From time immemorial, wind has been harnessed to move ships and large boats, till the introduction of steam engines. Initially, wind was used to drive sails so that the vehicles move forward. In several countries of the world, using sails and capturing wind energy for moving over water still persists, but is mostly used for leisurely activities such as windsurfing, yachting, sailing ships and boats. However, today with so much pollution and the problem of global warming, scientists have thought of and devised ways of developing a wind-powered car. It hasn't grown to that big an industry like thermal or hydroelectricity generation, but has still been able to create a niche for itself.
How does a Wind-powered Car Work?
A wind-powered car converts wind power into electric energy, thereby helping the car to move forward. The concept of harnessing wind energy has been derived from the fact that, whenever we put our hands out from the windows of a fast-moving car, the tremendous force of the wind can be felt. This force can as well be harnessed into electrical energy and be used as a clean source for running cars. There are several wind power pros and cons, so you should try and gather as much information as possible on that.
Vehicles powered by wind energy use wind turbines and valves which are placed in such a position that the turbines can start moving. The valves absorb wind which is needed to power the car. There's an alternator connected to the valves which in turn changes kinetic energy into electric energy. The electric energy so generated is stored in a DC battery, and it's connected to a controller. The controller is responsible for converting DC to AC voltage. The controller is assisted by power diodes in this conversion of DC to AC.
A cable connects the controller and accelerator and it passes through a couple of potentiometers. It's the potentiometers that act to resist and regulate the speed of the car. The efficiency of this is excellent as the number of rotating and revolving parts are very less, thereby helping it to move quite fast. In case the accelerator is put of full speed, the controller gives out the full voltage. On the other hand, whenever pressure is released from the accelerator the controller stops releasing power, thereby slowing the vehicle.
A wind-powered car uses the configuration of motor to wheel, thereby providing the auto an increase of power supply. A number of motors are linked to the wheels so that the braking and propulsion system works efficiently. Similar to the automatic gear system, a wind-powered car has a single gear system. In such a car, a vacuum braking system is introduced and in this kind of system the force of brakes is derived from atmospheric pressure.
It's even possible to maintain and run an air conditioner in such a vehicle. The motors are cooled with the help of wind thereby increasing efficiency, besides preventing overheating. The power generated by wind energy helps in continuously charging the batteries, and this is one of the main features of such a vehicle. Unlike other batteries, which need to be charged for a specified period of time, these batteries have no such condition. Whenever you drive, the battery is continuously and automatically recharged. A volt meter is also fitted, which helps in tracking the current from the battery.
So, a wind-powered car is an excellent vehicle to be used in these days of global warming. However, these cars are still in the developmental phase, and there has been no mass production of such cars.