Wind energy has been in use for many millennia in various forms, the earliest being used to move boats with the help of sails in Egypt (5000BC). The technology was slowly advanced and used for other purposes like pumping water (China 2000 BC), food production (Persia around 11th century) and draining of lakes, rivers and marshes by Dutch around 15th century.
Wind power has come a long way since then and is now capable of powering most modern facilities in the world. Due to massive investments in the sector which lead to many technological advancements today we have many new techniques and turbines to harness wind power. Let’s look at a few of these,
Offshore wind turbines.
Offshore wind turbines generate more power due to the presence of higher wind speeds at sea which is then transported to the mainland via cables. Though these kinds of projects yield high levels of energy the cost of setting up such projects is a major challenge.
Airborne Wind Turbines
Airborne wind turbines are an option for the future since this technology is still in the testing phase. This type of wind turbine is lodged high up into the atmosphere and capture high wind speeds and transport the energy generated to the surface via cables.
Bladeless wind turbines
Bladeless wind turbines like the Vortex bladeless turbines seem to be the answer to the problem of wind turbines requiring large portions of land. These kind of turbines consist of a single stick like structure and are capable of using low speed winds as well as high speed winds. A vortex is created inside the tube which makes it vibrate and produce electricity. Though the idea of such a technology seems appealing, there have been many critics that question the output generated by these turbines.
Wind turbine lenses
Recent breakthroughs have been made in this sector where the scientists claim to have increased the wind force at the point of contact with the turbines thus generating more energy. The wind turbine is surrounded by a ring with one side melting outward giving it a broader side and the other side giving a smaller opening thus increasing the wind speed. The major players are Japanese scientists who have demonstrated this in the labs and are in the process of developing at a larger scale. This might very well solve the problems of wind turbines producing less energy in comparison to the investment made.
There is one more advancement which if achieved and implemented will take energy generation to a whole new level- Levitating Blades. This technology will eliminate the friction caused by the connection of the blades to the base.
Though this seems to be a great alternative to rescue us from the harmful effects of fossil fuel energy, it is not without its drawbacks. One of the major being the massive investment required to set up wind farms. Another major problem is the unavailability of huge portions of land to set up the farms in distant locations from populated areas, not to mention environmentalists complaining about the danger to birds in the vicinity of the wind farms and the public complaining about the noise and the farms being an eyesore.
All said and done WIND POWER remains one of the major contributors to renewable energy production and has gained importance in many countries which cannot make optimal use of solar power. The future looks bright and safe in the light of the advancements made in this field and might very well shape the way the future generations live.