The World’s Largest Wind Turbine  

Posted by Big Gav in

MetaEfficient has a post on the world's biggest wind turbine - New Record: World’s Largest Wind Turbine (7+ Megawatts). The problem with the massive new wave of turbines is finding equipment big enough to transport and then erect them.

The world’s largest wind turbine is now the Enercon E-126. This turbine has a rotor diameter of 126 meters (413 feet). The E-126 is a more sophisticated version of the E-112, formerly the world’s largest wind turbine and rated at 6 megawatts. This new turbine is officially rated at 6 megawatts too, but will most likely produce 7+ megawatts (or 20 million kilowatt hours per year). That’s enough to power about 5,000 households of four in Europe. A quick US calculation would be 938 kwh per home per month, 12 months, that’s 11,256 kwh per year per house. That’s 1776 American homes on one wind turbine.

The turbine being installed in Emden, Germany by Enercon. They will be testing several types of storage systems in combination with the multi-megawatt wind turbines.

Earth2Tech reports that the urge to get bigger hasn't abated, with 10 MW turbines being the next target - For Wind, Is Bigger Better?.
Wind turbine makers are aiming ever higher to get more power from the giant machines, building turbines that pack more of an electricity generating punch, as well as towers and blades that are just, well, bigger. But how big can the turbines get?


American Superconductor is going for a whopping 10 megawatts, more than twice the power of some of the bigger turbines in operation today. General Electric, one of the largest manufactures of wind turbines in the world, currently makes turbines ranging from 1.5 MW to 3.6 MW.

American Superconductor said this week that it will work with the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory and its National Wind Technology Center to look at the economics of building a 10-MW turbine. The Devens, Mass.-based company said it can get a bigger power punch but still keep the size and weight under control by using its high temperature superconductor wire, which it claims is lighter and more efficient than the copper wire traditionally used in wind turbines.

Apparently even the economic downturn can’t stop these new turbines from spinning. Carpinteria, Calif.-based Clipper Windpower, which recently announced production cuts and layoffs, insisted to the Guardian that its work with the UK’s Crown Estate on a 7.5-MW offshore turbine, dubbed the Britannia project, is going full steam ahead. Clipper announced plans for the more powerful turbine last April, calling it the world’s largest offshore turbine.

But what about the growing physical size of these giants? The National Wind Technology Center is looking at that as well, saying earlier this month that it plans to install two big turbines at its lab just south of Boulder, Colo. The turbines, from GE and Siemens, don’t necessarily represent the largest turbines available, but they’ll be the largest ever installed at the wind center, giving scientists a chance to poke and prod the machines to see what kind of stresses the turbines can take. They plan to work on ways to get more power out of existing turbines, and on how to improve the durability of the turbine’s components.

The GE turbine, a 1.5-MW model of which is currently available, will have a 262-foot steel tower, with the diameter of the rotor reaching 250 feet. The whole thing weighs about 220 tons. The Siemens turbine, a late-stage prototype, will generate 2.3 MW, with a tower about the same height as GE’s, but a much bigger rotor, one that covers 331 feet.

Maybe we’ll have a better idea of how big these giants can be, or should be, when the wind center finishes its tests in late 2011.


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