Turbine manufacturers such as Siemens Wind Power have been working to eliminate the most complicated and, therefore, sensitive element – the gearbox – by replacing it with a direct drive system.
These direct drive systems, powered by a permanent magnet generator, could run for years without maintenance.
Wind power breakdowns at a height of more than a hundred meters and potentially several hundred kilometers out to sea are not easy to fix.
According to Siemens, around half of the annual output of its wind turbines incorporate permanent magnet generators.
Siemens is not have been the first company to enter this new era of wind power, CTO Henrik Stiesdal, who built his first small wind turbine in 1976 and designed one of the first commercial wind turbines, licensed to Vestas in 1979, believes this can increase the company's competitiveness.
“The Siemens claim to fame is that we have developed a simple and easy-to-industrialize machine that could significantly bring down energy costs,” he says.
The technology behind this achievement will be the focus of a seminar at CWIEME Berlin in June.
“Two rare earths are used in the magnet – one is difficult and costly to source, while the other is not,” says Stiesdal. “In my seminar I will explain how we have managed to decrease the share of the truly ‘rare’ rare earth and will eventually eliminate it from the magnets we make in a few years’ time.”
According to Chloe Theobald, content manager for CWIEME Berlin: “Stiesdal is the industry authority on wind power technology and has so many invaluable insights to share with our guests at this year’s show.”
Stiesdal will be presenting his seminar on ‘The gearless evolution of wind turbine generators’ at CWIEME Central on Thursday 26th June.
CWIEME Berlin takes place 24th - 26th June 2014 at Messe Berlin, Messedamm 22, 14055 Berlin, Germany.
See also Global Offshore Wind 2014 event in Glasgow, June 11-12