Technical Innovations Enabling a New Direct Drive Wind Turbine Generator
Develop high temperature superconducting wide-wire, coil, refrigeration and stator technologies for ultra low-speed generators that are light, efficient, and reliable for large offshore wind turbines.
Sponsor: American Superconductor CorporationTwo Technology Drive
Westborough, MA 01581
The increasing demand for clean, carbon-free electric power, coupled with the global warming crisis, has fueled tremendous growth in use of renewable energy technologies such as wind power. Yet offshore installations comprise only 2 percent of global wind-generated electricity. To break through the economic barrier and assure the future of this vast and critically important green energy source, new technologies are needed offering lower weight, higher efficiency, and significantly improved reliability. American Superconductor and partner TECO-Westinghouse Motor Company (Round Rock, Texas) have proposed a project that if successful would significantly reduce the cost of operation for the wind power generation market. Second generation (2G) high temperature superconducting (HTS) wire is an enabling technology. The key technical innovations in this program are: wide high current reinforced 2G HTS wire, large high current density 2G HTS coils, integrated on-rotor cooling systems, and high current loading efficient air-core stators. The wires will help build a new generation of equipment for the electric power and magnet industries. In particular, the innovative technologies developed in this program (coils based on new 2G wire technology, plus advanced stator and refrigeration technologies) will enable the construction of one of the most powerful low-speed generators in the world, one that is efficient, lightweight and reliable, as a demonstration of how to optimize the cost effectiveness of wind turbine generators. With effective, economical technology for an ultra low-speed direct-drive HTS wind generator, the annual market for large offshore wind generators is expected to exceed $0.5B by 2015 and to exceed $2.5B by 2020. If successful, the project will enable the joint venture to establish the high-risk technology required to bring an HTS wind generator to market, helping American companies to play a major role in this international market, thereby securing U.S. jobs as well as exports.