GE touts PassiveBoost for offshore

General Electric has completed successful trials of PassiveBoost, its technology to allow remote power networks to go direct current and potentially reduce electricity cost 15% from offshore wind.

GE also says the technology can increase the amount of electrical output delivered from all renewable energy sources in distant, inhospitable places

The company says that modern power electronics make it possible to realize efficiency gains that direct current (DC) brings for power transmission. PassiveBoost extends that potential for use in the distribution or collection grid.

“Whether extracting fossil fuels or capitalizing on renewable energy resources, we find ourselves working further offshore or in inhospitable desert locations. In either case, the energy wasted in alternating current (AC) transmission systems is costing the energy consumer too much. The technologies behind PassiveBoost will enable these costs to be cut,” says Keiran Coulton, a senior executive at GE Power Conversion.

The trials were done at the company’s full-scale power system test site near Leicester in the UK. The solution on test provides a straight replacement, on the same footprint, for the AC transformer inside every wind turbine and allows direct connection to an efficient, high-voltage, DC power collection grid.

It also reduces cable cost and without the need for an expensive and complex DC breaker.

The PassiveBoost project has been supported by Scottish Enterprise, with parts of the trial system being manufactured in GE’s Glasgow plant.