Wind energy is considered to be a key factor for the transformation of our energy economy towards renewable energies. But how does a wind turbine actually work? To generate electrical energy from the kinetic energy of the wind, wind turbines use the principle of lift. As with airplane wings, the wind has to travel a longer distance on the upper side of the rotor blades than on the lower side. This creates a negative pressure above the wing, which sets the rotors in motion. Kinetic energy is generated and transferred via the rotor hub to the main shaft in the nacelle.
The rotation of the main shaft is passed on to the gear box. Because the rotation of the blades is very slow, the speed is amplified inside the gear box and passed on to the generator via another shaft. The generator produces electricity that can be fed into the power grid.
The power of a wind turbine varies depending on the wind strength, the length of the rotor blades and the air density. The air density in turn depends on temperature, air pressure and humidity. Wind turbines cannot convert all the energy of the wind. The amount of energy that can be used is called the coefficient of performance and varies between 0 and 40% depending on wind strength and wind turbine.
Use our model to see how much wind a wind turbine produces depending on the parameters.
4 person households could be supplied with energy for a week if the wind turbine ran for one hour under these conditions