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

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).

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


Anonymous said...

To compare nuclear electrical station has about few GW power. 100 such wind generators and don't need nuclear station no more.

bw said...

wind power has less operating efficiency. 25-35%. Nuclear is at 90% now. So 300 of the 10MW wind generators is needed to equal a 1GW nuclear. And 450 to equal a 1.5GW reactor. Plus the first of the 10 MW turbines does not yet exist it is 30 months away. Plus these are not mutually exclusive. We can have nuclear and have wind. What they both should be replacing is coal

Anonymous said...

I read, that nuclear generator is also about 1/3 efiecent power. In far future I think, or electric station based on wind or san or both will replase nuclear. And fuel and coal will reaplase biofuels or wind and sun power. And electric cars replase fuel cars with condesator based acumulators maybe or another... But I think, that all energy on earth can be generated only with wind and sun power, without nuclear and fuel and coal. MAybe it wuold be expensive build in short time, but after long time it will be better and electricity for electric car's will be cheaper about 5-10 times than fuel.

bw said...

what you read is wrong. Nuclear generators are at 90% operating efficiency.

Dezakin said...

Wind has 25-35% capacity of its max load, while nuclear has 90%. Nuclear runs at about 33% thermodynamic efficiency in light water reactors. Wind doesn't really operate with a concept of thermodynamic efficiency since it gets its energy from the sun, but if we apply the same yardstick, it would be roughly 1%.

Anonymous said...

Unless you consider the source of energy for wind power to be wind. In this case wind would be operating at around 50% efficiency and if one doesn't count the wind which did not get converted but continued as wind, then the efficiency is around 90%.

Of course this is mostly academic question. What really matters is that wind has a utilization factor of 25-35% and needs to have more capacity to produce same amount of electricity as nuclear plant. However, this is not a big problem since wind capacity is 2-4 cheaper than nuclear capacity and costs less to operate and does not create radioactive waste or profileration possibility.

bw said...

Who has made a nuclear bomb from material from a commercial nuclear power reactor ?

No one.

You purify raw uranium to weapons grade which is higher purity than for reactors. That is what is taking iran years and thousands of centrifuges.

You make a special reactor for generating plutonium.

Proliferation of nuclear weapons is not about commercial nuclear as it is about special knowledge (like from the A. Q Khan in the 1970s)

That knowledge is mostly out.

So which countries are you worried about getting proliferated ? Iran, N Korea they already have it. Iran just has to execute.

The nuclear waste (other than more stupidity several decades ago from the Russians) has not killed anyone. Nuclear waste and commercial nuclear power is 22,000 times safer than coal even including Chernobyl and other Russian idioacy which will not be copied.

Not building nuclear does not mean building more wind it means building and keeping more coal power. See the EIA projections.

A No Nuclear case was analyzed to examine the impacts of restricting new nuclear capacity growth (beyond that added in the reference case) under the S. 280 Core assumptions. The allowance price in the No Nuclear case is 6 percent higher than the S. 280 Core case in 2030 and power sector CO2 emissions are about 3 percent higher. The power sector turns to increased investment in renewables (mainly biomass and wind) as well as significant investment in new coal plants with carbon capture and sequestration and natural gas. In the No Nuclear case, 70 gigawatts of new coal plants with carbon capture equipment are built. Total coal production in 2030 in the No Nuclear case is more than 100 million tons higher than in the S. 280 Core case. The higher allowance price and more costly capacity investment in this case lead to average delivered electricity prices in 2030 that are 8 percent higher than the S. 280 Core case.

Anonymous said...

As you well know, the enrichment of uranium ore to commercial grade uranium is made with the same centrifuges as the enrichment of commercial grade to weapons grade. One just needs put the centrifuges into long enough series chain to get highly enriched uranium. Countries that do not do enrichment themselves can't make weapons grade uranium. Centrifuges are not the only way to enrich uranium to weapons grade, but I guess they are currently the most economic way to do it. And the other means are not easy to orchestrate either. The more nuclear is used in different places, the more enrichment facilities are needed. Iran's claim to be able to enrich their own uranium shows an example what can happen in the future in other countries. There's increasing geopolitical risk with increasing nuclear power. I'm not claiming it will happen, but there's a risk and that's important. Since the effects of just one exploded bomb are so severe, we should really think twice how to best proceed with even commercial nuclear.

When it comes to waste, it's also a moral issue. There's no generally accepted way to deal with the waste and it is problematic to keep piling it near the power plants. Before there's an accepted solution a large scale increase in nuclear can be argued to be immoral. Do we have the right to leave that kind of legacy? That's part of the reason why it's so difficult to get a decision on Yucca mountain. World is changing so fast that it is impossible to predict what will happen in the next thousand years. Those piles of radioactive waste might not be a problem at all, if technological advances takes place and we find ways to deal with the issue, but that's not by no means certain. We could also see a collapse of present kind of civilization and then that waste will end up who knows where.

When it comes to EIA predictions, they are very much dependent on the assumptions they put into the model. Since they get lot more coal with CCS after restricting nuclear, it means that they have either higher cost for renewables or caps for renewable penetration. Both assumptions can be questioned. CCS will likely almost double the price of condensing coal electricity. There's huge amount of wind power resource that's cheaper to develop before that. Restrictions on the share of renewables with variable output usually presume something like that you can't go above 20% of electricity. That assumption does not hold water at all, but it is still widely used. Costs of integration increase with increasing penetration, but they are much less than what CCS means for coal. There are no limits to penetration level, it's economics and in the short term restrictions on how you can operate the current fleet of power plants and demand side measures. That's actually not really a problem, since penetration level of variable renewables will increase at a rate that makes it possible to make adjustments in the system in time - at least if they are planned for.

bw said...

If the US increases from 104 nuclear reactors to 1000 nuclear reactors what is the incremental risk ? They are not giving reactors or centrifuges now to Iran.

If China increases from 11 reactors now to 1000 nuclear reactors what is the incremental risk ?

Most of the current and future power demand is from USA, Europe, China, India, Japan, Canada, Brazil. Places that all already have nuclear power and the major ones have nuclear weapons too. I am not saying there is no risk from nuclear weapons but what is the increased risk from more nuclear reactors in countries that already have them and most which already have nuclear weapons?

What was the change when France went from 20% electrity from nuclear to 80% ?

A handful of nuclear fission bombs is not a relatively big deal. How many people have died in the most recent Iraq war, about one million (none killed by nukes). How many would die from a crude nuclear fission bomb from Iran ? Less than one million. Maximum casualties would be from air burst. Most likely delivery from container ship or human agent.

How many people are dieing from outdoor coal air pollution ? 1 million per year (world health organization), 30,000 per year in the USA. (american lung association.) How many from combined coal and oil pollution (4.5 million per year. 3 million outdoor and 1.5 million indoor) That is the real deaths not imagined ones. That is the real moral problem.

Nuclear waste piling up. Where are the deaths ? Coal and oil I can show the deaths (millions every year.)

The number of deaths from nuclear is tiny compared to coal and oil, which is what needs to be replaced as fast as possible

Nuclear waste is unburned nuclear fuel. Reactors can be built that burn up all of the actinides in the "waste". Thus if we store it for 50 years, we can burn the "waste" for energy with new reactors. New reactors could be built in 10-20 years.

I say there would be less geopolitical risk and less risk of war with more nuclear power. The greatest risk of major war would be between major militaries over scarce oil resources. (WW2, japan fought because oil was cut off, Iraq war, Iran/Iraq war) By changing over to nuclear power the demand and pressures for oil are reduced.

Anonymous said...

Nicely put bw. Nuclear energy is an important part of the future energy portfolio.

C Randy said...

Wind power may be 25-35% efficient but anyone who knows how to read knows that a wind turbine with 10 MW means it is 10 MW at max efficiency. Not that hard to figure out so the math that has been done in these comments is wrong. Thanks!