Renewable Energy and The Industrial Revolution: Part 2
Wind energy is one of the most used sources of renewable energy world wide. Wind farms are starting to pop up all over. These wind electric systems use turbine blades to capture the kinetic energy in wind. When the blades turn it spins a shaft that leads to the rotor to a generator. This generator turns the rotational energy into electricity. Sounds pretty simple huh?
Windmills have been used to help production since 500-900 AD, but these were not used to produce electricity but to crush grain and pump water. Electric generation didn’t start being produced by windmills till much later in time.
Charles F. Brush figured this out in 1888. He built the first large windmill used to generate electricity and it was the first windmill to incorporate a step-up gearbox in order to turn a direct current generator. This windmill produced 12 kilowatts of electricity.
In 1891 Dane Poul La Cour developed the first electrical output wind machine and produced 25 kilowatts of electric. During WWI these units were used throughoutDenmark. By the 1920s both fan and sail type rotors had been developed but were insufficient for generating predictable amounts of electricity.
The development pretty much had a standstill during the 1930s and 1940s for a couple reasons; the great depression and demand of more power. But what if we kept working and striving for more out of the windmills? What if we pushed forward? Would every large piece of land have a slew of windmills? Would we have developed smaller windmills to generate electricity for homes and businesses?
Modern wind power systems started to become more developed in 1979 and wind power generators today are becoming more popular by the day. The ability to produce megawatts of power from a single source is amazing, with all the power being able to be fed directly back into the grid for everyone to use. But what if we figured this out 100+ years ago? What do you think?