Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

A Short, Interesting Snippet About the Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

Read on to know about the advantages and disadvantages of a vertical axis wind turbine...
Wind turbines are machines that convert the kinetic energy of the breeze into mechanical energy. When the mechanical energy is converted to electricity, then the machine is referred to as a wind turbine, or a wind energy converter.

When such mechanical energy is used directly by machines such as pumps, then the machine is referred to as a 'windmill'.


Wind Machines have been used since 200 BC in Persia for grinding grain. It was introduced in 250 BC in the Roman Empire.

Windmills were used during the 14th Century in Holland to drain the areas of the Rhine river delta.

In the 1900s, windmills were used in Denmark for pumps and mills. Windmills were also used in USA and USSR to produce electricity on farms.

Vertical Axis Wind Turbine: Advantages and Disadvantages

Wind turbines are of two types: Horizontal Axis and Vertical Axis. In a horizontal axis one, the main rotor shaft and electrical generator is placed at the top of the tower and it must be pointed into the direction of the breeze. In a vertical wind turbine, the rotor shaft runs vertically.

The advantages of this turbine are that the rotor shaft is placed vertically and can be located near the ground. The generator and the gearbox are placed near the ground. Thus the tower need not support it. Also the turbine need not be pointed into the breeze. This makes the maintenance quite easy. Also, it is quite cost-effective. These can be placed on hilltops, on ridgelines, and atop mesas or any areas where the force of the air is more near the ground. Since they are placed lower, they can be used where tall devices are not allowed according to law. The main advantage is that it turns in any direction with the breeze.

The disadvantages, however, are that they cannot cover a large area of wind. They need to be installed on a relatively flat area of land as that is the only way they can cover larger areas. They are not very efficient with regards to extraction of energy, because they operate near the ground where the air flow is turbulent.