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The major announcements regarding new turbines came from Siemens, GE, Nordex, Areva and Alstom, but there was another interesting development.

Mitsubishi to Present Wind Turbine with Hydraulic Drive Train


In place of a conventional gear drive mechanism, MHI's state-of-the-art configuration features the world's first hydraulic drive train exclusively for use in large-size offshore wind turbines.
EWEA OFFSHORE 2011, organized by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA), is Europe's largest exhibition of offshore wind turbines. MHI ... in the 7-megawatt (MW) class. The system, marking the first time MHI is announcing and showing the overview of an offshore system under development, is noteworthy for its adoption of a hydraulic transmission in the drive train. The rotor diameter exceeds 165 meters.
In November 2010 MHI and MPSE acquired Artemis Intelligent Power, Ltd., a UK venture company that possesses outstanding technology in hydraulic transmission systems. Applying this technology, MHI is now undertaking the development of a hydraulic drive train specifically for use in offshore wind turbines, targeting a new type of power generating system, including new blades. Plans call for domestic verification of the new system using existing wind turbine within 2012, operational testing in Europe in 2013, and commercial mass production to commence in 2015.

This development, which i missed at the event, is significant because it shows that technical development remains fluid and the industry is not mature (which many tend to forget.)

It also shows that new engineering ideas, even from countries behind the curve, can be innovative enough to attract industrial investment. And that Mitsubishi, with over 2 decades of turbine manufacturing experience, is willing to invest in a new direction.

Strangely, there was no announcement that the technology already exists, and is used commercially in the Voith WinDrive, first used by DeWind. Here, the third stage of a standard gearbox was replaced by a fluid torque converter.

Voith has been in the power business for a while, having built the turbines at Niagara Falls over a hundred years ago. I've climbed a
DeWind turbine, and seen some of the operational data, and realize this is just another path which, properly engineered, can acheive the desired results.

Interesting that Korean owned DeWind and Japanese Mitsubishi have taken this path.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaļs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Mon Dec 5th, 2011 at 03:53:18 AM EST

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