Homemade wind turbines are becoming popular as a result of more people seeking to do something about their energy consumption without necessarily breaking the bank. In this sense, there is increasing interest the world over about how wind generators work. All wind turbines fall into two major categories. There are the Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines (HAWT) and the Vertical Axis Wind Turbines (VAWT). This discussion revolves around the vertical axis homemade wind turbine .
The distinction between the two types of wind turbines is in their plane of rotation. If we locate the center of the axis around which the blades rotate and then extrapolate this axis, we end up with a vertical line for the vertical axis machines while we end up with a horizontal axis for the horizontal axis machines. The machines operate on different concepts and offer different advantages and drawbacks.
As stated earlier, vertical axis homemade wind turbine rotates around a vertical axis like an anemometer. This means that as the wind passes through the vanes, some of the vanes of the machine move forward into the wind while the others move away with the wind. It is this motion that generates torque. The power generation unit is normally situated on the ground.
There are several advantages associated with the vertical axis homemade wind turbine. The first one is that they are easy to install and maintain since the generation unit is accessible on the ground. Unlike horizontal axis machines, they do not require cranes to lift up the unit and to ferry maintenance crews. Secondly, they are not sensitive to wind direction. This means that they do not require a yaw mechanism, thereby reducing design constraints. They work well in sites where the wind direction varies a lot. Thirdly, the machines do not present much threat to birds as much as the horizontal axis machines which must be mounted in high masts. Finally, the horizontal axis machines are ideal for installation in urban environments because they do not require high wind speeds for efficient operation.
However there are also some key drawbacks associated with vertical axis machines. Ground mounting makes them easily accessible to anyone hence they can be vandalized, and can also be a threat to the safety of people and animals nearby. Secondly, they produce about forty percent less power when compared to similar horizontal axis machines. This comes from the fact that part of the vanes move into the wind negating some of the power generated by the vanes moving with the wind. The third main disadvantage of the machines is that since they are difficult to hoist, they can not be used to generate greater amount of power. Wind speeds on the ground are very low compared to the raised platforms that horizontal axis machines enjoy.
In many ways, the choice of materials for the construction of both horizontal and vertical axis machines remains the same. The major difference is that depending on type, vertical axis machines for power generation tend to use more material in the construction of their vanes compared to the blades of the horizontal axis machines. There is a real opportunity for vertical axis homemade wind turbine machines to flourish in urban spaces especially because of their unobtrusive nature.
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