GE to use offshore wind turbines with no gearbox

The company purchased last September the Norwegian offshore wind turbine producer ScanWind, specialized in direct drive turbines with no gear boxes, and is currently integrating this technology into its own offshore wind turbines.

Carlos Haertel, managing director of GE Global Research, declared that ScanWind’s drive train system would be the background for the company’s whole future range of offshore turbines.

“We will continue with gear boxes for our 1.5MW and 2.5MW [onshore] systems,” he added. “But for offshore turbines a gearbox is not a good idea… there will not be further development of gearbox systems for offshore.”

Haertel announced the switch to drive train technologies, which feature less moving parts than gearboxes, would dramatically increase the reliability of offshore wind turbines and cut the maintenance costs that represent a big share of wind farms’ operational costs.

“Maintenance is a big issue for offshore wind turbines, because of the difficulties of getting repair teams out to the turbines,” Haertel said. “If you can master the high reliability requirements you will have a very compelling offering.”


Source: instalbiz, March 01, 2010; Image: treehugger, May 24, 2009