How Long Do Wind Turbines Last (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 18 to 22 years

Wind turbines are machines which use to convert the fast-blowing wind into electrical energy. It utilizes the wind to rotate the blades, which when connected with the rotor causes spinning. This spinning rotor is further connected to the generator which generates the electricity.

The working mechanism of wind turbines is the exact opposite of the blower or fan. Unlike in a blower, where the electrical energy is converted into wind energy, wind energy gets converted into electrical energy through wind turbines. When the world is facing a great challenge of climate change, wind turbines have a great underutilized potential of producing electricity by clean and eco-friendly means.

How Long Do Wind Turbines Last

How Long Do Wind Turbines Last?

Type of Wind TurbinesLife Expectancy
Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines20 to 25 years
Vertical Axis Wind Turbines15 to 20 years

Based on the direction of axes of the blades, there are twoajor types of wind types operational throughout the world. These are the Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine and the Vertical Axis Wind Turbine. These wind turbines are different in shape and structure but the end result is same of producing electricity.

Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine is also abbreviated as HAWT and as its name would reflect, its blades are horizontal in direction. These wind turbines usually have three blades that operate upwind. Their turbine is at the top of the tower so that it is facing the wind.

Horizontal Axis Wind Turbines are the most common form of wind turbines and are what people picture at first upon hearing the name, ‘wind turbine’. This class of wind turbines has a projected life expectancy of about 20 to 25 years.

Vertical Axis Wind Turbine is shortened as VAWT and as its name may resemble, its blades are vertical in direction. These turbines come in 4 major forms, Savonius, Darrieus Rotor, H-darrieus, and Helix shape.

These types of turbines are omnidirectional. This means they do not need to be pointed towards the direction of the flow of the wind but rather they adjust to it. Vertical Axis Wind Turbines need a greater deal of care and therefore, they have a comparatively shorter life of about 15 to 20 years.

Why Do Wind Turbines Last So Long?

The lifespan of wind turbines is affected by a wide variety of issues. The major issues affecting its affected lifespan are the environmental conditions in which the wind turbines are operating and fatigue failure due to use over their lifespan.

The environmental condition surrounding the wind turbines are a crucial factor impacting the life of wind turbines. These environmental conditions are specific to the site of the wind turbine and include determinants such as wind speed, jacket configurations, and turbulence intensities along with several others. These have the potential to immensely harm the general working if the wind turbines lead to a decrease in their life expectancy period.

The blades of these wind turbines are particularly vulnerable to harsh weather. High-speed storms and thunderstorms are of critical concern for their safety. The blades are exposed to the harsh operating condition which certainly takes a toll on their life expectancy period.

The fatigue failure due to the continued usage of these wind turbines is another significant factor in this regard. Since they are working continuously when there is wind and are completely exposed to bad weather, they depreciate fast. They need proper care and maintenance which becomes expensive as the turbine ages.

Wind turbines need a great deal of care. This becomes quite expensive and thus, their care often gets neglected. This reduces their greatly precious life.

Conclusion

Wind turbines are an incredible way of generating electricity. They are safe and eco-friendly which helps to combat climate change and global warming. However, they are quite expensive to procure, install and maintain. Moreover, they occupy a lot of space.

Wind turbines are of two types, the Horizontal Axis Wind Turbine, and the Vertical Axis Wind Turbine. The Horizontal one carries a life expectancy period of 20 to 25 years while the Vertical one carries a life expectancy period of 15 to 20 years. The world is making a shift towards clean sources of energy and they are a big source of them.

References

  1. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/mono/10.4324/9781315769981/aerodynamics-wind-turbines-martin-hansen
  2. https://books.google.com/books/about/Wind_Turbines.html?id=KeNEAAAAQBAJ

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