Application of Permanent Magnets in Wind Power Generators

At the heart of a wind turbine mechanism is a permanent magnet, a special type of magnet with strong permanent magnetic properties. Before the invention of wind turbines, the main sources of electricity were fossil fuels such as coal and oil. While these are very useful, they have a major drawback, they emit alarming amounts of carbon dioxide, which is toxic to humans and the environment.

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1. Why are wind turbines more popular?

Wind turbines are widely accepted as a primary power source simply because they are a clean energy source, and environmental sustainability has been a hot topic for some time. The fact that wind turbines only produce clean energy (without emitting anything environmentally toxic) has made them a staple of the power industry, and they’re here to stay – and central to this purpose is the presence of permanent magnets such as neodymium magnets. Neodymium magnets, a type of rare earth magnet, another example is the neodymium-iron-boron combination, which is used in wind turbine designs to reduce costs, increase reliability, and greatly reduce the need for ongoing and costly maintenance.

2. How do permanent magnets work in wind turbines?

The operation of wind turbine generators is based on, and generally follows, electromagnetic principles. When an electrical conductor rotates in a magnetic field, it generates electricity. When the blades of the turbine rotate in the direction of the wind, electromagnetic induction occurs within the magnetic field of the permanent magnets in the turbine to generate electricity. An electrical generator connected to the shaft of the wind turbine converts the movement of the blades converted into electrical energy. However, instead of the slip rings used in electromagnets, the permanent magnets in wind turbines use the magnetic fields of strong rare-earth magnets.

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3. The difference between the electromagnet and the permanent magnet.

Unlike electromagnets, permanent magnets do not require any external power source. The main difference between the use of electromagnets and permanent magnets in wind turbines is that electromagnets require slip rings to power the electromagnets, while permanent magnets do not. Likewise, gearboxes require ongoing maintenance, which adds significantly to costs.

The function of the gearbox is to convert the low speed of the turbine shaft to the higher speed required by the induction generator to generate electricity, but the gearbox causes friction and reduces performance. For example, by using neodymium magnets instead of electromagnets, we can increase the efficiency of turbines, reduce efficiency and reduce maintenance costs.

Today, engineers have developed more sophisticated electromagnetic generators that work in tandem with wind captured by wind turbines to generate electricity for local consumption in homes, schools, hospitals, commercial establishments, and more. As of now, depending on the strength of the wind, a single wind turbine can generate up to 113GW of electricity, which can power about 250 to 300 houses.

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4. How do magnets provide better mounting solutions for wind turbines?

In addition to helping generate electricity, permanent magnets play a vital role in helping maintain the integrity of the turbine’s high walls. If you’re lucky enough to see the inside of a wind turbine, you’ll see lots of cables and very long ladders attached to the walls, some of which contain elevators that allow workers to access the turbine nacelles. The traditional solution for this is to drill holes in the turbine wall to install the brackets or weld the brackets to the wall to secure the brackets. Unfortunately, this solution can affect the integrity of the wall, reducing its strength and making it prone to corrosion.

5. In Conclusion

Thankfully, permanent magnets have speeded up the development of wind turbines by allowing engineers to mount brackets on walls without drilling or welding anything. Some turbine manufacturers ingeniously use magnetic mounting systems to attach wall mounts and other vital materials to the turbine wall, and strong rare earth metals such as neodymium magnets are an excellent choice for such applications.

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