Tecnalia Hits Two-Digit-Megawatt Mark, Patents 10MW Offshore Wind Generator

Tecnalia has led an European consortium for the development of a novel 10MW lightweight and reliable generator based on superconducting materials. The concept has been patented in Europe and the U.S., and a prototype has been built to validate the system.

Image source: SUPRAPOWER-FP7

According to Tecnalia, offshore wind companies such as Siemens Gamesa, GE and Ingeteam have shown high interest in this development.

Turbines in the 10MW class based on current conventional generators would have a huge size and weight, putting at risk the technical and economic feasibility, Tecnalia said, further adding that this new generator shows a 26% weight reduction in comparison to a permanent magnet generator, allowing for savings of up to EUR 1 million.

Superconducting coils and the cooling system to produce very low temperatures (-253 ºC) have been the main challenges for the development of these generators. In order to validate the concept, a scaled prototype has been built with the main innovative components having the same size and operating under similar conditions as in the 10MW generator.

Today’s geared as well as direct-drive permanent magnet generators are difficult to scale up further. Their huge size and weight drives up the cost of both fixed and floating foundations as well as O&M cost. New solutions to provide better power scalability, weight reduction and reliability are needed. Superconductivity may be the only technology able to combine such features and allow scaling to 10 MW and beyond by radical reduction of the head mass.

The main outcome of the project will be a SC generator able to be scaled in wind turbines up to power levels of 10MW and beyond, enforcing a key European technology. – SUPRAPOWER website

According to SUPRAPOWER project’s website, this concept will create the basis for the development of a technology for large generators of 10, 15 or even 20MW, up to the power and load level approaching the aerodynamic limit of the blades.

The 10MW generator has been developed in the framework of the SUPerconducting, Reliable, lightweight, And more POWERful offshore wind turbine (SUPRAPOWER) project. The consortium involved in the development comprises Columbus Superconductors, Solute Ingenieros, Ingeteam, D2M Engineering, Karlsruher Institut fuer Technologie, IEE- Slovak Academy of Science and the University of Southampton.

SUPRAPOWER project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration.