Wind turbine (wind power plant, WPP) is a device intended to convert airflow power into usable kinds of energy: kinetic, mechanical, electrical.
Wind wheel is the main working unit of a wind turbine. Subjected to wind, it converts the airflow power into mechanical energy of its own rotation by aerodynamic pressure of the airflow on the blades.
Types of wind turbines
Types of wind turbines by application and methods of wind power conversion into other kinds of energy:
- Wind mechanical plants
- Wind electric plants (most common)
- Wind thermal plants
- Combined-output wind power plants which produce, for example, mechanical and electrical energy.
Wind turbine types by design and number of blades:
- 2-, 3-, 4-, 5-blade WPPs
- Bladeless WPPs (vortex turbines).
Wind turbine types by rotation axis orientation:
- Vertical/rotary turbines — turbines which are square to the ground surface, driven by mild wind
- Horizontal/vaned turbines (traditional windmill principle) — turbines with rotor axis parallel to the ground surface, high wind power-to-AC/DC conversion capacity.
Wind turbine types by blade material:
- Carbon fibre-reinforced plastic (CFRP)
- Glass fibre-reinforced plastic (GFRP)
Wind turbine types by offline work capability:
- Offline wind turbines for sites remote from utilities.
- Wind turbines co-operating with other energy sources (diesel generator sets, power plants, photovoltaic power stations, etc.) for uninterrupted power supply.
- Online wind turbines (connected to the public power supply networks).
Wind turbine types by application:
- Industrial wind turbines intended to supply industrial sites.
- Domestic wind turbines intended to supply private homes and small homesteads.
- Commercial wind turbines which produce energy intended to be sold to public networks.
A decision to install a wind turbine as well as the preferred design and type option shall be based on the particular site conditions: average wind speed and duration, strength, predominant direction and turbulence, other weather conditions, terrain.