Wind farms are usually hybridized with solar or diesel energy to work at optimum capacity. Now researchers have introduced biomass as an alternative energy source to keep the energy production at wind farms at optimum level.
Wind energy is among the oldest renewable energy sources that humans have used and benefited from. In the past decades we have witnessed a renewed interest in these energy sources. Energy production in wind farms has increased from 7.5 gigawatts per year in 1997 to 487 gigawatts in 2016. Designers use new technologies in order to increase energy production at wind farms.
Hybrid energy systems in wind farms
Although wind farms are valuable sources of renewable energy, the unpredictable nature of winds makes it hard to accurately predict their energy output. Therefore, wind farms are usually built as hybrid systems. Hybrid energy sources keep energy production at optimum level when the efficiency of the main source has been reduced. In these systems, an alternative energy source can compensate for the main energy source when there is a shortage in the main energy source. There is a high possibility that the speed of wind in the area becomes less than cut-in wind speed. So the hybridized system must resolve this problem.
Now the researchers at the Tehran Azad University have used the energy obtained from biomass to create a hybridized energy production system. At first, researchers needed to asses and predict the amount of energy that could be produced in the wind farms. They collected data on the wind speed every 10 minutes for 1 year in a rural area of Isfahan. It was concluded that the wind speed would not be enough for energy production in few months during a year. They also collected data on the agricultural activities within the area.
Hybridization with biomass energy
The researchers decided to provide the alternative energy from biomass. Usually solar energy and other sources such as diesel are used to compensate for the energy shortage. The researchers used the agricultural wastes created at the local farms as biomass source. Through the process of gasification, they turned the biomasses into volatile gasses. In months with low wind speed, researchers used biomass energy to keep the energy production at the wind farm at optimum level.
Researchers concluded that biomass energy is an attractive alternative energy source to use at wind farms. They hope to optimize their current system in the future and find more suitable areas to assess the potentials of this hybrid energy production system.