Make wind turbines profitable by their alternators

In order to make the windmill market a profitable one, a Gaspe company decided to push the research not on the side of the gigantic blades, but rather on the side of a spare part, the alternator. The operation of a wind turbine is relatively simple. The wind turns the three blades, which constitute the rotor. This one turns the alternator, which turns the energy into electricity.

This Gaspe company, Eocycle Technologies, specializes 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 gearboxes. This, because it has many moving parts that turn in the oil and must then undergo regular maintenance, is often the source of problems that require the shutdown of 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 have to run at a much higher speed to produce electricity, the use of a gearbox to match the speed of the blades to that of the alternator is required. Eocycle uses rather powerful magnets which make it possible to obtain, in reduced dimensions, an alternator which can provide, one assures, as much power at low speed. If this type of detour could reduce the bill, the cost of wind energy 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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