How a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine Works

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Wind turbines are the funny looking devices that use the power of wind to make electricity. When you see them for the first time you might think they are huge fans designed to cool down a world heating up.

But after close scrutiny you might realize they serve a very strategic purpose, generating power. There are different types of wind turbines of which the vertical axis wind turbine is one.

The vertical axis wind turbine

A vertical axis wind turbine is just like any other in the sense that it uses wind to make power. In other words the process of creating electricity using these and other types is the same, but there are a few differences.

Basically they are upright in structure and they are the turbines you see pretty much every time a picture of a turbine is shown to you. In other words they stand upright as the name suggests.

wind power generation
Wind power generation, panoramic view.

These turbines have long blades that stick out from an oval shaped centre. If you have no idea how this looks just imagine your living room fan, overhead or standstill on a stool or stand.

It is these turbines that move when the wind blows over them.

So when these blades are set into motion by blowing wind, kinetic energy is created. Kinetic energy is energy derived whilst an object is in motion. This kinetic energy is not the power that is generated and used as electricity but in actual fact it is the raw product which is in turn used to make electric power.

wind generator for home
A wind generator for home sits on top of a building here.

Rotational energy

The very moment kinetic energy gets formed it is then used to turn shafts positioned inside the vertical trough of the turbine. As these shafts turn another form of energy gets produced, rotational energy.

The name stems from the fact that the shaft turns in a rotational movement as the shaft turns around and around.

Rotational energy created within the vertical trough is passed through cables and taken into a converter. In this converter rotational energy is converted into electricity, the power you use in your home to light up lights and power electric gadgets.

The moment rotational energy gets converted to power that power is then stored. The size of storage facilities depends on the size and capacity of the turbine. But generally a large capacity turbine uses more storage space than an ordinary turbine.

Vertical axis wind turbines are the most popular and most efficient of the turbines on the market.

the dancing ladies wind farm
The Dancing Ladies (Vesta wind turbines) - Gigha wind farm, Scotland.
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I’m Martin Hurley - the friendliest and most helpful person in the wind generator field! (That’s me on an ‘early’ electric bike, way back in 2010). I write posts and reviews about wind power, green energy, wind turbine kits, wind energy tools, tech and more. Depending where you live, one day I’m sure there’ll be wind generators built into our homes, our vehicles and on every street corner - and they’ll be fantastically efficient!