A wind turbine is a piece of machinery that converts energy from the wind into electrical power. Wind turbines range widely in size and design, but we are mostly familiar with the large wind turbines in arrays, known as a wind farm. These wind turbines provide an important source of renewable energy and many countries supplement their energy requirements with wind power. Smaller wind turbines can be used to charge batteries, often for home or caravan use. Let’s find out who invented these important sources of alternative energy.
Who invented the first electricity producing wind turbine?
Windmills have been used since ancient Persia (from about 200 B.C.). However, the first practical windmills were not produced until the 7th century. The first electricity producing wind turbine was invented in 1887 by Scottish electrical engineer Professor James Blyth. His simple system was a cloth-sailed wind turbine. He designed this system to charge a battery so that he could light his holiday home in Marykirk, Scotland. His design was so good that it operated for the next 25 years and he had extra electricity. He offered this electricity to the town of Marykirk so they could light the main street. However, this offer was rejected because the people thought electricity was the work of the Devil!
A few months later American inventor Charles F Brush built an automatically operated wind turbine to produce energy (pictured). It was 18 m (60 ft) tall and weighed 3.6 metric tons (4 tons). It was capable of powering a 12 kW generator. It was built to power his mansion and it charged the 12 batteries that were used for the house. It produced electricity for 20 years and never failed to provide power for the house during this time!
Did you know?
China is the top producer of wind power in the world at approximately 75,000 MW total capacity. The Netherlands produces the highest percentage of power produced by wind turbines (21%).