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Energy Energy Wind

'Do you celebrate Global Wind Day on June 15th?'

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by: Moon Apple
'Do you celebrate Global Wind Day on June 15th?'

On June 15th we celebrate Global Wind Day. Organised by European Wind Energy Association and Global Wind Energy Council, this is the day to learn all about wind energy, one of the most promising sustainable energy sources, and discover its true potential. So please allow us to take you on a tour through history of wind energy from ancient times to present day and even take a sneak peek into the future!
House in many colors wind turbines behind
How and when did we start using wind energy?

Wind is a very powerful force of nature. It can uproot trees, blow off roofs and, given enough time, it can build and destroy mountains. So it is only natural that humans have been looking for ways to harness this energy and use it to their advantage.

The first use of wind energy came in form of sailing. Scientists have discovered ceramics from the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture in Eastern Europe that depicted sailboats as early as 6000 BC. Ancient Egyptians, Mesopotamians and proto-Austronesian people have also been known to actively use sailboats in the ancient times.

Then came along Heron of Alexandria, ‘the greatest experimentalist of antiquity’. He invented the first wind wheel in 1st century AD to operate an organ – this was the earliest known example of a wind-powered machine. While archaeologists cannot yet say when or where the first windmills were built, there is evidence of the Persians using windmills around 500-900 AD. Windmills were used to pump seawater for salt making by year 1000 AD in both China and Sicily.
Heron's Windwheel black and white drawing

Heron's Wind Wheel

In Europe windmills started to appear around 12th century. They were used extensively for food production as their operation was not disrupted by winter in the way water mills’ was. The Dutch have later taken existing windmill designs and adapted them for draining lakes and marshes. If not for wind-powered mills, the Netherlands would’ve looked very different today – it is estimated that a whopping 17% of the country is land that was reclaimed from the sea and lakes!

First wind turbine was built by Professor James Blyth in Scotland in July 1887. It was used to charge accumulators that provided electricity to light Blyth’s cottage, effectively making his cottage the first house in the world to have its electricity come from this green source.
windmill on a roof of a cottage designed by Professor James Blyth

First wind turbine was built by Professor James Blyth in Scotland in July 1887

A favourite on the rise

Naturally, many improvements were made to Professor’s design over the last 130 years. Sleek, horizontal axis turbines with are a far cry from Blyth’s vertical axis construction that looks like something from a sci-fi movie (even though it was made way before those even existed!).

Wind energy is currently one of the most important sources of renewable energy. More than 90 countries use wind energy and with wind power being the fastest growing energy source in the world more countries are expected to adopt it in the coming years. China is world leader in wind energy adoption rate, and while wind power currently accounts only for 4% of nation’s total energy consumption this is likely to rapidly change in the upcoming years. On the other hand Denmark and Portugal have more than 40% of their electricity supplied by wind power – in fact, in March 2018 Portugal’s renewable energy sources generated 103,6% of mainland electricity consumption! The US is also adopting wind energy at a fast pace.

So why is wind energy becoming so popular? It all has to do with our favourite word here at WhatsOrb – Sustainability.  Wind isn’t a resource the world can ever run out of and this fact alone already gives makes it much more advantageous from both environmental and economic perspectives compared to the more traditional energy sources like oil, natural gas and coal. But that isn’t the only benefit of switching over to wind power. Air pollution is the fourth largest threat to human health globally and energy production is the biggest source of it by far. Wind turbines, on the other hand, do not produce any emissions that can cause pollution and are thus much better for the environment. They also don’t require any water for cooling, which allows them to be used in water-stressed regions without causing further harm. All of these factors make wind energy very attractive and with costs getting lower and lower as technology gets perfected we can only expect it to become more popular in the years to come.

What the future holds

Wind energy offers a lot of benefits and with more and more plants being built every year it is clear that it will play a significant role in world’s power supply. Naturally, this means we will see more exciting developments in the technology and, hopefully, more uses for it.

One of such developments was unveiled by GE this March. It is called Haliade-X and it promises to become the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbine to date. It will be 260m(853ft) tall, which is as tall as San Francisco’s Transamerica Pyramid! Haliade-X also promises to be able to generate energy even at lower wind speeds and its simplified design will allow for easier repairs, allowing it to provide green energy at a lower cost.
Windmills at sea Haliade-X

The Halliade-X, promises to become the world’s most powerful offshore wind turbine to date

Another project to watch is SUMR (Segmented Ultralight Morphing Rotor) Wind, a collaboration between leading industry experts and universities that is even more ambitious than that of GE. Their goal is to perfect existing turbine design in every aspect and allow for creation of massive turbines that will be taller than the Eiffel Tower. These turbines are expected to reduce costs of offshore energy by as much as 50% by 2025.

While GE’s and SUMR Wind’s projects are all about improving the existing tech, Makani Power is a company that is looking to introduce a new way of harvesting wind energy. Their energy kites can soar to 300m(984ft) and fly autonomously in loops, which allows it to generate high amounts of power in a very efficient manner. They are going to do flight tests in Hawaii this year and we are looking forward to seeing the results!

Are there any cool wind power-related projects you’ve seen lately? Share them with us in the comments – we are ready to be blown away!

https://www.whatsorb.com/category/energy

By: Ariana Murzina

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I'm interested in everything that has to do with sustainability. My house is solar powered and I have my own water supply and filtering system.  I grow my own vegetables and fruit. Most of the time I go on the road by bicycle and for long distances I use public transport.  
I'm interested in everything that has to do with sustainability. My house is solar powered and I have my own water supply and filtering system.  I grow my own vegetables and fruit. Most of the time I go on the road by bicycle and for long distances I use public transport.  
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