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[Energy] [Column]3.Warmer winter with cool wind_Cho Sang-Min

by Eco Generation | 21-03-2012 09:55 Comments 18 recommendations 0

Warmer winter with cool wind


Cho Sang-Min, a researcher of Korea Energy Economics Institute



Using wind


The phenomenon that we commonly call, the ?wind,? signifies air current and is created by the temperature difference due to solar radiation and rotation of the earth. From long time ago, the human race has been using this wind for various purposes. People saved a lot of trouble of rowing boats by moving sailboats, got in touch with people by flying kites, or figured out enemy?s whereabouts.


The first thing that comes to your mind from cases that used wind is probably windmill. Windmill is known to have been used for the first time in Persia 1,300 years ago, and people started using it around Europe since 12th~13th century. Windmills were widely used is various ways, such as milling grains or drawing water for farming. The first country that comes to our mind when we hear a word, ?windmill,? is Netherland, and they used windmill to pump water from ocean. However, as steam engine was introduced before and after the Industrial Revolution, windmills gradually disappeared. Because since windmill depends on the wind, people cannot operate whenever they want to and couldn?t produce as strong force as the steam engine at the time.    



Return of the windmill


Around 20th century, windmills that have vanished from our life started to come back. However, the appearance was quite different from before. Windmills from the past were used to change energy using the wind into mechanical energy but windmills that came back to life was developed to create electricity by using wind. We call such electricity generating windmills ?the wind generator?. Having warm winter by operating electric heater with cool and sometimes even cold wind became possible.


The beginning of wind generator was an 18 meter high wind generator that was installed by Charles F. Brush in Cleveland, U.S. in 1888. Since then, the development of wind generator proceeded around Denmark and America, and in 1956, the wind generator very similar to those found today was produced. Unfortunately, windmills from this time period didn?t seem to have been very prominent. It was because it had mechanical failures too often and windmills didn?t have competitive price because the price of oil or coal was too inexpensive. However, since the oil shock in 1970?s, countries around the world started to develop windmills as the oil price went up and oil imports became unstable. Such trend became stronger after the Chernobyl nuclear accident in 1986.   


You can see windmills easily everywhere today. Korea installed a lot of windmills in the past few years and the most representative place is Daegwanryeong and Jeju Island. You can see dozens of windmills there. Currently, Korea is producing about 0.2% of entire electricity through windmills. It is still a very moderate rate, but the importance is expected to be much higher in the future.



Features of windmill


The size of windmill is a lot bigger than you think. Windmills in Daegwanryeong are about 40m tall and diameter of rotating blades is about 50m. And diameters of some windmills of today are even 80m wide. This is even taller than 50-story buildings. The landscape of dozens of these grand windmills standing tall is wonderful.


The most important parts in windmill are rotor blades that produces rotary power from wind energy and pivot that delivers rotary power to the rotor blades. How well these parts are designed and produced are the rating scales of technology of windmills. Also, the Yaw System that controls direction and angle of rotor blades and generator that produces electricity by using the produced turning force are also important parts.




Source: Homepage of Korea Wind Power Industry Association


These windmills are categorized into vertical-axis generator and horizontal-axis generator depending on the direction of wind and axis. The direction of wind and axis are vertical in vertical-axis generator, and for horizontal-axis generator- they are in horizontal. Generators that we normally see are the horizontal-axis generator and this is because the structure is simpler and cheaper than the vertical-axis generator and they have higher capacity to produce electricity. Most of wind generators in Korea are these horizontal-axis generators. However, there are regions where vertical-axis generator is more appropriate because it can generate electricity regardless of the direction of the wind and has very low noise output. 



Source : Homepage of Korea Wind Power Industry Association



Future of Wind Generator


Korea has special interest in wind generators among other renewable energy technologies, and is not sparing costs for technical development and installment. It is because the wind generator is very clean as it uses natural wind instead of fossil fuel or nuclear energy. But the bigger reason is because major growth is expected in the wind generator industry and Korea is expected to lead the wind generator industry in the future. It is because the technology of wind generator is very similar to the shipbuilding skills that we have the best technology and competitive power in the world. The basic principle of wind generator is to gain energy by spinning windmills with the flow of air, and the basic principle of ship engine is completely the opposite of delivering momentum to water by spinning screw with produced energy from engine. Meaning, only the direction where energy is delivered is opposite but the rest of technical elements are almost the same. In fact, famous vessel manufacturers of Korea are already manufacturing wind generators.


However, there are some people who are opposed to installing wind generators that seem to have no flaws. The reason is because wind generators can destroy the ecosystem or affect people?s daily lives. Wind generators are usually installed in regions where strong wind blows constantly. But as most of this region is mountain or forest, and instances of cutting down mountains or digging up forest occur quite frequently to install these wind generators. Then the ecosystem in that region will be destroyed and landscape will be damaged. Also, wind generators can cause much damage because it will make a lot of noise and shadow when rotor blades spin. This is why there are a lot of cases of installing wind generators in ocean. But installing these wind generators in ocean does not resolve every problem. They can affect sailing or fishing and can interfere with migratory birds.


Then, is there any wind generator that is clean, produces electricity safely, preserves ecosystem, and does not affect people?s life? Many researchers are trying hard to find answers to these issues, but they haven?t found clear answer yet. If you can solve these problems, you will make a landmark in the history of wind generator. Do you want to challenge yourself?






  • says :
    Posted 25-11-2014 18:58

  • says :
    Very informative with all those designs. Kudos! Some parts of our country (Philippines) are using wind mills as the source of their energy. I hope more areas will do the same.
    Posted 17-08-2014 00:27

  • says :
    nice article
    Posted 31-12-2013 01:03

  • says :
    good to know that :)
    Posted 22-12-2013 22:40

  • says :
    nice article informative
    Posted 22-12-2013 21:09

  • says :
    nice info
    Posted 20-12-2013 01:48

  • says :
    very good information
    Posted 16-12-2013 20:48

  • says :
    Thanks for the infomation
    Posted 18-11-2013 02:42

  • says :
    very informative, thanks for info
    Posted 31-08-2013 04:51

  • says :
    Posted 23-08-2013 18:43

  • says :
    great post!
    Posted 15-08-2013 08:57

  • says :
    thank you for great post.
    Posted 13-08-2013 08:58

  • says :
    nicely done and is worth appreciable
    Posted 11-08-2013 17:45

  • says :
    Nice information
    Posted 25-07-2013 22:18

  • says :
    thanks for sharing
    Posted 20-07-2013 22:31

  • says :
    yes, wind energy can be a good source of energy, in nepal, however, we have no provision of using wind energy
    Posted 19-07-2013 12:41

Rohan Kapur

  • Rohan Kapur says :
    Cleaner & greener option for sure.
    Posted 22-06-2013 20:59

  • says :
    Why not, Mankind will find it some day for sure.
    Posted 18-06-2013 22:52

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