utility size winturbines without gear box

solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,041 ✭✭✭
Most utility size wind turbines have the blades on one end of the shaft and a gear on on  center  end of shaft to drive a gearbox.  The gearbox drives the generators at a faster speed so they can make power. At the foundry where I worked we made the hub and gearbox  for a company that had 5 different generators. It was unique that they could remove a generator for repair and still run the other 4 generators. One of the big problems is the gearbox wears out twice as fast as the  blades and hub.  Before I retired in 2010 I  saw drawing for a new kind of turbine set up and am wondering if it was manufactured yet.  not sure but I think the company might be seamans.   They wanted to eliminate using gear boxes since the reliability is not as good as the rest of the turbine.  The turbine shaft had  a similar blade system that has been used. Instead of a gear mounted on the shaft there was a big rotor mounted on the shaft. The rotor run the same rpm as the blades and turned inside the outer housing with the coils   There was a outside housing with coils mounted on the  inside of a casting that stays stationary.  That casting reminded me of a drum brake housing and was about 15 or more feet in diameter. It is like a giant car alternator or generator.  Been wandering if that has been made yet.    Solarvic


  • mcgivormcgivor Registered Users Posts: 1,212 ✭✭✭✭
    Siemens have built a direct drive wind turbine, You Tube search has videos on the subject 
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  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,041 ✭✭✭
    Mcgiver, Thanks for letting me know about the youtube video suggestion. I watched a few of them and was interested in one about  minnisoto power.   They have a wind farm with the direct drive turbines and think the mantanance is lower than gearbox units. The power company has an agreement with a hydro plant in Canada. They send electric to the hydro plant to pump water up into a lake with the excess power and let it come down thru the water turbines when the power need is greater. A way to store power. Maybe that would be a good solution to store power if those two power sources could compliment each other? 
  • peakbagggerpeakbaggger Registered Users Posts: 8 ✭✭
    I used to work for Northern Power prebankrupcy. They have sold direct drive Northwind 100 KW turbines for around 15 years and sold smaller units for a long time including a somewhat famous one for Antartica. They had a design for a larger direct drive utility turbine and built at least one prototype in Michigan but I think they sold the rights to a Brazilian company and have stuck with the smaller 100 KW units which they make in Barre VT (just down the road from the Rock of Ages quarry) . One of the roadblocks to direct drive development was patent rights. NP had some but GE had acquired many of them so other firms couldn't get around the patents. They probably would be a much bigger player in the large turbine market as their large direct drive unit was designed several years before the boom but Wall Street got a hold of them and did an IPO scam which eventually drove them to bankruptcy. The remnants were reformed into the new Northern Power but they had missed the boat. The generators are pretty simple in concept but the power electronics to convert "wild" AC (variable frequency and voltage) to line voltage is pretty complex. Its sort of half a variable speed drive where the input stage is wild AC. The wild AC charges up some intermediate power electronics and then they are fired to reform a waveform.
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