What is an Axis Wind Turbine?

Ken Black

An axis wind turbine is a turbine that creates electricity by using the wind to spin the shaft, which then powers a generator. The technology has become prevalent since the beginning of the 21st Century as a source of clean energy. Wind farms utilizing the axis wind turbine are now present in many areas around the globe, including the United States. There are two basic axis wind turbine models: the horizontal axis turbine and the vertical axis turbine.

An axis wind turbine creates electricity by harnessing the power of the wind.
An axis wind turbine creates electricity by harnessing the power of the wind.

The horizontal axis wind turbine is the most common model in operation. This turbine looks more like a traditional windmill or desktop fan. Situated at the top of the tower is a nacelle sitting perpendicular to the post, in a horizontal position. It extends both ways from the tower. On one side of the nacelle are the blades for the turbine, which spin parallel to the tower. The length of the blades is determined by the grade of the turbine, whether it is a commercial grade or for private use.

Some say that an axis wind turbine threatens the open flying space of birds.
Some say that an axis wind turbine threatens the open flying space of birds.

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The advantages of this type of wind turbine are the traditional design, which is easy to maintain, and its high efficiency. Many programs are designed to educate those in the operation and repair or horizontal access wind turbines. Further, the technology, because it is so common, it has already gone through a couple of generations of refinement. One of the disadvantages is that it must be turned into the wind for full effectiveness.

The vertical axis wind turbine is slightly different in its configuration. Instead of of having an adjustable horizontal nacelle, the blades spin around the tower structure itself. The blades are also situated vertically on the turbine. This is a relatively new wind turbine concept, especially on the commercial market, but many believe that it has a lot of potential.

There are a number of advantages and disadvantages of the vertical axis wind turbine. The main advantage is it can catch wind in any direction, and so it does not need to be adjusted when the wind changes. The main disadvantage is that the technology is still in its infancy. Therefore the designs are not nearly as efficient as horizontal axis wind turbines, though this may change in time.

No matter which type of axis wind turbine is used, it is clear the technology is improving. Though some debate exists over the practicality of the devices, and some say they pose a hazard to migrating birds and take away from the natural beauty of the land, they continue to gain in popularity. These wind turbines are seen as one part of the bigger picture in the next generation of energy production.

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