Wind Turbine Generators – Free power from mother nature. Maybe we could install it now

Wind Turbine Generators – Free power from mother nature. Maybe we could install it now

Source: Flickr

Wind generators are one of the most reliable forms of alternative power sources on the planet.
They are made to manufacture power by transforming the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical energy, which is then either harnessed directly (in the case of windmills, for example, which were used to change wheat into flour, or to pump water for farming) or coupled to a generator that creates a DC output that can be used in a more general sense. In this article I will be talking about the type of wind generators that produce electric energy, as this is more useful to us in our daily lives.

Wind turbines are basically large windmills, with gigantic blades that rotate in the wind and produce power from the conversion of the winds force. Wind turbines are manufactured from plastic, aluminium, steel and numerous other space age metals.

Wind turbines have a few negative impacts on the environment. They are very visible, and quite unsightly since they must be put in proximity to windy, open terrain to be useful – attempts to locate them off the coast have been met with great success. They require a great deal of energy in their manufacture, energy which is typically fossil-based, and therefore it can take a considerable amount of time before they are positive in terms of total carbon emissions – this time can be anywhere from 2 to 5 years. Wind turbines are linked to the mauling of rare species of birds that can be mutilated as they pass through the turbine fans during migratory passages.

With all of the downsides aside, wind turbines should be a choice when talking about a broad plan for renewable energy. Once erected, wind turbines are amazingly efficient in a larger sense – they generate power from a natural, eco-friendly renewable resource, without the hidden social or environmental penalties that we incur with the use of fossil fuels – theres no need to mine for fuel or to transport it – there are no global warming pollutants created, and no need to store, process, or to dispose of toxic wastes.

At the small side of the scale, turbines can be as tiny as 5 feet in diameter and are capable of only a few hundred watts. On the high end of the spectrum, turbines can be as huge as three hundred feet in diameter and are capable of generating two to five megawatts of power.

Similar to photovoltaic solar power generation, there might be rebates available for construction, and excess energy can be sold back to the power company.

Wind velocity is impacted by topography and increases with height above the ground, so wind turbines are generally installed on top of large towers. In a typical application, the wind turbine sits on top of a tall tower and generates low voltage DC which is used to charge a battery store – this stored potential energy is ultimately utilized by routing it through an inverter that changes the low voltage direct current power into utility voltage alternating current electricity that can be used in household applications. By concentrating a lot of turbines into wind farms a substantial amount of electricity can be stored and utilized, perhaps for a whole city or town.

Because the wind doesnt blow all of the time in many areas, wind turbines are used as adjuncts in hybrid configurations with many different technologies like photovoltaic panels, and diesel generators to provide a consistent source of electricity.

Dissimilar to fossil-fuel stations, wind turbines are clean and green – they dont create the carbon dioxide emissions that are causing greenhouse gases or the SO2 emissions that cause acid rain.

Todays turbines are divided into 2 categories, namely horizontal turbines and vertica turbines. Todays horizontal axis wind turbines are actually far better at capturing the wind than vertical axis turbines given the same amount of swept area (which is the diameter of the circle traced by the outside tip of the rotor blades).

How Hybrid Cars Work

How Hybrid Cars Work

A hybrid car is such a car in which two types of motors are synchronized to provide power to the wheels.
The most popular combination is the one in which the gasoline engine is assisted by the electric motor so that the gas engine is periodically shut off in order to reserve fuel.

Usually hybrid cars are subdivided into two major categories.

In the first type, only the use of electric motor propels the engine at very low speeds. The electric motor has the inherent ability to assist the engine when more power is required. It helps out the gasoline engine even while climbing or passing a steep road. The Ford Escape Hybrid and the Toyota Prius fall into the initial category.

The second of its kind requires extra horsepower for its gasoline engine to drive while in rapid acceleration or when moving up the hill. It utilizes that excess power only from the electric motor to assist the internal combustion engine. The Honda Insight and Civic Hybrid are ideal examples of the second category. These two engines do possess some resemblances as well.

When electric motor is used to assist the gasoline engine, both of the hybrids extract power from the battery depleting power, which in turn gets simultaneously self-recharged from the gasoline engine. Hence a hybrid car does not need to be plugged into a power source to recharge its battery, which is the most important aspect of hybrid cars.

Hybrid cars usually utilize sealed nickel metal hydride batteries, a technology which is popularly used in laptops and cell phones. These batteries are easy to make, cost effective and long lasting thus making it ideal for a higher valued car.

Hybrid engineers more than often have opted for unconventional design facets to maximize aerodynamics inside the engine, giving rise to its slim structure. These car units originally have very low (ultra low) drag coefficient due to sleek configurations, which make the cars slippery. All carmakers strive to reduce drag, as a vehicle with less drag requires less power as well as fuel to move.

The electrical system is monitored by an onboard computer system. The system is program controlled in such a way that when the vehicle is coasting downhill or the brakes are applied, polarity of the system is automatically reversed as the motor actually turns into an energy generating unit. This process is popularly known as regenerative where the conversion of mechanical energy to electrical energy stores up power into the battery.

All hybrid cars normally shut the gasoline engine off during road signals so as to conserve fuel reserve. The phenomenon is called idle stop characteristics. It cuts electrical consumption down during idle condition other than fuel saving and emission reduction. On pressing the accelerator paddle, the gasoline engine resumes work getting assistance from electric motor. The process being silent and seamless, the loss or delay in overall performance during this time is almost negligible.

The hybrids are manufactured by a special forging process termed as shot peeing, which reduces friction in the sidewalls of the cylinder thus increasing efficiency.

Hybrid cars, thus, by virtue of their technological advancement, exceptional fuel economy and marginal gas emissions, can be easily termed as the next generation cars

Solar Panels – Pvs At Work

Solar Panels – Pvs At Work

What is PV solar power?
You have heard the term, but you are unsure as to its meaning. You are vaguely aware that solar power has something to do with making energy from sunlight. But what is PV solar power? Is it different from other kinds of solar power?

PV solar power is different from other types. Of the two main categories of solar power, active and passive, PV solar power is active. Let’s look at it.

Solar Panel

Active solar power relies on solar panels. You may picture them as flat, rectangular boxes on rooftops.

There are two main types of solar panel. From a distance, both look like rectangular boxes. Both convert sunlight into energy, but in two different ways. The terms for the two solar panel types are solar thermal collector and photovoltaic module.

1. Solar thermal collector: This solar panel takes in solar energy from the sun and uses it to heat air or water.

2. Photovoltaic module: This second type of solar panel collects solar energy and converts it to usable electricity.

Meet the PV

To answer the question, what is PV solar power, we must know what the PV is. The short answer is that PV refers to a photovoltaic module. “P” is for photo and “V” for voltaic.

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines “photovoltaic” this way.

“of, relating to, or utilizing the generation of a voltage when radiant energy falls on the boundary between dissimilar substances.”

In simpler terms, “photo” refers to sunlight and “voltaic” refers to electrical energy. PV panels convert sunlight into electrical energy. Sunlight flows into the solar panel. Electrical energy flows out of the solar panel.

A PV solar panel is made up of many photovoltaic (light to volts) cells. These cells are electrically connected, and then covered with glass. The glass provides electrical insulation. It is also good protection from weather and other damaging forces.

When minimal energy is needed, such as that necessary to power a small appliance, a single PV solar panel is sufficient. When more power is needed, an “array” of solar panels is created by connecting panels to one another. If the power will not be supplied to the power grid, the solar panel(s) is connected to a charge controller, and battery. If it is intended for on-grid use, the solar panel array will be connected to an electrical inverter.

What Is PV Solar Power?

PV solar power is solar energy in the form of sunlight, which has been collected by a photovoltaic module, and converted into usable electricity.

Conventional silicon solar panels convert about 14 to 17 percent of sunlight into usable electricity. That isn’t much. Late in 2006, however, a new solar cell was introduced. Solar panels that utilize the new cell can convert into electricity 22 percent of the sunlight they collect. Theoretically, the maximum that the cells of a solar panel can convert is said to be around 26 to 27 percent of incoming sunlight.

How does it work? Let’s look at a very simple explanation.

Each photovoltaic cell in a PV solar panel is a semiconductor. When sunlight hits those cells, a certain part of the sunlight is absorbed by those silicon cells. The cells take in that part of the sunlight’s energy. The cells then transfer the absorbed sunlight’s energy to the electrons in the silicon. The electrons begin to flow, and this creates an electrical current. Metal contacts built into the top and bottom of the PV cells draw off that current and it is sent to the grid or battery. It is now usable electricity. The power grid sends it on its way, if you have used an on-grid connection. If you are using a battery, it is stored in the battery awaiting your need.

PV solar power is being used increasingly with great success, and while it is true that cloud cover can affect it, the cloudy country of Germany leads the world in successful use of solar panels.

Solar Energy-The Advantages And Disadvantages

Source: Flickr

Perhaps the greatest argument that could be leveled about having to use fossil and nuclear fuel is our dependence on it.
Global warming, though a real serious threat, maybe something that we could only be very worried about. Singly nothing much could be done about it as it will take serious political will if it is to be addressed effectively and for now, other countries are not cooperating. But the choice between traditional and alternative sources of energy, that is something most of us can choose to do.

First the advantages:

Solar energy is abundant and is free. We can count the sun to rise tomorrow and the day after that. Oil and natural gases on the other hand are non renewable, once the source taps out, it is gone forever. Sure there are other areas that could still be tapped but sooner that could run out of oil as well.

Solar energy does not pollute the air. If ever, the heat coming from the sun cleans the environment and maintains the earth’s eco balance. Not so with oil. Oil, its derivatives and its byproducts are great pollutants. In fact, 22,000 pounds of carbon monoxide will need to be produced first for the oil to be processed and supply a home with electrical energy for a year.

Solar energy harnessing panels are silent operators. Except maybe for the mechanical contraptions that are built into the panels so it could track the sun, from the collection of the suns rays to its photovoltaic conversion, they give neither a peep nor a squeak. It is a world of difference from the cacophony of giant drills and pumps that are used to extract oil form the ground.

Maintenance for the solar panels is very minimal. Except for the mechanical parts that are optional, almost no maintenance is needed. Once it is installed nothing much will be the cause for worry. The energy that is derived is free. With oil there is no telling what the next pump price would be and when. Oil, being a commodity, heavily depend its prices on market forces. Often with the right strategies, even market forces could be manipulated that could cause volatility in pricing.

The Disadvantages of Solar Energy

The cost. While solar energy is free, the cost of installation setbacks many household from installing it. Brand new solar energy generating systems are expensive. Although it tends to pay off overtime, initial cash out could range into several thousands of dollars depending on the quality and volume of generated power a household or an establishment would require. While solar energy technology has been around since the 1950’s it is only in recent years that its development was spurred. While costs of installation could also be subjective depending on the purchasing capacity of a customer, the benefits that could be derived out of it is enormous although mostly in unquantifiable terms.

For mass consumption, distribution lines are needed and this remains to be a big issue. Old antiquated distribution lines used to transfer electricity and other modes of fuel into the homes are clogged in many regions that to deliver solar energy power into the houses of consumers will require a different approach.

Be that as it may, the benefits from solar power far outweigh its disadvantages. It is an ideal source of energy that it may soon be the norm in power generation.