Friday, April 2, 2010

General Electric's New Wind Turbine: "How It Works: The Next-Gen Wind Turbine" (GE)

From Popular Science:
To take advantage of the strong winds that blow over the ocean, this gearless turbine uses a giant ring of magnets and 176-foot blades

Next-Gen Wind Turbine GE OFFSHORE TURBINE Rotor Diameter:360 ft. Tower Height: 300 ft. Maximum Power: 4 Megawatts | See It Bigger Here Nick Kaloterakis

There’s enough wind energy along our coastlines to power the country four times over, and the race is on to build the best offshore turbines to capture it. Manufacturers worldwide are experimenting with two techniques: ever-longer blades to harness more gusts, and simplified drivetrains (including new generators) that slash the need for costly repairs at sea. GE’s upcoming machine, slated to go online in 2012, will combine both into one package....MORE

A Twist on Blades: The longer a turbine’s blades, the more wind it captures and the more electricity it creates. “If we could, we would just build infinitely longer blades,” Mercer says. “The problem is, blades get heavy and flexible.” That flexibility, coupled with the force from very high winds, can bend blades so much that they burden the machine or even smack the tower. So GE designed a blade that twists as it bends. It’s curved backward about eight feet, instead of extending straight out. When a gust pushes the tip up, the blade twists slightly around its curve—instantly angling itself so that it bears less of the gust’s brunt yet still captures a large part of its energy. Nick Kaloterakis
HT: Big Gav at Peak Energy
HT: Inhabitat