Increasing size of Wind Turbines

by Pradeep

Wind Energy is the oldest and is among the most widely used Renewable Energy sources in the world. In India, it is only next to Large Hydro in terms of capacity and energy generation. Of-late, plans to make bigger and bigger wind-turbines are being announced by companies that have been operating for decades in this field. By bigger, I mean both size-wise and capacity-wise. Siemens which announced its flagship product SWT-6.0-154 that has a 6 MW output capacity and a rotor diameter of 154m was outdone by Vestas’ V164 turbine which is not only bigger in size (80m blade and 164m rotor diameter) but is also said to produce 7 MW output.

Enercon, however, already has its E-126 wind turbine on production and has finished several installations since 2007. Released as a 6 MW turbine, it was later upgraded to 7.5 MW after technical revisions. This is by far the biggest wind turbine till date.

Vestas V164 wind turbine - 8 MW

(Image Source: Vestas.com)

Vestas which was working on its 7 MW turbine recently announced that, owing to technological improvement, the Vestas-V164 will now have 8 MW output. This is in develepment stage right now with testing to be started next year. The product is slated to be launched in 2014 according to information from the company.

As these companies race against each other producing higher capacity turbines, there was an announcement made in July 2010 by UK based company Wind Power Limited that it plans to come up with a 10 MW turbine. Unlike the ones mentioned above, this is going to be a Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT) and is going to be off-shore based. Named ‘Aerogenerator X’, the sheer size of this turbine makes it infeasible for land installations. Here are a few specifications of the Aerogenerator X:

Type: Vertical Axis
Distance from blade tip to blade tip: 275 m
Swept area: 14.7 Acres
Generation Capacity: 10 MW
Concept released in: 2010
Expected to be ready by: 2013-2014

The distinctive feature of the Vertical Axis Wind Turbine (VAWT), unlike other VAWTs, is that it has most of its mass concentrated at the bottom thus resulting in a lower centre of gravity and thus higher structural stability.

Aerogenerator X- 10 MW Offshore Wind Turbine

 (Image Source: Grimshaw Architects)

The future of Wind Energy technology sounds promising and exciting with all the focus on Renewable Energy in the last decade. Wind Energy which is already a well understood and widely established industry will continue to be a significant part of the Global Renewable Energy revolution.

Let us know what your thoughts!!


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