Emerging Sources of Energy

How do wind turbines generate energy?

Wind can be converted into energy by a wind turbine, which typically consists of a wheel with large blades connected to a series of gears. As wind causes the blades of the turbine to spin the turbine collects mechanical/kinetic energy, which can either perform mechanical processes or be converted into electrical/potential energy. Some mechanical processes that make use of wind turbines are pumping water and grinding grain. To store electricity the turbine must be connected to a generator, which converts the mechanical energy from the blades into stored electrical energy. Typically, wind speeds of 7–10 mph are needed to generate energy using a wind turbine. The orientation of a wind turbine can be controlled by a computer to optimize the amount of energy it collects.


Photovoltaic cells, or solar cells, work by containing materials such as mono- or polycrystaline silicon, cadmium telluride, or copper indium selenide whose electrons are easily excited by photons from the sun, creating electricity.


This is a web preview of the "The Handy Chemistry Answer Book" app. Many features only work on your mobile device. If you like what you see, we hope you will consider buying. Get the App