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The history and development of the windmill

Antiquity[ edit ] Heron 's wind-powered organthe earliest machine powered by a windwheel [3] Sailboats and sailing ships have been using wind power for at least 5,500 years,[ citation needed ] and architects have used wind-driven natural ventilation in buildings since similarly ancient times. The use of wind to provide mechanical power came somewhat later in antiquity. The Babylonian emperor Hammurabi planned to use wind power for his ambitious irrigation project in the 17th century BC.

History of Windmills

These " Panemone windmills " were horizontal windmills, [note 1] which had long vertical driveshafts with six to twelve rectangular sails covered in reed matting or cloth. The "Green Dome of the palace was surmounted by the statue of a horseman carrying a lance that was believed to point toward the enemy. This public spectacle of wind-powered statues had its private counterpart in the ' Abbasid palaces where automata of various types were predominantly displayed.

The first windmills in Europe appear in sources dating to the twelfth century. These early European windmills were sunk post mills. The earliest certain reference to a windmill dates from 1185, in Weedley, Yorkshire, although a number of earlier but less certainly dated twelfth-century European sources referring to windmills have also been adduced.

By the 14th century Dutch windmills were in use to drain areas of the Rhine River delta. The first wind turbine used for the production of electricity was built in Scotland in July 1887 by Prof James Blyth of Anderson's CollegeGlasgow the precursor of Strathclyde University.

Brush[20] this was built by his engineering company at his home and operated from 1886 until 1900. The connected dynamo was used either to charge a bank of batteries or to operate up to 100 incandescent light bulbsthree arc lamps, and various motors in Brush's laboratory. The machine fell into disuse after 1900 when electricity became available from Cleveland's central stations, and was abandoned in 1908.

He later solved the problem of producing a steady supply of power by inventing a regulator, the Kratostate, and in 1895 converted his windmill into a prototype electrical power plant that was used to light the village of Askov. In the American midwest between 1850 and 1900, a large number of small windmills, perhaps six million, were installed on farms to operate irrigation pumps.

English Windmills

Danish development[ edit ] In Denmark wind power was an important part of a decentralized electrification in the first quarter of the 20th century, partly because of Poul la Cour from his first practical development in 1891 at Askov. This was a three-bladed, horizontal-axis, upwind, stall-regulated turbine similar to those now used for commercial wind power development. These would typically be used for lighting or battery charging, on farms out of reach of central-station electricity and distribution lines.

In 30 years the firm produced about 30,000 small wind turbines, some of which ran for many years in remote locations in Africa and on the Richard Evelyn Byrd expedition to Antarctica. In 1931 the Darrieus wind turbine was invented, with its vertical axis providing a different mix of design tradeoffs from the conventional horizontal-axis wind turbine. The vertical orientation accepts wind from any direction with no need for adjustments, and the heavy generator and gearbox equipment can rest on the ground instead of atop a tower.

By the 1930s windmills were widely used to generate electricity on farms in the United States where distribution systems had not yet been installed.

Used to replenish battery storage banks, these machines typically had generating capacities of a few hundred watts to several kilowatts. Beside providing farm power, they were also used for isolated applications such as electrifying bridge structures to prevent corrosion. In this period, high tensile steel was cheap, and windmills were placed atop prefabricated open steel lattice towers. The most widely used small wind generator produced for American farms in the 1930s was a two-bladed horizontal-axis machine manufactured by the history and development of the windmill Wincharger Corporation.

It had a peak output of 200 watts. Blade speed was regulated by curved air brakes near the hub that deployed at excessive rotational velocities. These machines were still being manufactured in the United States during the 1980s.

In 1936, the U. In Australia, the Dunlite Corporation built hundreds of small wind generators to provide power at isolated postal service stations and farms. These machines were manufactured from 1936 until 1970. It had a three-bladed 30 metre rotor on a steel lattice tower.

History of Wind Energy

It was designed by Palmer Cosslett Putnam and manufactured by the S. No similar-sized unit was to repeat this "bold experiment" for about forty years. This installation ran for around 20 years before being replaced by a submarine cable to the mainland. Comparison of NASA wind turbines US development[ edit ] From 1974 through the mid-1980s the United States government worked with industry to advance the technology and enable large commercial wind turbines.

The NASA wind turbines were developed under a program to create a utility-scale wind turbine industry in the U.

  1. By mounting the body this way, the mill is able to rotate to face the variable wind direction. Thirteen experimental turbines are put into operation and the research paves the way for many of the multi-megawatt technologies used today.
  2. These machines were manufactured from 1936 until 1970.
  3. It pioneered many technologies used in modern wind turbines and allowed Vestas, Siemens and others to get the parts they needed.
  4. It created an interest in alternative energy sources, paving the way for the re-entry of the wind turbine to generate electricity.
  5. This feature provided improved rotor efficiency compared with the Persian mills by allowing an increase in rotor speed, which also allowed for superior grinding and pumping action.

With funding from the National Science Foundation and later the United States Department of Energy DOEa total of 13 experimental wind turbines were put into operation, in four major wind turbine designs. This research and development program pioneered many of the multi-megawatt turbine technologies in use today, including: The large wind turbines developed under this effort set several world records for diameter and power output.

The MOD-2 wind turbine cluster of three turbines produced 7. In 1987, the MOD-5B was the largest single wind turbine operating in the world with a rotor diameter of nearly 100 meters and a rated power of 3.

It demonstrated an availability of 95 percent, an unparalleled level for a new first-unit wind turbine. The MOD-5B had the first large-scale variable speed drive train and a sectioned, two-blade rotor that enabled easy transport of the blades.

  • The UK announced plans for thousands of new offshore wind turbines which could power every home in Britain by 2020;
  • Especially important was the novel wing construction using help from German aeronautics specialists;
  • In 1931 the Darrieus wind turbine was invented, with its vertical axis providing a different mix of design tradeoffs from the conventional horizontal-axis wind turbine;
  • They were followed by mills with thin wooden slats nailed to wooden rims;
  • These incentives funded the first major use of wind power for utility electricity.

the history and development of the windmill The 4 megawatt WTS-4 held the world record for power output for over 20 years. Although the later units were sold commercially, none of these two-bladed machines were ever put into mass production. When oil prices declined by a factor of three from 1980 through the early 1990s, [34] many turbine manufacturers, both large and small, left the business.

These rebates funded the first major use of wind power for utility electricity. These machines, gathered in large wind parks such as at Altamont Pass would be considered small and un-economic by modern wind power development standards.

Danish development[ edit ] A giant change took place in 1978 when the world's first multi-megawatt wind turbine was constructed. It pioneered many technologies used in modern wind turbines and allowed Vestas, Siemens and others to get the parts they needed. Especially important was the novel wing construction using help from German aeronautics specialists.

The power plant was capable of delivering 2MW, had a tubular tower, pitch controlled wings and three blades. It was built by the teachers and students of the Tvind school. Before completion these "amateurs" were much ridiculed. The turbine still runs today and looks almost identical to the newest most modern mills.

Danish commercial wind power development stressed incremental improvements in capacity and efficiency based on extensive serial production of turbines, in contrast with development models requiring extensive steps in unit size based primarily on theoretical extrapolation. A practical consequence is that all commercial wind turbines resemble the Danish model, a light-weight three-blade upwind design.

However, early turbines rotated counter-clockwise like the old windmills, but a shift occurred from 1978 and on. Some of the blade customers were companies that later evolved into VestasSiemensEnercon and Nordex.

Public demand required that all turbines rotate the same way, and the success of these companies made clockwise the new standard. Solar cells were too expensive for small-scale electrical generation, so some turned to windmills.

At first they built ad-hoc designs using wood and automobile parts. Most people discovered that a reliable wind generator is a moderately complex engineering project, well beyond the ability of most amateurs.

  • Here also, the primary applications were apparently grain grinding and water pumping;
  • It created an interest in alternative energy sources, paving the way for the re-entry of the wind turbine to generate electricity;
  • Smock mill bodies are theoretically roughly circular, though the use of straight timber means that most are actually eight sided;
  • Long since demolished, its name lives on as that of a Technical school in Pinelands;
  • It was built by the teachers and students of the Tvind school.

Some began to search for and rebuild farm wind generators from the 1930s, of which Jacobs Wind Electric Company machines were especially sought after. Hundreds of Jacobs machines were reconditioned and sold during the 1970s. An early example would be Enertech Corporation of Norwich, Vermont, which began building 1. In the 1990s, as aesthetics and durability became more important, turbines were placed atop tubular steel or reinforced concrete towers.

Small generators are connected to the tower on the ground, then the tower is raised into position. Larger generators are hoisted into position atop the tower and there is a ladder or staircase inside the tower to allow technicians to reach and maintain the generator, while protected from the weather. Even though wind power generates electricity rather than liquid fuels, and thus is not an immediate substitute for petroleum in most applications especially transportfears over petroleum shortages only added to the urgency to expand wind power.

Earlier oil crises had already caused many utility and industrial users of petroleum to shift to coal or natural gas. Wind power showed potential for replacing natural gas in electricity generation on a cost basis. Technological innovations, enabled by advances in computer aided engineering, [39] continue to drive new developments in the application of wind power.

Floating wind turbine technology[ edit ] Offshore wind power began to expand beyond fixed-bottom, shallow-water turbines the history and development of the windmill late in the first decade of the 2000s. By late 2011, Japan announced plans to build a multiple-unit floating wind farm, with six 2-megawatt turbines, off the Fukushima coast of northeast Japan where the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster has created a scarcity of electric power. High altitude wind power Airborne wind energy systems use airfoils or turbines supported in the air by buoyancy or by aerodynamic lift.

The purpose is to eliminate the expense of tower construction, and allow extraction of wind energy from steadier, faster, winds higher in the atmosphere. As yet no grid-scale plants have been constructed. Many design concepts have been demonstrated.