MHI Vestas to test & verify its 9.5-MW turbine at Clemson U test center

$35 million investment to test world’s most powerful wind turbine. Clemson University to become the home of MHI Vestas’ V164-9.5 MW turbine test and verification program.

MHI Vestas Offshore Wind and Clemson University in South Carolina announced that the powerful V164-9.5 MW turbine will have all testing and verification of the wind turbine’s gearbox and main bearings carried out at the University’s state-of-the-art 15-MW test bench.

“We are delighted to have found such world-class facilities to carry out vital testing of the world’s most powerful wind turbine,” said Jakob Søbye, Senior Director of Technology at MHI Vestas. “The testing and verification of the gearbox and bearings will allow us to optimize the performance and reliability of the wind turbine.”

Part of the 15-MW test bed at the University. The $35 million total of the testing project investment will direct as much as $23 million over five years to Clemson and stimulate the employment of a dozen hi-tech jobs.

The V164-9.5 MW wind turbine is the turbine most likely to be used for the first round of major offshore wind projects in the United States.

“MHI Vestas’ decision to partner with Clemson to test its most powerful wind turbine is a testament to the expertise of our faculty and staff working at the test facility,” said Clemson Provost Robert Jones. “The work that will be done as result of this partnership also will further Clemson’s efforts to establish the university as a leader in technologies related to the production of alternative energy sources, and hopefully will lead to further research and economic engagement opportunities for Clemson.”

The testing allows MHI Vestas to gain a better understanding of how the 9.5-MW gearbox and bearings will react over the course of a 20+ year lifecycle. Through the use of big data from the test results, MHI Vestas can optimize the service strategy for the turbine to ensure optimum reliability and minimize the fatigue on components.

The $35 million total project investment will direct as much as $23 million over five years to Clemson and stimulate the employment of a dozen hi-tech jobs.

The deal with Clemson University marks MHI Vestas Offshore Wind’s first major investment in the United States, catapulting the U.S. into a leadership position in offshore wind as the country will now be testing the world’s most powerful wind turbine. It is anticipated that visitors from around the world will come to Clemson to see the test setup.

“Clemson’s facilities are second-to-none and will enable MHI Vestas to accelerate their technology to the market and usher in a new source of renewable energy vital to our energy future,” said Randy Collins, the university’s associate vice president in Charleston. “Not only will this work advance wind turbine technology, it will propagate over into the education of our students and advancement of scientific knowledge. It is a true win-win for our respective institutions.”

MHI Vestas testing footprint includes facilities in Denmark (Århus and Lindø), the United Kingdom (Isle of Wight), and now a relationship with the Clemson University facility in the U.S.

In November 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Clemson University in South Carolina the largest grant in the university’s history to build and operate a facility to test next-generation wind-turbine drivetrain technology. The award represented an enormous economic development opportunity for the region. The 82,000-square-foot facility was designed to house not only the wind-turbine drivetrain testing facility, but also grid integration studies.

Space in the Energy Innovation Center is designed for public-private partnerships to house Clemson University personnel and students with company partners. The Energy Innovation Center can test drivetrains on two test rigs: one up to 7.5 MW and the other up to 15 megawatts.

The $98 million testing facility was funded by a $45 million Energy Department grant and matched by $53 million of public and private funds. The grant’s objective is to accelerate development of new technology for the wind market to reduce the cost of energy. The facility’s mission is to provide high value, high quality, and cost-competitive testing services to industry, and to establish long-term workforce development, research, and education partnerships.

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