Gallery: GE’s Gigantic Offshore Wind Turbine is 25% More Efficient


GE has been cracking away to design and release a more efficient wind turbine – 25% more efficient in fact. Rather than increasing the size to generate more power like some other manufacturers have done, GE is designing longer blades and a more efficient drive train. GE hopes to release the new turbine, which will be 300 feet tall and have a rotor diameter of 360 feet, in 2012. The company is also investing $453 million in order to mass produce these next gen turbines for use offshore in Europe.

The next gen wind turbine by GE will only be 4 MW, which isn’t too big compared to the 10 MW turbine Norway is building, but it will have two significant design changes: a simpler and more efficient drive train as well as longer blades.  A direct-drive mechanism will do away with the gear box, which is used to ramp up the RPMs to generate more electricity. Doing away with the gear box simplifies the system greatly, reducing need for maintenance and oil, both costly during the lifetime of the turbine.  Additionally, permanent magnets will replace the electromagnets, which require starter brushes, coils and power from the grid every time the turbine starts up. The new drive train and generator are currently being tested in Norway.

Meanwhile the blades, which are being tested in the Netherlands, have been lengthened by 40%, and made even more aerodynamic and lightweight, all in order to capture more of wind. These new 176-foot long blades are also designed to twist as they are bent from the force of the wind, which means they’ll bear less of the gusts’ brunt yet still  be able to capture a large part of the energy. With the help of the new drive train and more efficient blades, the wind turbine will be able to create more power when it is turning at slower wind speeds, which means that the turbine will be able to operate more often at its max 4 MW potential and power up to 1,000 homes with renewable energy.

+ GE Wind

Via Popular Science


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  1. timothyskoglund@hotmail... February 1, 2013 at 2:53 pm

    I pay about $100 per year to subsidize Blue Skies power through Rocky Mountain Power in the hopes of somehow offsetting the carbon produced by my use of natural gas at home. I am subsidizing about four times the electricity I actually use per year.

  2. daniel2 August 30, 2011 at 10:25 pm

    %25 more efficient that what ?? – a 19 th century dutch windmill?
    I bet this new dinosaur is no more than %42 actual efficiency
    My little 1 meter turbine turns wind into power at a rate of %58
    at half the price per Kwatt

  3. Spain to Build World's ... December 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    […] Bad luck, Norway — just when they thought they had secured the title of world’s largest wind turbine with a 10MW installation, Spain swooped in to steal their thunder. Spanish wind turbine manufacturer Gamesa has announced that they are constructing an epic 15MW wind turbine that will help them address certain technical and financial troubles associated with offshore wind development […]

  4. Affordable, Efficient H... July 29, 2010 at 2:09 pm

    […] wind turbines of this capacity require 7 to 8 mph winds to overcome the resistance of the gears. A conventional turbine uses the wind to move blades that turn gears to power a generator, whereas the Honeywell Turbine […]

  5. office@etienengineering... May 16, 2010 at 8:26 pm

    The only item left to change is the \”old\” generator technology. Lighter and more effective is possible.

  6. jianchung April 2, 2010 at 1:18 am

    Interesting that they thought of using a direct drive now. Just wondering how come they didnt think of it in the first place? Material/Technology constraints?

  7. AngerOfTheNorth March 30, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    Yup – and they’ll be manufacturing them right here in Newcastle upon Tyne. In the last few weeks we’ve had GE, Siemens and Clipper all announce deals to create manufacturing plants on the banks of the River Tyne, where most of the worlds ships were once built and fitted. Mitsubishi is also meant to be signing up soon. The area should become one of the major centres for offshore wind turbine manufacturing of the world.

    Might be worth doing a write-up of..?

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