Wind energy has powered civilization for millennia with wind mills, and wind sails. But today with the demand for renewable energy there is a great demand for wind turbines to create electricity.

Lets look at the uses of wind energy, the wind patterns around the world, and what potential the wind has today to help with our energy needs.

The Wind

The First Windmills

It wasn’t long before more uses were found for this free and plentiful source of energy, and simple windmills were created to pump water and grind grains across China and what is now the Middle East, becoming a major form of food production. Over time, the idea was harnessed by the Roman Empire and other European countries, thanks to merchants and crusaders bringing back the idea from their travels. In the Netherlands, the windmill was adapted and used for draining lakes and marshes around the delta of the River Rhine, which often flooded. History of Wind Energy

Ancient Wind Mills

Dutch windmills for pumping water

The dutch used windmills to pump water. The way they created land is by building a dyke around some land, and them using a windmill to pump the water out so they could have dry land.

Dutch windmills for sawing wood

In order to do a lot of trading, you need a big fleet. To have a big fleet, you need a lot of boats, which are made of wood. During this time, the Dutch found a way to turn the windmill’s rotary motion into an up and down movement used for sawing. Windmills fueled the Dutch “Golden Age”

Wind energy for Sailing

The wind has been used to propel sail boats since ancient times.

Evolution of Sea Travel

Wind energy has been used to move ships since ancient times.

Sailing with the wind

One of the tricks that modern sailing ships can do is sail against the wind. The early ships only sailed with the wind, but newer sails allow the ships to sail into the wind.

Use of wind for farming

The wind has been harnessed for many years to pump water to cattle and irrigation.

Wind water pumps explained

Where is the wind

We often think of the wind as something that is constantly changing, But in olden times the trade winds propelled ships all over the globe.

Civilizations have for many thousands of years made use of wind energy for sailing. Researchers believe that sailing has been in existence in some form since as far back as 5000 BC. In more recent times, we have seen both small and large ships capable of sailing under the power of the wind.

It may surprise you that some modern shipping companies are beginning to embrace wind energy once again. Vessel’s including fishing trawlers and even cargo ships have had large kites installed. These can help to reduce fuel consumption on long journeys by as much as 30% under the right conditions. This is an obvious attraction for companies that spend significant amounts on fuel and for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint. The Uses of Wind Energy

Lets have a look at what these winds looked like using modern tools. Open the link below in a new tab, use your mouse to rotate and zoom.

Winds of the Earth

Harnessing the wind for power

Lets explore the different types of devices used to capture energy from the wind.

How a wind turbine works

Vertical Axis wind turbine

We have seen the horizontal axis wind turbines, which have the generator at the top of a tower. But why not put the generator at the ground and use the wind to turn a vertical shaft.

Vertical wind turbines discussed

We have seen why vertical axis wind turbines are used. But how many styles are available for vertical axis wind turbines.

Unusual turbine blade design

How about a wind turbine that looks like a giant screw?

What about floating wind turbines?

Given that a large portion of the earth is covered in water, why not have the wind turbines float on the ocean?

What about flying wind turbines?

Why do we need to build massive towers to hold the wind turbine? Suppose we could have the wind turbine fly into the wind.

Top 5 Airborne Wind Energy Innovations

We have all seen or flown a kite, why not use a kite to generate electric power?

Written by John F. Moore

Last Revised: Tue Jun 11 07:08:08 PM EDT 2024

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
HTML5 Powered with CSS3 / Styling, and