What Is The Difference Between Windmill And Wind Turbine?

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When the wind blows, the blades of windmills and wind turbines blow. The first windmills appeared in Iran around 800 AD. These gigantic winged machines have been operating for more than 1000 years. These early windmills were used exactly for what their name implies; they were wind-powered mills. As the wind rotates the blades and center shaft of the windmill, it rotates a grain mill, usually made of large flat stones, to produce flour and other grain products.

These windmills also served the important purpose of pumping water to cities and homes. It can be used to drive a pump with pinwheel rotation, rather than spinning a grain mill. While windmills have been around for centuries, wind turbines were built by the inventor Charles Brush to generate electricity for the Ohio mansion of the first known wind turbine created for electricity generation in the US and have existed since about 1888. Wind turbines are used to generate electricity from spinning the blades, rather than simply converting the spinning energy to more mechanical work such as spinning a mill or pumping water.

“While a wind turbine in the United States is about 280 feet (85 meters) tall, the old windmill typically doesn’t go over 80 feet (24 meters),” says James Herzing, creator and award-winning host of the Unprofessional Engineering podcast in an interview. “The size of sails or wings has another size difference. Windmills, on the other hand, are traditionally measured by wheel diameter, and it is not uncommon to see a 2-meter (8-foot) windmill measuring 8 feet on the wings. Wind turbines, on the other hand, can also have a single blade over 100 feet (30 meters).

How Do Windmills Work?

Although windmills are the oldest building block for civilization and are often used for pumping water or grinding grain, there are some other functional differences from the much newer wind turbine technology. The blades of a windmill are close to the ground and therefore take advantage of near-ground air currents to spin. Since wind currents are generally less close to the earth’s surface than they are, in higher atmospheres, windmills need to have larger wings to capture as much wind as possible.

While windmills have been around since 800 AD, they gained popularity in the mid-1800s. In the decades following 1850, more than 6 million mechanical windmills were set up in the US alone, sparked by the Industrial Revolution, to power pumps and factories and serve other energy needs. This popularity was due to the simplicity of windmills as mechanical energy generators. By placing a large number of bladed windmills, we can provide quick access to a free source of mechanical energy. While windmills were becoming popular in the modern industry, another invention was being developed and refined: the generator. Therefore, the development of wind turbines was the next step in perfecting wind energy devices.

How Do Wind Turbines Work?

To capture stronger air currents, a wind turbine extends hundreds of meters above a windmill. The technique a windmill uses when converting the incoming wind into rotational energy is different than the technique it applies while using the same functional principles. Inside wind turbines, there are usually generators directly connected to a rotating blade rod.

By rotating the generator, an electric current is generated that can be used to charge batteries, power the grid, or directly power electronic devices. An electric motor uses electricity to create motion, while a wind turbine uses motion to generate electricity. More specifically, the blades of a wind turbine capture the kinetic energy of the wind energy created by motion and convert it into rotational energy.

According to the Wind Energy Association of America, this rotational energy is fed from a series of gears to increase the speed of a generator. These turbines usually start generating energy at wind speeds of 5 to 10 miles per hour (8 to 16 kilometers per hour) and shut down at high speeds around 60 mph (96 km / h), they do not malfunction or damage themselves. Despite their inefficiency, wind turbines are the future way to harness wind and generate electricity. Herzing says he sees wind turbines as an integral part of reducing and ultimately eliminating our dependence on carbon fuels.

A typical wind project repays its carbon footprint within six months, providing decades of energy. In fact, according to Herzing, some countries, such as Scotland, have invested in wind energy that can generate enough power to feed two Scotland. ”In 2018, wind produced about 5 percent of global electricity, which, together with the resources they have generated, is hydroelectric.