This article was written from a presentation by Homan Seyedin and Frank Richert.
Reducing costs is a big deal for any product design team. A new turbine manufacturer in Germany, SkyWind, has given a good deal of thought to revising most of what passes for a modern turbine. Company engineers have devised a method whereby the tower becomes the crane to lift the generator and rotor.
Although public details are sketchy, SkyWind 3.4 is the generator, SkyFormer is the grid connection system, SkyConrol is a cluster or wind farm control, SkyMount is a clever installation system for the tower, and SkyLift is a lift system for service and maintenance.
The company goal is to produce a 3.4 MW wind turbine for difficult to access sites, hence no need for a crane. It would provide a universal platform for different drivetrain concepts. The company won an engineering award for its modularity which presumably simplifies maintenance. Of course, the ultimate goal is to minimized the cost of energy. The strategies proposed by the company include avoiding external cranes for installation and maintenance. The size and mass of components will be optimized, while service and maintenance are simplified.
The authors designed the turbine with the assistance of Simpack software which provided multibody simulations. This was essential, they say, because designing and evaluating new concepts efficiently requires simulating the complete system with different levels of model quality. In addition, the combination of elastic components called for an accurate representation of rotor aerodynamics, a specialized control mechanism to model generaor-to-grid behavior, and interfaces to other codes and routines. The full presentation is here: http://www.simpack.com/fileadmin/simpack/doc/usermeeting11/UM_2011_presentations/Day_2_Wind_General/02_um11_SkyWind_Richert_Development_SkyWind_3X_WindTurbine_with_SIMPACK.pdf
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