How Windmills Work

A windmill is a machine used for grinding, pumping, and is used to harness energy. The secret behind how windmills work is harnessing the driving force of the wind acting upon a number of vanes or sails. People in ancient times have known how windmills work, particularly during the 7th century AD in Persia where the first known structures of this type were constructed. These have been well utilized in Europe especially in Holland. Today, they are primarily used to generate electricity.

How Windmills Work

Windmills use blades to accumulate wind that flows over it. These blades are used for lift as well – to turn the windmill. Their blades are linked to a drive shaft that is also linked to an electric generator to create electricity. Electricity is produced when the drive shaft revolves as the blades turn. Electricity then is sent through wires and gathered.

The windmill’s location is very crucial as it assures that the mill can have access to the best wind reserves possible.

Types of Windmills

How windmills work depends also on the types. There are various different types of windmills. They are classified depending by the direction their blades rotate. The two most common windmills are the horizontal axis turbines and vertical axis turbines.

Horizontal turbines are the most popular by far and the traditional type of windmills that are similar to an airplane that have propeller. Furthermore, vertical axis windmills are windmills that have blades like an egg beater. They are, by far, less popular than the former which only make up a very small total percentage.

Modern windmills also called wind turbines are positioned in big groups known as wind farms. Some of these turbines are actually off shore. Turbines generate about forty percent of the total electricity on earth. However, they are usually steered by steam, caused by the burning of fossil fuels or the application of nuclear fission.


Size matters on how windmills work. A windmill can produce a certain amount of electricity depending on the size of the structure. Bigger windmills are stronger and can generate greater electricity. Small windmills can power a single household. Windmill farms can generate a considerable megawatts of electricity, enough to power a whole community. Wind power turbines produce zero emissions and use an entirely renewable fuel source.


The production of electricity depends on how windmills work specially when there is an irregular wind. Problems may also occur caused by the slacking off of the gusts. Because windmills use a renewable energy, further development is encouraged. However, over time, technology has enhanced the effectiveness of wind turbines. They have become a cost effective enterprise for both the producers and consumers.

How Windmills Work Video


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