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February 12, 2009

American Superconductor and Department of Energy Will Try to Get 10 Megawatt Wind Turbines into Production


The EU has the Upwind project to develop advanced wind technology. Upwind is separate from the american DOE and American Superconductor effort.

American Superconductor will work with the Department of Energy to enable production a 10 megawatt superconducting wind turbine design. The 10 MW superconducting wind turbine would weight 120 tons instead of 300 tons for a conventional design. The current largest conventional wind turbines are about 6 to 6.5 megawatts and there are 7.5 megawatt versions being developed as well.

American Superconductor Corporation (NASDAQ: AMSC), a leading energy technologies company, today announced that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and its National Wind Technology Center (NWTC) to validate the economics of a full 10 megawatt (MW) class superconductor wind turbine. AMSC is separately developing full 10 MW-class wind turbine component and system designs. A CRADA allows the Federal government and industry partners to optimize their resources, share technical expertise in a protected environment and speed the commercialization of technologies.

The superconductor generators that are to be utilized for 10 MW-class superconductor wind turbines are based on proven technology AMSC has developed for superconductor ship propulsion motors and generators under contracts with the U.S. Navy. AMSC recently announced that a 36.5 MW superconductor ship propulsion motor it designed and manufactured for the Navy was successfully operated at full power by the Navy and is ready for deployment.


Under the 12-month program, AMSC Windtec™, a wholly owned subsidiary of AMSC, will analyze the cost of a full 10 MW-class superconductor wind turbine, which will include a direct drive superconductor generator and all other components, including the blades, hub, power electronics, nacelle, tower and controls. The NWTC will then benchmark and evaluate the wind turbine’s economic impact, both in terms of its initial cost and its overall cost of energy.






FURTHER READING
This site covered the initial start of design and development of the 10 Megawatt wind turbine back in October 2007

This site has also closed tracked the details of the 36.5 megawatt superconducting navy motor.

14 page presentation on the separate EU Upwind project, which is a 5 year 22 million euro project.

Upwind goals:
1. very large turbines,
2. more cost efficient turbines
3. offshore wind farms of several hundred MW.
• Today’s wind turbines up to P = 5 MW and rotor diameter up to 126 meter
• The future wind turbines P= 10 MW and 20 MW with rotor diameter up to more than 200 meter



Denmark has a project researching 12 megawatt wind turbines.

The goal of the project is to experimentally investigate the wind and turbulence characteristics between 70 and 270 m above sea level and thereby establish the scientific basis relevant for the next generation of huge 12 MW wind turbines operating offshore.


A 6 megawatt rated wind turbine was installed in the USA but it will likely generate 7+ megawatts.


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