It’s expensive to transport wind turbines, which adds to the cost of wind power. Seeking to bring those costs down, Danish wind turbine company Vestas decided to tack on more rotors to get the most out of a turbine tower. They’re currently testing a multi-rotor design at the Technical University of Denmark that has four rotors and 12 blades. The company announced earlier this month on Facebook that their new turbine generated its first kilowatt hour (kWh) of power.
The multi-rotor turbine doesn’t have the three blades typical on most wind turbines, but 12. The turbine being tested has a “tip height” of 74 meters, or around 242 feet, because the testing site restricts tip height to 75 meters. Vestas is using 1990’s refurbished nacelles (or the covers for “working parts” of the wind turbine) to explore the concept.
One potential drawback of the multi-rotor design is that if one component breaks or stops functioning, Vestas would have to make rapid adjustments so the rest of the turbine could offset the flaw. Real-time monitoring would be therefore crucial. CleanTechnica speculates that could be why the company is using refurbished parts rather than creating new parts for the new multi-rotor turbine.
In their Facebook post announcing the first kWh, Senior Specialist, Electrical, Load & Control Erik Carl Lehnskov Miranda said they planned to keep testing “various software functions.” Vestas added, “…by 2020 as much as 10 percent of the world’s electricity consumption will be satisfied by energy from the wind… [and] we have the confidence to say that wind power is an industry on par with coal and gas.”
Images courtesy of Vestas Wind Systems A/S