|ScanWind turbine. Click to enlarge.|
Headquartered in Trondheim, Norway, with a design-engineering centre in Karlstad, Sweden, ScanWind was founded in 1999 to develop and commercialize advanced drive train wind turbine technology that eliminates the need for gearboxes.
Earlier in 2009, ScanWind had described the development of its SW-100-4000 offshore turbine. Based on the existing design platform (SW-90-3500), the new turbine is targeted to provide an improved generator (4MW+) for increased production. First offshore prototypes were to be installed in 2011.
In a traditional turbine design, a rotor and a gearbox connect to a generator capable of handling high loads. Turbines with bigger outputs of electricity, like offshore turbines, have even bigger loads, making reliability of that gearbox even more of a challenge. Direct drive technology, such as that developed by ScanWind, takes the rotor and connects it directly to a generator that is designed to operate at low speeds creating a simple, solid, reliable drive train design.
The ScanWind turbine technology will join GE’s family of wind turbines that includes the GE 1.5-megawatt series, the most widely deployed wind turbine in the world with more than 12,000 now in operation. The GE wind portfolio also includes the 2.5 MW series wind turbine, proven in European applications and now also available in North America.
For the EU member states to reach their renewable energy targets by 2020, analysts predict major investments in European offshore wind projects. Industry experts predict a 20-fold global increase, from an installed base of 1.5 GW in 2008 to 30 GW by 2020.
ScanWind Group AS (June 2009)