Wind Turbine Design – Its Importance and Effect on the Productivity and Efficiency of Turbines
Wind Turbine Design – Its Importance and Effect on the Productivity and Efficiency of TurbinesWind turbine design is one of the important factors that determine the effectiveness of a turbine. There are basically two types of designs – horizontal axis and vertical axis. In this article, we take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of both these designs.
Horizontal Axis Residential Wind Turbines
These are the most common type of turbines in the world today. They have a windmill like structure, on top of which are propeller-like blades that spin on the horizontal axis. They differ greatly in size. The larger models, in general, are considered more efficient and more productive by many.
This type of wind turbine design usually comprises two or three blades, a gear box, and a generator. The blades, when propelled by wind, move a gear. This powers the generator, which produces electricity. One of the notable aspects of this design is that the blades move perpendicular to the wind, as a result of which they receive power through the entire rotation. This leads to increased efficiency and productivity.
One of the disadvantages of the horizontal axis design is that the turbines tend to be tall and large with a massive tower. Since most horizontal models spin very close to the ground, they are likely to affect land based ecological systems. Moreover, these turbines usually need a yawing mechanism to turn the blades toward the direction of the wind and a braking mechanism to stop the blades from spinning in high winds and prevent them from damaging the turbine.
Vertical Axis Residential Wind Turbines
These turbines, unlike horizontal wind turbines, do not have blades. The main rotor shaft is arranged vertically. There are two subtypes of vertical axis turbines namely the Darrieus and the Savonius. The Darrieus is the ‘eggbeater’ type turbine that usually requires an external power source to start turning. The Savonius is a drag type turbine that is suitable for small-scale energy production.
One of the biggest advantages of this type of wind turbine design is that it does not require a yawing mechanism, as the blades do not need to be pointed into the wind. So, vertical wind turbines are a great choice for sites with highly variable wind direction or turbulent winds. Also, they are smaller in size when compared to their horizontal counterparts.
Many models of vertical axis turbines have blades that rotate into the wind, as a result of which there is an additional drag. It reduces productivity and efficiency considerably in the long run. Moreover, the rotors in these turbines are located very close to the ground, where wind speeds are generally low. In other words, the design, by default, prevents the turbine from taking advantage of the higher wind speeds above. These types of turbines also tend to kill birds and affect aerial ecosystems.
As you can see, both designs have their own advantages and disadvantages. So, if you are looking to choose residential wind turbines, you should consider the various factors mentioned above into consideration and choose one that suits your electricity needs and budget perfectly