GE says it has acquired ScanWind, a developer of advanced gearbox-free drive trains aimed at offshore deployment. The company manufacturers and markets direct-drive wind turbines from its headquarters in Trondheim, Norway and a design-engineering center in Karlstad, Sweden. Direct drives connect the rotor to a generator that operates at low rotational speeds creating a simpler and more reliable drive train. The company has 11 of the turbines operating on the Norwegian coast.
ScanWind also comes with a clever tower and nacelle-lifting equipment tailored to erecting of large turbines in complex terrain. The design erects two lattice towers on either side of a site to lift the tower and nacelle into place. The company says the lifting towers work in winds up to 15 m/s winds frequent on coasts, and works well for wind class IEC 1. What’s more, its small footprint minimizes its environmental impact.
Earlier in 2009, ScanWind described development of its SW-100-4000 (a 4-MW) offshore unit based on the existing SW-90-3500 design. First offshore prototypes are slated for installation in 2011.
In a conventional turbine, the rotor drives a gearbox and that turns the generator. Turbines with greater electrical outputs, such as offshore turbines, generate greater loads, making gearbox reliability a challenge.
Filed Under: Projects, Turbines