Make wind turbines profitable by their alternators

In order to make the wind turbines market one day profitable, a company in Gaspe decided to push research not on the side of gigantic blades, but rather on the side of a little-known part, the alternator. The operation of a wind turbine is relatively simple. The wind turns the three blades, which make up the rotor. This turns the alternator, which transforms the energy into electricity.

This Gaspe-based company, Eocycle Technologies, has been specializing in the manufacture of alternators for small wind turbines, with a power of 5 kW, for three years. In fact, the originality of the alternator lies in the absence of a gearbox. This, because it has many moving parts which turn in the oil and must therefore undergo regular maintenance, is often the source of problems which necessitate stopping the wind turbine. The blades of a wind turbine rotate at speeds ranging from 20 to 250 rotations per minute (RPM), depending on the power. Since conventional alternators must run at a much higher speed to generate electricity, the use of a gearbox to match the blade speed to that of the alternator is required. Rather, Eocycle uses powerful magnets which make it possible to obtain, in reduced dimensions, an alternator which can provide, it is said, as much power at low speed. If this type of detour made it possible to reduce the bill, the cost price of wind power would become more and more competitive.

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sources: http://www.sciencepresse.qc.ca/archives/quebec/capque1004c.html

Editor: Elodie Pinot OTTAWA, sciefran@ambafrance-ca.org

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