The Wind Turbine: Everything Old Is New Again

21/366 - Wind energy, old and new.

There has been some big promises made by governments when it comes to the concept of the wind farm. The wind turbine has been touted as a way to promote clean energy, but in fact these devices have an historical flair that goes back to the days when they were used as a mechanical device to turn machinery.

Of course, today’s market for this green technology has seen some interesting turns that weren’t heard of years ago. There have even been recent software programs released that allow interested parties to develop their own wind farms in the cyberworld and test the hypothetical possibilities before they launch in reality. The software clearly shows how far the industry has come in just a short while and it boasts the ability to test a number of different wind turbine factors such as Load Flow and Harmonic Analysis.

The need for this software parallels the growing industry where the wind farm is concerned and as a result of the detailed analysis that can be gained here, different locations can be picked for the right set ups.

The industry is always moving forward with more innovations and one of the latest ones that has been reported concerns the blades that are used and how they can better adjust themselves in varying wind conditions. Syracuse University has researchers looking at many new innovations that will help these blades work more efficiently. First, the general data from the wind flowing over the blades is recorded using what is called an intelligent controller. By reducing both noise and vibration on the blades, this research is helping industry to move forward towards more and more cost-efficient green technology.

There are also tests underway where scientists are experimenting with different angles of the blades to increase the efficiency. A full wind turbine comprises of fifteen different parts and the capacity is growing alongside the technology. For example, outputs will reach 447GW in the next five years and within the next two years Asia will lead the world in wind energy.

Finally, all this about the industry might make you think that wind energy is on the cutting edge and has only been around for a few years, but nothing could be further from the truth. There are records of the predecessors of wind energy being mentioned as far back as 1838.

In fact, one academic from Cambridge notes that the history of the wind turbine goes back even farther and that there were records of 10,000 of these units being used as far back as the 1800s.

There are other early records of wind energy being used even further back in China and it’s thought that an early predecessor of those traveled to Europe by the end of the 12th century. There’s a saying, “Everything old is new again”, and that cannot be more applicable than with today’s wind turbine.

Investing In The Future Of Wind Energy

Wind Farm

As the world begins to change so to does our reliance on fossil fuels. Wind energy is one innovation that is helping the fledgling renewable energy industry make huge strides towards a change in the way we think about energy production.

New innovations in wind turbine technology are beginning to show that renewable energy is a viable solution for our collective future. There are always new and exciting things happening in research and development in this area, and the following is just a brief overview that proves entrepreneurs are looking to, and investing in, this latest technology.

Although the initial investment isn’t recouped at once, there is every indication that good returns come in after several years of operation. For example, did you know that:

Big American money is investing in this technology?
GE (General Electric) has made moves to build offshore turbines. They see the trends toward green technology and the ROI is getting more positive by the day. GE purchased a company only three years ago that makes direct drive components for these wind turbines and had originally planned to start marketing them in Europe first. They’ve been a force in the wind energy market for several years now. Today, as much as 50% of the new units being built are now sold in the United States.

Innovation comes in all shapes and sizes?
We are all familiar with the current look of the wind turbine, that all too familiar three-bladed design, but now it seems that the industry is taking on a new shape in the form of wind cubes. Just like the name implies, these are wind generators that are shaped like cubes. Since these are smaller than the full sized wind turbines, they are best used when set up on the roofs of buildings in urban and rural areas.

There are of course many other exciting new ideas when it comes to the world of green energy and wind energy. One that is turning some heads is kite-like turbines. These airborne turbines are tethered to the ground and generate energy while in flight.

Of course, the familiar design of the wind turbine is still the mainstay when it comes to producing massive amounts of wind energy.

South Korea is one of the countries in that area that is leading the way with plans announced last year to have a wind farm offshore that will cost an amazing $8.3 billion. There have been reports that there will be, once the project is completed, an estimated 500 turbines that will supply 2,500 megawatts of clean, renewable energy each year.

In other wind energy news, there are reports out of Africa that one of the biggest wind projects on the continent will be completed this year. Northern Kenya is expected to get 365 giant wind turbines to help with the country’s initiative to move to greener energy sources.

All across the globe, private companies are beginning to see the possibilities when it comes to wind energy. The benefits of installing this technology as a sustainable energy source will not only serve their communities for years to come, but after the initial costs, the ROI may very well be unfathomable.