Siemens Starts Operating its First 6-MW Wind Turbine with Improved Power-to-Weight Ratio

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Siemens has started testing its first 6-megawatt SWT-6.0-120 direct drive wind turbine offshore in Høvsøre, Denmark. The fact that it is direct drive means that the turbine does not turn a large gear which turns a smaller one (this is called overdrive), but it directly turns the generator at the same speed as the blades. One benefit of this setup and also a reason why it is used offshore is because it requires less maintenance than a geared turbine instead.

Offshore wind turbines are more expensive to maintain than onshore ones. Therefore, maintenance costs need to be kept at a minimum, even if that means using direct drive turbines like the one that have a higher capital cost. Offshore, the added reliability pays for the extra cost.

This is the third direct drive turbine that Siemens has developed and Siemens says that it has a power-to-weight ratio comparable to that of smaller 2- and 3-MW wind turbines. This improvement means that weight will affect installation less negatively than other 6-MW turbines. Stiesdal, Chief Technology Officer of the Siemens Wind Power Business Unit said: “Reaching this low weight with a strong and robust machine is the result of targeted innovation combined with our more than thirty years of wind industry experience.”

The heavy weight of wind turbines matters financially because it not only makes it difficult to install them but also to transport them. The combined weight of the SWT-6.0-120’s nacelle and blades is 350 tons (no small matter).

Larger wind turbines, relative to the power they create, tend to have a smaller ground footprint (I am referring to the amount of space that the machines themselves physically occupy on the ground, which is equal to the size of the base of the tower).

They also tend to generate electricity at a lower cost per kWh. More, smaller turbines take up more ground space but less vertical space since they are shorter. This is due to the fact that wind speed and consistency increases with altitude.

The new 6-MW turbine from Siemens also includes a helicopter-hoisting platform integrated in the back of the nacelle to allow service technicians easy access. Serial production is to begin in 2014.

Related Stories on CleanTechnica:

  1. World’s Largest Offshore Wind Turbine to be Constructed in North Sea
  2. Vestas Launches New Version of Most Popular Wind Turbine, Energy Production 10-15% Higher
  3. Wind Turbines a Tourist Attraction in Atlantic City (Visitors Want Rooms with a Wind Farm View)
  4. Offshore Wind Future Looks Bright but Challenges & Uncertainty Remain, New Report Finds
  5. Wind Farm Efficiency to be Improved Using “Evolutionary Algorithms”

Image via ifandp.com


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Nicholas Brown

Has a keen interest in physics-intensive topics such as electricity generation, refrigeration and air conditioning technology, energy storage, and geography. His website is: Kompulsa.com.

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