How Does A Wind Generator Work? How Does A Wind Generator Work?

A wind generator, while carrying out an important function, is a fairly simple machine.  To fully understand the concept of the wind generator, you must understand how electricity works. Electricity is formed the same way whether its the static electricity—the kind you collect as you walk across a rug—or the electricity that you receive when you plug your computer in the wall socket: through moving electrons. 

How Electrons Make Electricity

Electrons, the negatively charged parts of atoms, move when excited though energy. This energy can come from movement like your feet across the rug or through a magnet like in generators. Wind generators produce electricity in this latter manner.

The Parts of a Wind Generator

There are several parts of a wind generator:

  • Tower - The tall stand that holds the generator and gets it in the air.
  • Wind turbine - The large spinning arms that move in the wind, they are the pieces that you see when you look at a wind generator. 
  • Generator - Produces the electricity.
  • Gear Box - Houses the gear from the turbine as well as the gear that attaches to the generator. The gear leading from the turbine spins at the speed of the turbine. Due to the gearing, it forces the generator gear to spin faster, making it a more efficient process. Think of a 10-speed bike, how switching gear from low to high allowed you to go faster while pedaling the same speed.

How the Generator Works

A fairly basic machine, a generator is a magnet with north and south ends spinning around a coil of wires (generally copper). This spining motion creates the flow of electrons that will produce the electricity. From there, the electrons need to go somewhere: the electrical hook-up, either to a power grid (like at a wind power station) or to a set of batteries for a person living off the grid. Either way, a circuit must be made to allow the electrons to flow. 

The flow of these electrons powers your TV on or runs your vacuum cleaner. Wind generators can be small enough to fit on an RV or big enough that a helicopter could land on it. Before you decided on putting one on your property, figure out if you have the room and openness to put a generator big enough to be worth the cost. 

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