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Earth Science


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Wind Energy: Renewable Energy and the Environment edited by Vaughn Nelson (CRC)

Due to the mounting demand for energy and increasing population of the world, switching from nonrenewable fossil fuels to other energy sources is not an option—it is a necessity. Focusing on a cost-effective option for the generation of electricity, Wind Energy: Renewable Energy and the Environment covers all facets of wind energy and wind turbines.

The book begins by outlining the history of wind energy, before providing reasons to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. After examining the characteristics of wind, such as shear, power potential, and turbulence, it discusses the measurement and siting of individual wind turbines and wind farms. The text then presents the aerodynamics, operation, control, applications, and types of wind turbines. The author also describes the design of wind turbines and system performance for single wind turbines, water pumping, village systems, and wind farms. In addition, he explores the wind industry from its inception in the 1970s to today as well as the political and economic factors regarding the adoption of wind as an energy source.

Since energy cannot be created nor destroyed—only transformed to another form—we are not encountering an energy crisis. Rather, we face an energy dilemma in the use of finite energy resources and their effects on the environment, primarily due to the burning of fossil fuels. Wind Energy explores one of the most economical solutions to alleviate our energy problems.

Aerodynamics: Selected Topics in the Light of Their Historical Development by Theodore Von Kármán (Dover) unabridged republication of the 1957 second printing of the edition published by Cornell University Press, Ithaca, New York, 1954. 72 figures. Index. Paperbound.

Authoritative and engaging, this popular history traces the science of aerodynamics from the age of Newton through the mid-twentieth century. Author Theodore von Kármán, a well-known pioneer in aerodynamic research, addresses himself to readers acquainted with the facts of aviation but less familiar with the field's underlying theories. 

A former director of the Aeronautical Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, von Kármán founded the U.S. Institute of Aeronautical Sciences in 1933. In this volume, he employs straight-forward, nontechnical language to recount the behind-the-scenes struggles of engineers and physicists with problems associated with lift, drag, stability, aeroelasticity, and the sound barrier. He explains how an increasing understanding of the motion of air and its forces on moving objects enabled significant improvements in airplane design, performance, and safety. 

Other topics include the effects of speed on ailerons; the factors behind the phenomenon of a sonic boom; and the plethora of problems surrounding the inception of space travel: surmounting the earth's gravitational field, negotiating a safe return, and sustaining life amid the perils of interstellar radiation, weightlessness, and meteoric activity.

Wind Energy Handbook by Tony Burton, David Sharpe, Nick Jenkins, Ervin Bossanyi (Wiley) The use of wind energy to generate electricity is now well accepted with a large industry manufacturing and installing thousands of MWs of new capacity each year. Although there are exciting new developments, particularly in very large wind turbines, and many challenges remain, there is a considerable body of established knowledge concerning the science and technology of wind turbines. This book is intended to record some of this knowledge and to present it in a form suitable for use by students (at final year undergraduate or post‑graduate level) and by those involved in the design, manufacture or operation of wind turbines. The overwhelming majority of wind turbines presently in use are horizontal‑axis, land based turbines connected to a large electricity network. These turbines are the subject of Wind Energy Handbook.

Chapter 2 discusses the wind resource. Particular reference is made to wind turbulence due to its importance in wind­turbine design. Chapter 3 sets out the basis of the aerodynamics of horizontal‑axis wind turbines while Chapter 4 discusses their performance. Any wind‑turbine design starts with establishing the design loads and these are discussed in Chapter 5. Chapter 6 sets out the various design options for horizontal‑axis wind turbines with approaches to the design of some of the important components examined in Chapter 7. The functions of the wind­turbine controller are discussed in Chapter 8 and some of the possible analysis techniques described. In Chapter 9 wind farms and the development of wind‑energy projects are reviewed w, with particular emphasis on environmental impact. Finally, Chapter 10 considers how wind turbines interact with the electrical power system.

Wind Energy Handbook attempts to record well‑established knowledge that is relevant to wind turbines, which are currently commercially significant. Thus, it does not discuss a number of interesting research topics or where wind‑turbine technology is still evolving rapidly. Although they were investigated in considerable detail in the 1980s, vertical‑axis wind turbines have not proved to be commercially competitive and are not currently manufactured in significant numbers. Hence the particular issues of vertical‑axis turbines are not dealt with in this text.

There are presently some two billion people in the world without access to mains electricity and wind turbines, in conjunction with other generators, e.g., diesel engines, may in the future be an effective means of providing some of these people with power. However, autonomous power systems are extremely difficult to design and operate reliably, particularly in remote areas of the world and with limited budgets. A small autonomous AC power system has all the technical challenges of a large national electricity system but, due to the low inertia of the plant, requires a very fast, sophisticated control system to maintain stable operation. Over the last 20 years there have been a number of attempts to operate autonomous wind‑diesel systems on islands throughout the world but with only limited success. This class of installation has its own particular problems and again, given the very limited size of the market at present, this specialist area is not dealt with.

Installation of offshore wind turbines is now commencing. The few offshore wind farms already installed are in rather shallow waters and resemble land‑based wind farms in many respects using medium sized wind turbines. Very large wind farms with multi‑megawatt turbines located in deeper water, many kilometres offshore, are now being planned and these will be constructed over the coming years. However, the technology of offshore wind‑energy projects is still evolving at too rapid a pace for inclusion in this text which attempts to present established engineering practice.

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