German new-look drive-train project

German researchers have kicked off a €1.55m ($2.1m) project to design a new lightweight direct-drive wind turbine based around an integrated hub generator.

The 3MW concept, being hatched by a team from Fraunhofer IWES and Saarland Technical College, will use a modular drive-train architecture in which the rotor blades are connected directly to a permanent magnet generator rather than to the nacelle hub.

The design is calculated to create a featherlight construction with standardised parts that will streamline the "very complex and cost-intensive" logistics of transport and installation of heavy turbine components, especially on hostile offshore environments.

"Future wind turbines are to be more efficient, more cost-effective and less maintenance intensive," says Fraunhofer project leader Patrick Tober. "As gearless or direct drive [concepts] are equipped with fewer Log in to read complete article.

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