The largest wind turbine drivetrain test bench in the world had its generator lowered into place recently, with the 25MW rig at the Lindø Offshore Renewable Centre (LORC) in Denmark slated to start operation next March.
The LORC test bench, which will be used for highly accelerated life-time testing (Halt) of up-to-20MW nacelles as well as transmission system components such as gearboxes and main bearings in the 16-18MW, can exert torque or 32 mega-Newton-metres – greater than industrial rock-crushers.
The testing complex, in Munkebo on Denmark’s Funen island, straddles two adjacent buildings which are both served by a 1,200-tonne gantry crane and have removable roof sections to allow for straightforward installation of nacelles: the larger, at 3,500m 2, housed a component function test facility and a Halt rig, for trials on technology up to 18MW, while the new Halt test bench for bigger drive-trains is located in a 2,250m2 hall.
Drive-train test rigs are among the most complex pieces of equipment used in the offshore wind industry, engineered to trial technology to mechanical extremes to ensure reliable operation in the harshest of marine environments.
The UK’s Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult has tested drive-trains and other componentry for GE’s record-setting 12MW Haliade-X machine and other more experimental next-generation technology and Germany’s Fraunhofer likewise has worked on ultra-large turbine including the former Adwen concept and is studying the technology testing side of development of 15-20MW models.
The Danish government last year granted LORC DKr50m ($7.5m) to upgrade its test facilities.