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vertical-axis wind turbine (VAWT)





wind turbine configurations
A type of wind turbine in which the axis of rotation is perpendicular to the wind stream and the ground. VAWTs work somewhat like a classical water wheel in which water arrives at a right angle (perpendicular) to the rotational axis (shaft) of the water wheel. Vertical-axis wind turbines fall into two major categories: Darrieus turbines and Savonius turbines. Neither type is in wide use today.

The basic theoretical advantages of a vertical axis machine are:
The generator, gearbox etc. may be placed on the ground, and a tower is not essential for the machine

A yaw mechanism isn't needed to turn the rotor against the wind

The basic disadvantages are:
Wind speeds are very low close to ground level, so although a tower isn't essential, the wind speeds will be very low on the lower part of the rotor

The overall efficiency of the vertical axis machines is not impressive

The machine is not self-starting, i.e. a Darrieus machine needs a "push" before it will start. This is only a minor inconvenience for a grid-connected turbine, however, since the generator may be used as a motor drawing current from the grid to to start the machine

The machine may need guy wires to hold it up, but guy wires are impractical in heavily farmed areas

Replacing the main bearing for the rotor necessitates removing the rotor on both a horizontal and a vertical axis machine. In the case of the latter, it means tearing the whole machine down
See also horizontal-axis wind turbine.


Related category

   • WIND POWER