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Difference between Windmill and Wind Turbine

Difference between Windmill and Wind Turbine

Both wind turbines and windmills use the power of the wind to generate electricity, but there are some key differences between the two. Wind turbines tend to be taller and have more blades than windmills, and they can typically generate more power. Additionally, wind turbines are often used in large-scale projects, while windmills are more commonly used for residential applications.

What is Windmill?

  • A windmill is a machine that converts the energy of wind into rotational energy by means of vanes called sails or blades. Centuries ago, windmills usually were used to mill grain, pump water, or both. The majority of modern windmills take the form of wind turbines used to generate electricity, or windpumps used to pump water, either for land drainage or to extract groundwater.
  • Windmills first appeared in Persia (Iran) in the 9th century and later spread to China and Europe. The use of windmills became widespread in Europe during the Middle Ages. In 1219, the Dutch physicist and engineer Willem Bilderdijck built one of the first recorded European windmills, called a panemone, on the Zuiderzee (now IJsselmeer), a shallow inland sea in the northwestern Netherlands.
  • Small panemones were also built in Chinese mountain villages starting around 1280; they are still in use today. Large stationary panemones for draining lakes and marshes appeared in China around 1350 but did not become common in Europe until about 1570.

What is Wind Turbine?

  • Wind turbines are devices that convert the kinetic energy of wind into mechanical energy. This mechanical energy can then be used to generate electricity. Wind turbines come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all share a common goal: to harness the power of the wind and generate electricity.
  • Wind turbines typically have three blades that rotate around a central shaft. As the blades rotate, they turn a generator, which produces electricity. The amount of electricity that a wind turbine can generate depends on several factors, including the size of the turbine and the speed of the wind.
  • Wind turbines are generally classified into two categories: horizontal-axis turbines and vertical-axis turbines. Horizontal-axis turbines are the most common type of turbine and are typically used to generate electricity for utility companies. Vertical-axis turbines are less common but are often used in rural areas where space is limited.

Difference between Windmill and Wind Turbine

Windmills and wind turbines are both devices that harness the power of the wind to generate electricity. However, there are some key differences between the two.

  • Windmills are typically much smaller than wind turbines and are used for tasks such as grinding grain or pumping water.
  • In contrast, wind turbines are large structures that can be used to generate electricity on a large scale.
  • Windmills are also usually powered by sails, while wind turbines have blades that rotate to catch the wind.

Finally, windmills are powered by the wind passing through them, while wind turbines use the kinetic energy of the moving blades to generate electricity.


Although wind turbines are more common, windmills still have a place in the world. Both turbines and mills have their pros and cons, but it is important to understand the difference between them before making a decision about which one to install.

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