Wind industry

The best energy solution for off-grid wind measurements and lighting of obstructions

Lighting of obstructions

For safety reasons, the uninterrupted power supply of obstruction lighting and lubricant pumps during the construction phase and during maintenance work is indispensable for wind power plants. The EFOY Pro helps to reliably operate these.

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Wind measurement

Wind measurement systems in locations of potential wind farms require a reliable, off-grid power supply of up to 12 months which is ensured with the EFOY Pro.

More about wind measurement

References

Complete energy solutions for the wind industry

Off-grid power for wind applications

Within the wind industry, many applications require long-term, off-grid and reliable power which can be guaranteed with EFOY Pro fuel cells. Wind measurement systems such as LiDAR, SOLAR and masts need a constant power supply. This is also the case for obstruction lighting and pumps, especially during the construction phase and extended maintenance intervals.

Conventional generators have to be re-fuelled frequently to remain in regular operation. Additionally, they are not very environmentally friendly. Batteries have to be replaced every two to three days. Solar cells do not always deliver the required quantity of energy either.

Reliable power in the wind industry

EFOY Pro fuel cells supply the required energy without maintenance and in an environmentally friendly way, for several weeks or even months, without any user intervention The compact EFOY Pro fuel cell can be integrated in weather-proof outdoor boxes, in trailers or cabinets.

EFOY energy solutions by SFC Energy AG supply electrical energy to measurement and early-warning systems, military applications, traffic management systems, caravans, yachts and much more. Get in touch with us. We are happy to give you advice with your individual requirements and requests.

What is Wind Power?

Wind power refers to the generation of clean, renewable, reliable, low-carbon electricity from the green, natural power of wind using wind turbines. Wind power is an increasingly popular choice across the globe. As of 2021, the IEA estimates that 1500 TWh of humanity’s electricity is now generated by wind turbines. Wind power is steadily growing in capacity by c.11% (worldwide) year on year, too. [1]

How Does Wind Power Work?

Wind power plants allow us to harvest the otherwise wasted kinetic energy all around us (i.e. wind power) to make usable electricity. Instead of using traditional water-steam heat induction (i.e. burning coal or gas to turn a rotor) wind power employs the natural atmospheric kinetic motion generated by air pressure, solar heat, and the earth’s constant rotation.

How? The power of wind causes lightweight blades to loosen to spin around a pivot, converting the motion in the air into heavy rotational force. The movement rapidly cycles a shaft-attached magnetic turbine. Constant cycling and metallic ‘brushing’ create a high-voltage electrical current inside the drum via electromagnetic induction. The faster the blades spin? The greater the electrical current generated.

The electricity gained from converted wind power generation can then be tapped into and ‘stepped’ – via transformers – to a national grid (i.e. a country or continent-wide power network), lithium-carbide batteries (capacitors), or local, off grid, independent wind power systems.

What Types of Wind Power Are There?

Wind power requires the construction of high-altitude support platforms and offshore sea rigs to access highly windy locations and heights. Engineers often pick hill crops, the open sea, desert flats, and coastal regions to optimise capture chance and runtime.

Near-coast seaborne sites are growing in popularity, too. The IEA estimates that c.80 GWh of power will be provided by offshore wind farms by 2030 [2].

One of these generator ensembles is known as a wind turbine (or, colloquially and less accurately, a windmill). An entire field of linked generators is known as a wind farm.

Industrial-size wind turbines typically come in two designs – horizontal and vertical axis. Horizontal turbines use traditional, dual-direction ‘paddle’ blades to capture wind power. Vertical builds use omnidirectional helix, ‘eggbeater’, and harp-shaped blades to harness wind power. Vertical axis designs tend to be more compact and can be pole-mounted. A boxed device known as a nacelle encloses the generator turbine and electronic controls at the base or rear of the machine.

Off grid wind energy turbines can also be scaled down to power grid-distant electrical devices (e.g. weather stations) or to aid remote low-scale domestic power production. You might see these miniature devices mounted on top of posts, sheds, and beach huts. One wind power definition may not be the same as another – particularly with off grid wind power systems.

Is Wind Power Efficient?

Yes – wind power efficiency is near-optimal for induction generation. The maximum theoretical conversion limit of wind power is c.58% (Betz’s Law) [3].

A cutting-edge wind turbine can extract a colossal c.35-50% of the potential kinetic energy that passes through its blades – and even more at peak times! Modern wind power comfortably beats typically steam turbine and photovoltaic benchmarks of c.25-35%, making it more inherently practical than coal, nuclear, and solar power. [4]

Is Wind Power Renewable or Nonrenewable?

Yes! Wind motion on Earth has billions of years left to go. It will never feasibly run out. All wind power really needs to keep going is the occasional site check and turbine replacement.

Could we run out of potential wind farm sites, though? Not in the near future, at least. There’s so much potential kinetic energy available that if we developed all known viable offshore sites alone, sea wind turbines could provide more than eighteen times the energy the entire planet currently consumes [2].

Wind power isn’t necessarily a renewable panacea, though. Let’s take a detailed look at some wind power pros and cons.

What are the Advantages of Wind Power?

Wind power has many distinct strengths that give it a certain edge over older, carbon-rich generation techniques. Most of these advantages stem from wind power’s clean, green, and lean approach to generating electricity. Here’s a selection of the best wind power benefits.

Wind Power Advantages

  • Carbon Neutral – Zero CO2 emissions, clean air, no water consumption, eco-friendly construction templates with minimal carbon footprints, and free fuel.
  • Cheap and Reliable – Wind power equipment costs a minute fraction of a full turbine plant and can start work just six months from commission.
  • Fast ‘Spin-Up’ Times – Turbine blades start generating usable electricity within seconds of brake release. They’re also highly adaptable to sudden changes and surges in wind direction, volatility, and speed.
  • Future Proof – Unlike coal, nuclear, gas, or oil sources, the Earth’s wind power will never run out. They won’t be banned or restricted in future to cut carbon levels.
  • Low Maintenance – Wind power has staying power. Turbines only need to be overhauled and replaced every c.25 years. Nacelles can run with minimal human oversight thanks to digital automation.
  • Off Grid Wind Energy – Wind power technology is a viable choice in distant, rural and offshore locations where a power line, generator plant, or pylons would prove cost impractical.
  • Rough Weather Friendly – Turbines are great for stormy, blustery conditions (e.g. coastlines and mountains). They’re also seaworthy, enhancing adaptability and capacity.
  • Scalable Farm Designs – ‘Modular’ layouts meet power expectations with precision while leaving room to grow.

What are the Challenges of Wind Power?

Unfortunately, wind power isn’t perfect. Many of wind power’s greatest strengths leave it with vulnerabilities and drawbacks that engineers, planners, and local authorities need to plan for and work around.

Wind Power Disadvantages

  • Distance Issues – The optimal spots for turbine fields are often a long way from power-hungry consumers such as cities. Pipelines, transformer banks, and pylons may be needed to build a grid extension.
  • Ecological Disruption – Some ecologists suggest that wildlife (particularly birds and bats) might be harmed, stunned, or killed by wind power’s spinning blades and ultrasonic noise. While a controversial topic, it is essentially proven that poorly planned turbines can disrupt sensitive local ecosystems.
  • Generation Capacity – Nuclear and hydroelectric plants often prove more space and cost-efficient for powering extremely demanding (i.e. metropolitan) power consumption. Wind power does work – but requires vast fields to do so.
  • Intermittent Drops and Surges – Natural changes between calm and stormy conditions might mean that the potential capacity of a turbine wildly fluctuates. Industrial-scale batteries, wind measurement equipment, and weather forecasting can help. Wind and solar power plants can be built together to provide alternative ‘offset’ energy sources, too.
  • Lighting of Obstructions – Unlit turbines are a serious collision risk to aircraft and seacraft (i.e. ships) at night. Buoys, warning signs, and lights need to be carefully set.
  • Noise – While quieter than earlier models, modern wind turbines still cause ambient noise pollution via blade motion. ‘Rushing’ sounds make wind power difficult to use in and around built-up areas.
  • NIMBY Issues – Many people object to wind power plants being built close to settlements or near areas of natural beauty. Wind power plants can also cause urban ‘skyline’ pollution if planned carelessly.
  • Physical Footprints – High-capacity wind farms eat up valuable fields and land. Each wind power turbine must be carefully distanced from the next to allow a flowing draft.
  • Storm Shutdowns – If the wind speed is too high, turbines will automatically shut down to self-preserve their blades and shaft. Emergency halts can mean blackouts and brownouts in the event of bad weather. Again, wind measuring equipment may help.

What Are the Applications of Wind Power?

What is wind power used for? Whatever requires high volumes of electricity to power it.

Wind farms worldwide provide active energy around the clock for residential, commercial, and industrial areas as well as a fallback and for off-peak generation. Single turbine off grid wind power often supplies farms, off-shore platforms, and rural residences, too.

What Else Should You Know About Wind Power?

Although today’s wind turbines may seem hyper-modern, wind power is a far older technology than many might think. The first-ever home-scale electrical wind turbine was completed in Marykirk, Scotland in 1887 by James Blyth. By 1919, the principles behind optimum wind power generation had been established by German physicist Albert Betz. [5]

Isolated ‘pole’ wind turbines were a relatively common sight in Europe and America throughout much of the twentieth century. However, the mid-century arrival of environmentalism, polycarbide composite blades, and microchip control took wind power fully commercial. A forward-thinking 1975 eco-project run by NASA created the broad template for all large-scale, large-capacity wind farms used today. [5]

The plummeting cost-to-energy ratio created (alongside climate change concerns) caused a popularity explosion. Between 1995 and 2021, the world’s wind power capacity expanded by more than a factor of a hundred [7]. ‘New’ wind power has a bright future ahead.

Wind Power Facts – In a Nutshell

  • What’s the Definition of Wind Power? – Low-Weight Blades Drive Electromagnetic Turbines To Create Renewable, Green Electricity Via Kinetic Induction.
  • Wind Power Pros – Cheap, Clean, Green, CO2 and Water Free, Minimal Fuss, Excellent Efficiency, Can Be Built at Sea, Off Grid Wind Potential, Good With Solar.
  • Wind Power Cons – Bulky, Disruptive, Unstable, Distant, High Capacity Needs Sprawling Farms, NIMBY Risk, Can Cause Accidents, Works Better Near Coastlines, Nuclear and Hydroelectric Boast Higher Raw Capacity.
  • Wind Power Energy – Approximately 2-8 MWh Per Turbine (Enough to Power c.200-2000 Homes). Off-Shore Wind Turbines Have Higher Potential Generation Capacity.
  • Wind Power Industry – Global Generation Capacity 2021 Estimated at c.1500 TWh, Projected to Rise to At Least 8000 TWh by 2030 (IEA) [1]. Primary World Constructors and Consumers: China, Great Britain, the EU, India, the USA. [7]
  • Timeline of Historical Facts About Wind Power – Wind Power First Invented and Applied 1887 (Scotland), Enhanced and Scaled Up 1975-1981 (USA), Taken Offshore 1991 (Denmark), Global Wind Power Popularity Explosion (c.1995-2021). [5][7]