7 Uses of Wind Energy Explained
Uses of wind energy are; electricity generation, recreation, food production and processing, transport, water pumping, wave power production, and carbon emissions reduction.
This article discusses wind energy uses and functions, as follows;
1). Electricity Generation
Electricity generation is one of the most important uses of wind energy.
In order for wind energy to be used to generate electricity, it must be captured and converted . This can be achieved using a wind turbine.
Various parts of the wind turbine perform various functions to generate electricity from wind energy.
The turbine blades work based on aerodynamic principles, to capture wind energy. This energy is converted from kinetic to mechanical form as the blades are made to rotate .
In turn, the rotating blades spin a rotor which activates an electric generator. Electricity is then generated by electromagnetic induction.
There are other innovative models of the wind turbine, such as the vibration-based, blade-less turbine . However, the basic principle of kinetic-mechanical-electromagnetic conversion is the same.
Wind energy as a source of electricity is an important topic in the field of sustainable development.
This is because wind is a clean form of renewable energy compared to fossil fuels and nuclear energy. The use of wind to generate electricity mitigates environmental degradation issues like greenhouse emission, global warming and air quality decline.
Wind energy is used in sports and recreational activities like windsurfing.
It also plays a role in coastal tourism, as well as boating and racing, to propel boats and race cars.
3). Food Production and Processing (as Uses of Wind Energy)
Wind energy can be used to produce and process food.
In terms of food production, wind energy is useful as a renewable resource for sustainable farming. It can be used to power irrigation systems , and to support other agricultural activities that require energy.
Wind energy can be used to grind grains in flour production . Although this is an old practice, modified methods such as integrated solar–and-wind mills have been developed.
Lastly, wind energy is used for air-drying of food products.
Wind energy is useful in the transport sector.
One of the areas where wind energy is relevant is in marine transport. Marine vessels like cargo ships, can use sails to capture and harness wind energy for their own locomotion. This approach saves cost on fossil fuel and is most useful in cases where urgency to reach the destination is not a factor.
For marine vessels that do not directly rely on wind energy, it is still necessary to align the operations of these transport vessels with the influence of wind. This is in order to prevent energy and time wastage due to wind resistance .
Cars can also depend on wind energy. Some cars are powered by wind, although these are not reliable as a means of transport.
For electric cars and hybrid cars that use an electric motor for their locomotion, electricity from wind energy can be used to recharge the batteries of these vehicles.
5). Water Pumping
Using a roto-translational mechanism, wind energy can be used to lift water from underground aquifers .
The use of wind energy for this purpose is similar to the principle used to operate manual water pumps. Kinetic energy is converted to mechanical, and provides the suction pressure that is needed to pump water.
There are advantages of wind-based water pumping. The most important advantage is the fact that it is an alternative to fossil fuel usage, and can save cost. Also, it can be used in rural, remote areas with no power supply.
Because of the spontaneous nature of wind, such water systems can be configured such that they function autonomously. The extra water that is pumped can be stored in a reservoir.
As part of sustainable farming practice, wind energy can be used as a supportive resource for water supply on large farms.
Aside the manual method, wind energy can also be used to generate electricity which is used to activate an electromechanical water pump.
There are some drawbacks to wind-based water pumping. They include low reliability and suitability only in remote areas.
6). Wave Power Production
Wave power is a type of renewable mechanical energy that is possessed by ocean waves and can be used for electricity generation.
There are close links between wind energy and wave power, such that wave power may be described as one of the sources of wind energy. Conversely, wind energy is also a source of wave power .
Wave power is partly produced from wind energy which is captured and converted by water as wind currents blow across the surface of the ocean. The captured energy is converted from kinetic to mechanical form, and creates the visible feature that is known as ocean waves.
There are other sources and factors that produce wave energy, such as geomagnetism, topography and Earth’s rotation. However, wind plays a key role in producing this type of energy.
Because of the interdependence of wind and wave power, the two of these energy types can be harnessed simultaneously using integrated systems like wind-wave facilities.
Offshore wind turbines and wave power converters can also be co-located, to optimize productivity and save cost .
7). Carbon Emission Reduction
Reduction of carbon emission is one of the advantages of using wind energy.
Wind turbines do not release greenhouse gases as they operate. They also do not require water-cooling, which can release vapor into the atmosphere.
The low environmental impact of wind energy saves cost on environmental remediation, carbon capture and storage, and carbon tax.
Also, efforts are being made to reduce the cost of wind power and increase its energy efficiency; in order to make it a good alternative to fossil fuels .
Uses of wind energy are;
- Electricity Generation
- Food Production and Processing
- Water Pumping
- Wave Power Production
- Carbon Emission Reduction
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