October 11, 2007

American superconductor developing 10 MW wind generators

American Superconductor in a joint venture to develop 10 MW wind generators. National Institute of Science and Technology is funding development of technologies for 10 Megawatt-Class, Direct Drive Offshore Wind Generators Powered by High Temperature Superconducting Wire


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Direct drive wind generator systems utilizing HTS wire instead of copper wire for the generator's rotor are expected to be much smaller, lighter and more efficient than conventional generators and gearboxes. The net effect is expected to be a lower cost of wind generated electricity, particularly for offshore wind farms. AMSC and TWMC also announced that they have received an award from the National Institute of Science and Technology's (NIST) Advanced Technology Program (ATP), which is providing $3.4 million in funding toward the $6.8 million research project to be conducted under the joint venture.

"The objective of the TWMC-AMSC research joint venture is to develop technologies that will enable the deployment of offshore 10 megawatt class, direct drive wind generators - double the power capacity of conventional systems," said AMSC founder and chief executive officer Greg Yurek. "The result will be more power delivered from each offshore wind turbine, which would significantly reduce the total costs of offshore wind farms

By replacing copper with HTS on the generator's rotor and utilizing a new high-efficiency stator design to be developed under this project, AMSC and TWMC estimate that they could produce 10 MW class direct drive generator systems that would weigh approximately 120 metric tons, or about one-third the weight of conventional direct drive generators with this power rating. Technically, weight reductions could be greater, albeit at a higher cost, giving wind energy system manufacturers and developers new options to design and deploy cost-effective offshore wind farms.

The 30-month cost-shared research project to be conducted by the joint venture with NIST funding calls for the development of new HTS wire and coil technologies that will help enable the design and manufacture of 10 MW class, direct drive AC synchronous generators for off-shore wind turbines. The targeted ultra-low-speed, high torque generators are expected to produce full power at 6 kilovolts at 11 revolutions per minute.



5 MW wind generator

Germany's REpower (Corp) offered (since 2005) a 5 MW machine with a three-bladed rotor at a diameter of 126 meters. The world's largest turbines are manufactured by the Northern German companies Enercon and REpower. The Enercon E112 delivers up to 6 MW , has an overall height of 186 m (610 ft) and a diameter of 114 m (374 ft). The REpower 5M delivers up to 5 MW , has an overall height of 183 m (600 ft) and a diameter of 126 m (413 ft).

6 MW wind turbine
6MW Enercon wind turbine under construction

Currently more and more 5 MW wind turbines are being ordered, the future is 10 MW wind turbines and 80 metre long rotor blade (160 meters in diameter).

FURTHER READING
There was a proposal for a 1 gigawatt in single wind turbine

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