US Test Center Gearing Up For Offshore Wind Giant

The 15MW dynamometer test rig. Source: Clemson’s SCE&G Energy Innovation Center

Clemson University is preparing the 15MW dynamometer test rig at its SCE&G Energy Innovation Center in Charleston, South Carolina, which will be used to test the gearbox of MHI Vestas Offshore Wind’s 9.5MW offshore wind turbine.

Clemson University is currently carrying out dynamometer test rig modifications and installing the equipment needed for the tests.

The planned testing will allow MHI Vestas to measure how the 9.5MW gearbox and bearings will react over the course of a 20-year wind turbine lifespan.

By collecting and analyzing the test data, the company said it will be able to optimize a service strategy for the turbine with the goal of reducing the levelized cost of electricity for offshore wind, while establishing a supply chain for the emerging US offshore wind industry.

With a rotor diameter of 164 meters, the MHI Vestas V164-9.5MW unit will be the most powerful wind turbine in the world.

While MHI Vestas will be the first company to test a next-generation drivetrain on the 15MW test stand, Clemson is partnering with General Electric (GE) to test wind turbine drivetrains using the 7.5MW test stand. The third GE turbine drivetrain to be tested at the facility is currently being installed onto the 7.5MW test stand.

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