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Who Discovered Wind Energy?

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Since wind can be used to power sailboats, it is therefore safe to say that wind energy was discovered by the people who first built and used sailboats. Many ancient civilizations have used sailboats as a form of transportation and the discovery of using wind as a source of energy is attributed to all of them. Most of these civilizations are probably from 5,500 years ago or older.

King HammurabiHammurabi. Art work by Thomas Hudson Jones on a 28″ marble.

Hammurabi, the Babylonian emperor

Another, notable use of wind energy at that time was in the ancient wind powered, ventilation system. Since then, people began to use wind energy for other things as well. Again, a number of ancient civilizations had contributed to different uses of wind energy. For example, in the 17th century BCE, Hammurabi, the Babylonian emperor developed the idea of using wind energy for his ambitious agricultural and irrigation project.

Hero of Alexandria

However, the person responsible for converting wind energy to mechanical energy was Hero (or Heron) of Alexandria. He was a famous Greek engineer and mathematician and the discovery of wind energy are sometimes accredited to him. He was born in 10 AD. He taught at the Museum, a part of the Library of Alexandria. He invented various mechanical devices, which were technically advanced for his time.

Hero, the great inventor

These inventions include a rocket-like, reactor engine called aeolipile or also known as the Hero’s Engine, a force pump, a stand alone fountain known as Hero’s Fountain, a syringe-like device and the first ever vending machine in the world. He also developed a number of mechanisms for the Greek theater. He developed the principle for the Shortest Path of Light formula. He also developed the first ever, wind-powered machine in the world, which was a wind-powered organ, thus discovering the actual potential of wind energy. He also made a lot of contribution in the fields of mathematics. He wrote several papers including Pneumatica, Automata, Mechanica, Metrica and other works. He died in 70 AD.

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