3 Main Types of Wind Turbines

January 25, 2021 2:51 pm Published by

Wind turbines are generally broken down into two broader categories, which are horizontal-axis turbines and vertical-axis turbines. There are several types of wind turbines within these main categories. Some are more common than others. If you are considering installing a wind turbine on your property, here are some key things to know about each kind so that you get the best one.

Up-Wind and Down-Wind

Up-wind and down-wind turbines are main types of horizontal-axis turbines (HAWTs). As a whole, HAWTs are the most common turbine category. They usually have two or three blades, and they can reach over 120 meters in height. They are some of the largest turbines with the potential to produce up to 20 megawatts (MW) in power. Up-wind turbines face into the direction of the prevailing wind. They provide an efficient means of collecting energy. Down-wind turbines, in contrast, face out of the wind. The force of the wind against the blades makes them move, which in turn produces energy. Down-wind systems usually have a flexible rotor and a lighter weight, which reduces stress on the tower during high winds.


The shrouded turbine, also called a Diffuser-Augmented Turbine, has ring-shaped blades. This aerodynamic and functional design is intended to increase airflow into and through the system, which ultimately increases wind energy production. The attached airfoil that houses the blades can draw significant amounts of power from ambient winds, which in turn maximizes energy production. Additionally, this turbine’s design helps to reduce noise and turbulence due to the fact that the airfoil covers the blades. Diffuser-Augmented systems are usually used for smaller-scale systems because they are more expensive than many other kinds of turbines.


The Savonius turbine belongs to a category called “VWAT,” which stands for a Vertical Access Wind Turbine. A vertical turbine is designed to capture energy in a different manner than HAWT systems. VAWTs have a vertical design that is not always as efficient as horizontally-designed systems, which means that they are not used as often. However, of the VWAT systems in use, Savonius is one of the most common kinds. This type of turbine has a signature “S” design. It is designed to work in a similar fashion to a cup anemometer. The wind is captured in the curves of the Savonius system, which then makes the blades move in a circular pattern. This system has a small and compact design that makes it a preferred choice for renewable energy products where size is a primary consideration.

Wind energy technology is constantly changing, which means there are many new systems coming to market all the time. While these three systems are some of the most common turbine types, there are many more available for residential and commercial use.

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This post was written by Matt Passannante

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