IEEE: About Wind Turbines

andre kesteloot andre.kesteloot at
Fri Feb 5 15:17:13 CST 2010

Thank you so much for this clear explanation of where this technology 
stands right now
Mike O'Dell wrote:
> the chinese are indeed developing mfg capability for
> wind turbines and they have suffered mightily doing so.
> Suzlon has had repeated catastrophic failures due to
> the complexity and rigors of the gearboxes, which is
> the single largest source of failure in large 3-blade turbines.
> Suzlon's design uses 3 smaller generators instead of one
> large one, but that dramatically complicates the gearbox
> even if it simplifies generator design challenges.
> Vestus and GE Wind are currently the largest suppliers of turbines for
> US and European development projects.
> the biggest push by China has been in polycrystalline
> solar cells. they have developed massive infrastructure
> for making solar-grade silicon and then producing sells
> of respectable efficiency at very competitive prices.
> but in both cases, the capabilities are manufacturing,
> not technology development, and both areas require massive
> technology development if the LCOE (Levelized Cost of Energy)
> is to become competitive with fossil fuel combustion without
> massive subsidies.
> one big target is the so-called "direct-drive" wind turbine,
> where the generator is driven directly by the turbine rotor
> without a gearbox in the middle. essentially all such designs
> generate variable-frequency AC which is then bulk-rectified
> and then converted with a line-synchronous inverter to make
> 60Hz. the concept is incredibly attractive on the white board.
> execution is non-trivial - the alternator design alone is
> a huge task.
> the Japanese currently hold the record for non-Hydro grid-scale
> power storage. Tokyo Electric worked for years and several bilion
> dollars to develop a liquid-sodium/liquid-sulphur battery that
> can supply a megawatt for 7 hours (including inverter losses).
> a 7MWH module is about 40 feet long, 10 feet wide, and 15 feet
> high, and tips the scales at about 200 tons. the cells operate
> at 300C, btw.  TEC needs these because the vast majority of their
> base-load generation is nuclear, and nuclear plants are not
> very flexibile. they are expensive, so running them flat-out
> is most efficient in terms of kilowatts per yen of depreciation,
> and nuclear plants have such a huge thermal mass, they don't
> throttle up or down in less than multiple hours. as a result,
> the sodium-sulfur batteries let them deal with the diurnal
> cycles and peaks with less over-capacity.
> several US utilities have ordered a sodium-sulfur battery for
> the purpose of exploring how they could use grid-scale storage
> in their networks, but i doubt seriously anyone in the US
> will try to deploy them - they want a technology which won't
> make people instantly crazy when they hear a few thousand
> pounds of liquid sodium will be located down the street at
> the neighborhood substation. and there is more appropriate
> technology is being developed in the US.
> so while China's manufacturing ability is not to be
> underestimated, it's also a long, long way from the
> last reel of the movie.
>     -mo
> On 2/4/10 4:14 PM, andre kesteloot wrote:
>> Karl W4KRL wrote:
>>> Andre,
>>> There should be exact figures for how much wind-generated 
>>> electricity was
>>> produced. Then we would not need to resort to rules of thumb to
>>> compare wind
>>> capacity to non-intermittent capacity. It is sad to see the degree of
>>> precision increase when applying approximate factors. Shame on the
>>> author!
>> indeed
>>> An interesting statistic that was missed is that US wind generation
>>> capacity
>>> was increased 40% in one year.
>> also the news today that the Chinese are already able to produce that
>> kind of equipment at 40% less than we do.
>> Are we going to miss the boat, once again ?
>> 73
>> André
>> _______________________________________________
>> Tacos mailing list
>> Tacos at

More information about the Tacos mailing list