Archivio 23 settembre 2009

GE Grabs Gearless Wind Turbines

Fonte: Technology Review

New direct-drive turbines promise to lower the cost of offshore wind energy.

By Prachi Patel (Technology Review)

With a new purchase, GE is betting on an early-stage turbine technology that could make offshore wind farms much cheaper to maintain. The acquisition of ScanWind, based in Trondheim, Norway, has also secured GE a foothold in the growing offshore wind energy market.

One speed: ScanWind has been testing gearless 3.5-megawatt wind turbines on the Norwegian coast since 2003. Credit: GE

One speed: ScanWind has been testing gearless 3.5-megawatt wind turbines on the Norwegian coast since 2003. Credit: GE

Instead of gearboxes, ScanWind uses a novel direct-drive generator technology in its 3.5-megawatt turbines. This makes the turbines more reliable, the company says, by cutting downtime and repair costs–an especially important consideration for turbines offshore, where it’s more expensive to send technicians for maintenance. ScanWind has been testing the turbines on the Norwegian coast since 2003.

GE, based in Fairfield, CT, is the world’s second-largest maker of wind turbines, with more than 12,000 turbines installed globally. But GE’s offshore wind energy portfolio has been minimal so far, and the company wants to expand its offshore offerings. By acquiring ScanWind, transferring its expertise and understanding of onshore wind, and adding technologies such as remote monitoring and sensing, GE hopes it can make a solid, cost-effective offshore wind product. continua a leggere…

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