Most of the renewable energy experts in the world pay more attention to wind energy. Wind energy which is referred to as kinetic energy is converted to electricity power which can be used to power homes and businesses. ( Morthorst, G & Poul, E. 2002). One of the equipments which can be used to convert kinetic energy from wind to electricity is wind turbine. It can be made in various designs which include horizontal and vertical axis wind turbines. The most common design is the horizontal wind turbine.
A wind turbine can be referred to by several names depending on the type of energy used to produce electricity. For instance, it can be referred to wind power plant if mechanical energy is used to produce electricity. (Tony, B. & David, S. 2001). The device at the same time can be called windmill or wind pump if mechanical energy is used to drive it and the energy produced is used to grind grains or for pumping water. Finally, if used for charging batteries, it is called a wind charger.
While constructing a wind turbine, several materials have been used depending on their properties. In this paper, whatever will be discussed will be more on how gold can be used to make this particular device. It is a very rare case but is possible to be put into practice.
For a wind turbine to function properly it has to be made of several parts. Each and every part is distinct from each other and they are discussed below.
The rotor contains two parts. That is the hub and the propeller like blades and these blades turns as the wind blows. The rotors blades are usually referred to as the sails of the system. (Tony, B. & David, S. 2001). That is, they block the wind while flowing through them. The wind blows, the blades first of all lift themselves up before rotating and creates mechanical energy. This mechanical energy created by the blades is transferred to the rotor. Many wind turbines are made using aerodynamically designed blades. The current designs of the blades are made of fiberglass and also plastics.
Wind turbines which lack a gearbox can turn as low as two dozens of revolutions in every minute. ( Morthorst, G & Poul, E. 2002). But in the real sense, for a wind turbine to produce enough electricity, it must turn very fast. Therefore, the mechanical energy produced by the spinning rotor is turned into a speed which fast enough to give power to the turbine generator.
While describing generator in the most basic way, it uses a process known as electromagnetic induction to produce electrical voltage which in simple terms referred to as potential difference. ( Morthorst, G & Poul, E. 2002). It is this voltage that helps in moving electrical current from one point to another. Hence, it is in order to claim that generation of voltage is the same as generating current. The generator is consisting basically of a magnet and conductors. Inside the generator, the conductor which is always a coiled wire is placed a round a magnet. In this arrangement, if the parts are moved relative to the other, then electric voltage is created by the use of faraday’s law.
The main function of the generator in a wind turbine is to create electricity from the mechanical energy produced by the spinning rotor. From the turbine tower, electricity is carried via cables to the utility power grid. This is a place where electricity is stored before it is transmitted to where it is being consumed.
This is a device which is used in housing several parts of the wind turbine used to wind power into electrical energy. (Tony, B. & David, and S. 2001).These parts include the controller, gearbox, generator and other turbine components. It needs to be hard and strong enough to be used for this purpose.
Wind flows faster and steadier in a higher altitude. Therefore, the tower holds the rotor high enough to capture this wind. Currently, this part of a wind turbine is made of steel. This is because it needs to be strong to carry the remaining parts of the turbine.
This device is connected to the center of the rotor. They both spin at the same time and with the same speed. (Frank, D.1991). The mechanical energy in the rotor is transferred to the shaft which transfers it a gain to the generator connected to the other side of the device.
Most people a void using gold to make wind turbine sighting only one reason. They claim that this particular metal is very expensive. But considering my design, I found out that this metal has many advantages as well as properties which outweigh its disadvantages. In the current world, gold is mostly used in making products such as jewellery. (Tony, B. & David, S. 2001). It is also used in making several medals and rings which I consider not enough way to utilize this particular metal. In the automobile industry, gold is used for heat shielding especially in the engines. It is also used widely in making of coins.
Gold has several characteristics which make it suitable for use in making wind turbine. First and foremost, it is the most malleable metal on earth. One gram of gold can be made or molded to form one sheet of square meter. This can be used to make the nacelle which is used in housing controller, gearbox, generator and other turbine components.
Gold can be beaten until it forms a transparent piece of metal. Further more, this small sheet of metal formed reflects light. ( Morthorst, G & Poul, E. 2002). This property can be made use of while making the generator housing of the wind turbine. This is very important since every thing happening inside the generator can be seen even without dismantled it. This makes fault finding very easy incase of any breakdown.
Another very important property of gold is that it forms alloys with other metals very easily. Alloys are very hard metals and as we have already discussed, the tower needs a very strong metal. (Frank, D.1991). This is because it carries the whole component of the wind turbine. It must be strong enough to withstand the weight it carries. This property of gold can help in forming alloys with other metals so that they can be used to make wind turbine towers.
Thirdly, gold is a good conductor of heat and electricity. Most of the wind turbine parts require a good conductor of electricity. Since it is malleable, it can be used to make conductors which are coiled with a magnet inside the wind turbine generator. These conductors together with the magnets, rotates to produce voltage. In this case, instead of buying conductors separately, gold can be used to serve this purpose.
Chemically, gold cannot be affected by air, moisture or any other corrosive reagents. In wind turbine, we deal basically with wind and of course moisture too. To a void tear and wear since wind turbine is very expensive to make, we should use gold to make several parts of this device. Wind turbines are situated in high altitude mostly. ( Morthorst, G & Poul, E. 2002). Air which is used to turn the blades comes from several areas and industrial places are included. This air might carry with it some corrosive reagents from the industries. But as already been stated, these corrosive reagents cannot react with a wind turbine made of gold.
Gold is also a very good reflector of electromagnetic radiation. This property can be made into use in inside the generator which transforms the mechanical energy produced by spinning rotor into electrical energy. Gold coupled together with a permanent magnet, produces voltage very efficiently and hence, the efficiency of the wind turbine is greatly improved. To avoid eating a way of the rotating blades through the mechanical heating by the wind, they can be coated by gold to make them work for a long time. (Tony, B. & David, S. 2001). Gold solder can be used to join the several parts of the wind turbine. This is possible since it can be melted through brazing and used to join several joints of the wind turbine even if they are made of different hard metals. This is so since it can bear very high temperatures hence producing hard joints.
The only reason why I chose to use gold is because of its unique characteristics. Even though it is a metal, it is very easy to be made into various shapes and work with. It won’t require much energy of rather thorough machining. (Frank, D.1991). It conducts electricity very well and this makes it very good to be used in making the conductors which transmit electricity from the generator to the utility power grid. Because of its malleability, gold can be used in areas where harder metals cannot be used. This is very important in making the wind turbine tower. Gold is very resistant to corrosion and this translate that wind turbines situated in areas prone to corrosion should be made using this metal.
All in all, the question which people keep on asking themselves is that will gold continue to be available since its value continues to rise and also its production in countries like South Africa is diminishing. In the real sense, the demand for gold will continue to increase because of the several uses it is acquiring. (Tony, B. & David, S. 2001). The wind turbine made of gold also will gain a lot of fame bearing in mind its several advantages over the other metals. I would like to put it clear that in my paper, I don’t target new designs of making wind turbines but to replace some of its parts with gold as my main material.
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