CO2: Gone with the wind

Brian Weiser, CWRU Green Speaks

The wind turbine on Van Horn Field in front of the Veale Center was erected in November of 2010. It cost six million dollars to construct, three million of which came from grants from Ohio’s Third Frontier and the other three million from seven companies, which worked with Case Western Reserve University to build the turbine. The wind turbine is a 100-kilowatt unit that stands 156 feet tall from the ground to the tip of an upright blade. Height is important because air current is stronger and less turbulent above ground level, allowing greater efficiency.

Wind turbines create electricity by the same method airplanes use stay in the air, except in reverse. High and low air pressures that flow over turbine blades of the wind turbine and jet wings create the pull and push needed for operation. One difference is that planes actively force the air around their wings while wind turbines passively let the wind flow around their blades. Another difference is that wind turbine blades are twisted. This allows them to maintain air pressure throughout the upward part of rotation.

The design of wind turbine blades creates a pocket of low air pressure on the downward side of the blade that pulls the blade toward the ground. The blade also creates a pocket of high pressure on the upward side that helps push it downward. This creates a pressure difference by having more air on the upward side of the blade. F – f

The turning of the blades rotates a shaft connected to an electric generator, which creates electricity. Since its creation, our wind turbine has produced 93,590 kilowatt-hours, which is enough energy to power 29 homes for one year. This is the equivalent of 124,942 pounds of carbon dioxide from other means of generating electricity, which would take 2601 mature trees an entire year to remove from the air.