_energy_articles/wind_energy_vs_solar_energy.html
5. 6.7. More or less in this article http://www.renewables-info.com/wind_energy/wind_energy.html

P.S. Have fun :)

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Uses Of Wind Energy Today

Ruth asks…

wind energy?

could you please tell me the following about wind energy

1. what the source is
2. how is it produced
3. how far away we are from using this source
4. where can it be used
5. why it is a good alternative to current fossil fuels

Windmill Farms answers:

1. What the source is:
The source is solar energy heating the atmosphere, earth, and water.

2. How is it produced:
Wind is captured by windmills. Modern windmills for energy generation almost always three blades. The rotation of the blades rotates an electric generator to produce electric current.

3. How far away we are from using this source
We are using it today. As the cost of oil increases, it will become economically viable without government support. See “Peak Oil” for information about the economics of an important source of energy, oil.

4. Where can it be used
It can be used in windy places such as near the western coast of the United States.

5. Why it is a good alternative to current fossil fuels
Fossil fuels cannot be produced in the future at rates that meet the demand at current prices. Fossil fuel production is the same from year to year. Demand for energy is increasing every year at current prices. Also, fossil fuels contribute to carbon dioxide emissions (a greenhouse gas) that causes global warming. Over a period of 100 years, we expect that the ocean levels will rise 20 feet. We also expect climate change that will result in failed crops and massive starvation.

The future will see huge and drastic increases in energy prices. Wind energy is very cost effective when compared to other renewable energy sources. However, hydroelectric may be more cost effective (although we cannot produced enough hydroelectric energy).

By the way, nuclear energy is not viable. Uranium miners have died because of radiation exposure. Numerous reported and unreported releases of radioactive gases from facilities. Storage of depleted uranium is a problem that is hugely expensive and has not been solved. Containers of radioactive waste leak and are a terrorist target. Nuclear power is not viable because of the risks. Investors will implement new plants only with government subsidies and warrantees against liabilities. Under those circumstances, would you like to be a uranium miner or would you like to have a power plant in your back yard?

Joseph asks…

wind energy???????????

Windmill Farms answers:

Harnessing the wind on ‘wind farms’ has been done for a very long time, and it is getting even more popular today.

Large arrays of propellors or wind driven platforms cause electrical generators to turn and produce electricity which are stored in batteries or used directly.

Nancy asks…

Why is wind energy not being used today ?

Windmill Farms answers:

A lot of people don’t want them because they think a windmill farm is very ugly. Also..they can be quite loud. There is also an opportunity to build offshore wind energy, it is very interesting if you’d like to look it up. This would provide many benefits…it is not being implemented though because of costs and people are worried about fishing and birds dying when they hit the blades. In my current town in Michigan, there is a debate to put offshore windmills on Lake Michigan. People are against it basically because they don’t want to see windmills when they are watching the sunset because it “wrecks” the view

Laura asks…

what are the prospective aspects of using wind energy?

hw help

Windmill Farms answers:

Wind energy works, but is very unreliable and expensive. Most all of the wind farms being developed today are only possible because corporations are getting our tax dollars in subsidies from the government because they will not stand on their own financially.

Robert asks…

How is energy used in today’s energy industry?

Any links to websites, any advice on what to look for when searching for the answer to this question would be appreciated =)

Windmill Farms answers:

The generation of energy can come from several sources.
The energy of the winds is used for generation of energy.
The energy of the seas is also taken advantage for the generation of energy.
The energy of the waters is used in hydroelectric.
Energy generated by fossil fuels
Nuclear energy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electricity_generation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wind_power

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydroelectricity

http://www.kaheel7.com/eng/index.php/earth-science/310-the-energy-of-sea-waves-

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Wind Energy Facts For Kids

Mary asks…

I need help on geothermal energy and Wind?

cool Facts?
how it works?
Where it was used in the past?

Windmill Farms answers:

Tons of information:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/renewable/geothermal.html

http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energyfacts/sources/renewable/wind.html

http://library.thinkquest.org/20331/types/renewable.html

Daniel asks…

Are windfarms bad because they reduce the amount of wind in the world?

Windmill Farms answers:

Yes and No –they don’t reduce the “amount” of wind–especially the kind generated by celebrity liberals and their pet pandering politicians. Some kinetic energy from the force of wind blowing does get changed into electrical energy. Modern windmills are bad because the present design kills birds flying through a turbine.

They are bad because there are cheaper more efficient designs/technologies but there is no incentive to change because the present designs are subsidized at $22±(???) per kilowatt hours.

Right now they aren’t so good as the liberals who demand that we use wind farms are ignorant of the fact that we don’t have the ability to store wind energy when the wind isn’t blowing.

Finally, if you will search for Walter Cronkite( Gone but not forgotten), Barbra Streisand( Not gone but best forgotten) , and Martha’s Vineyard you will find that the super liberals demanding we all use wind power –were only “for” it when it wasn’t build off the coast of their estates on Martha’s Vineyard. IT is called NIMBY( niM-bee) or Nimbyism For not in my back yard. Thanks for asking the question it was a pleasure being able to let you know the other side of the story.

All kidding aside –by definition, as per the laws of energy conservation dictate, converting from the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity means that momentum has to be removed from the wind even if it is unmeasurable outside the lab. The wind looses momentum and therefore velocity (in the form of heat and electrical I believe).

Mark asks…

What is your random fact of the day?

A fierce gust of wind blew 45 year old Vittorio Luise’s’ car into a river near Naples, Italy in 1980. He broke the window, and was lucky enough to swim to shore; where the wind blew over a tree and landed on him, killing him.

Windmill Farms answers:

Drinking 5 hour energy power for the first time is the equivalent of a kid taking his cold medicine.

Lisa asks…

How much energy could solar energy ideally produce??

Is it 2 times the worlds demand, 3 times. Please indicate your source

Windmill Farms answers:

I was not going to answer this question but I seen the above post. The statement shows he/she don’t know anything about Solar power. Or is promoting nuclear power. I can see how someone could have a mis-guided ideal like that if they have been programed to promote something. But most will take the time to read up on the products they are bad mouthing first. Not much of the statement from the above post was true, if any of it was.

As far as your question goes I have read but do not remember where I found it. I don’t think it said anything about if solar energy could supply the whole world. They were talking more in the line of the state of Arizona and New Mexico supplying the USA only. Sure sounded like it could be done. But with out proof it is just gossip.

So lets look at the USA just trying to supply its self with solar electric only. Well nope it can not be done without a bunch of batteries placed some where. You have to understand that it is not raining and cloudy over the whole USA all at the same time unless it is night time. This is where Wind and Hydro electric comes in.

Sure there is a place for a nuke power plant but only for a backup system to help out Solar, Hydro and Air. But should be very very limited and controlled. No need to contaminate our planet any more then it already is just to put some extra cash in some ones pocket for a product we really do not need. Every so many years radiation starts leaking from the storage bunkers and our taxes had to clean it up. Radiation is something that takes thousands of years for the planet to absorb. The more we make the more we have and the more our great, great, great, great grand kids have to deal with. That is one option that should be removed from the table. Nuclear waste is not recyclable at all or in anyway. It is just simply waste and a hazard.

If you can stop and think for a minute about the fact that one house can completely supply their own electrical needs and heating with no electric grid help at all and no gas pipes running to their home. It is done all the time.

I wanted to say that I have solar panels and I don’t remember ever having to wash them. The dust blows off and when it rains it washes off anything left. Not a problem at all.

The maintenance required is very minim if you use GEL batteries and did you know that the whole battery is recyclable? When you buy new batteries you sell your old ones to the same store or use them as a core for a better price on the new batteries. They will melt down the lead and reuse it and filter the acid out of the water and use both.. Guess what the plastic battery case is recyclable as well. No waste at all.

Now that we have decided that Nukes are out of the question and not a requirement in anyway. And that batteries are not a hazard and are completely recyclable. Lets focus on how to use the other renewable powers a little better.

A couple of easy things to do is either you can set your home up standalone or it can be grid tied. Both have promise. Grid tie is how it will end up because on days when your system is not providing enough power to take care of your needs I could be out of town and my system is not being used at all. So it is just feeding the solar electric back into the grid. Then in the next state over they are having bright sunny days and no one is using all the solar electric they are making so it is all going in the grid to help out other states that have cloudy skys. This is currently being doe as well as people living off the grid.

The grid tie method will even help factories who are not producing enough power to cover their requirements as well. You know someone will build wind and sun farms to make a profit as well. The hydrodams with a little help from wind mills could keep things running through the night. If not there is the place for the hazardous nuclear plants if needed.

So what I am trying to say is YES home owners could provide all the power required for their needs and have extra left over. Only problem is the Big money guys like Nuclear, Coal and Petroleum investors have not found a good way to make money from the public if we were to go renewable or solar power. So it is being fought all the way.

You can make your own hydrogen very easily is why we are not off gas yet. If you can make your own from water and your car will run from it then the big boys can’t make any money so it is not going to be very easy to get the concept going when big money is keeping it stomped down. It was proven back in the 1960’s that a car will run on water.

So yes it can be done but no it will not be easy to get there.

John asks…

How much “kid noise” are people supposed to put up with?

I live in an apartment complex, and there is a courtyard. It is not a playground. The neighbors have a six year old, with cystic fibrosis.

The child plays, but he just screams. Like aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhh just because he wants to make noise. He jumps and screams. Sits down and screams, runs and screams. He stands next to a tree, and screams. He screams because he is bored, happy, depressed. He is just about the noisiest 6 year old I have ever known.

This goes on every afternoon.

There are older people downstairs. There is me and my husband. We don’t have kids, and we work out of our home. There are the people across the way who don’t have kids. All of us are in earshot of this little boy, screaming.

I told him nicely, to please keep it down. But then the mother said “they are children, they will make noise.”

I feel bad about it. Normally I don’t like to make enemies, but it was really bad today to a point that my nerves were beginning to rattle.

The apartment manager says that he lets him make noise because of his disease. How much noise are we supposed to tolerate? This goes for barking dogs, motorcycles, etc.

I am not ranting … I am asking this from a philosophical point of view. While advice on how to approach this problem is appreciated, I am more wondering about what a “reasonable” approach to this problem is.

That doesn’t make me “intolerant of children” or something like that? I was doing field work (long story) oversees, and this other American couple came with these noisy kids, and it was the same thing. They woke me up several times that night, they interrupted conversations, ate more then their share of the best food … I approached the lady about the kids and she was the same way “they are 2 and 4 years old” … I told her that I understand that they can’t control their actions, but it was her job to. I felt terrible. Same question … how much should we be expected to tolerate, and still be supportive of family?

The apt. manager said that it was CF. Maybe it is well managed. But sometimes after the screaming you hear this hack, hack, hack. And he is very skinny. But he certainly is an active little guy. Under normal conditions I would probably tell them to knock it off, but I am wondering if they encourage him to be active and noisy to work out his lungs and his body. I don’t know … I should probably just put up with it. Ideas?

Windmill Farms answers:

Screaming is not normal behaviour for any child, regardless of age or any underlying illness. Poor kid is doing it to get attention, of course by doing it in a shared courtyard he is getting the wrong type of attention. His Mother is ultimately to blame, as she is ignoring him, and she should be taking him to a Play area, where he can run around and expand all his energy.

If your Apartment Manager is letting this child affect the lives of other residents, perhaps he’d like to install some play equipment in the courtyard, like a climbing frame, slide or sand pit. I expect he won’t do this, but you could argue, that a sign be put up in the courtyard, that the area is ‘not a play area’.

This problem is affecting you on a daily basis and I’m sure you are not the only people it affects, it is the duty of your Apartment Manager, to approach the boys parents and ask that they do not allow their son to scream.

I’ve got 2 children, ages 3 & 9 and they very rarely ever scream, in fact I would discourage kids to do this, except into the wind on a windy hill top!. I dislike noisy children also, except when they are at the play ground or being tickled! Perhaps you could download and print off some play ideas for his mother and post them through her letter box.

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