‘Evolutionary’ Wind Turbine to be Manufactured in New Zealand

A wind turbine company in New Zealand, Windflow Technology, has raised more than the minimum A$2 million in a public share offering that it needs to establish a manufacturing facility in that country.

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, NZ, 2001-08-28 [SolarAccess.com] A wind turbine company in New Zealand, Windflow Technology, has raised more than the minimum A$2 million in a public share offering that it needs to establish a manufacturing facility in that country. Company officials claim its 500 kW, 33 meter, two bladed, horizontal-axis design is the first wind turbine to combine two new technologies, the patented torque limiting gearbox system of power control and the pitch regulated two-bladed teetering rotor. They say the combination of the TLG system and the two bladed rotor design result in major reductions in fatigue loads, and the Windflow 500 design results in weight and cost reductions of between 20 and 50 percent, compared with currently available commercial windmills of similar power rating. The TLG system was designed and patented by Wind Torque director Geoff Henderson, who explains that it solves a fundamental problem of peak power control which has affected the cost-effectiveness of wind power until now. The TLG is a hydraulic variable speed system, which allows rotor speed to vary independently of the fixed generator speed and, as a result, provide smooth power output. Conventional fixed speed turbines must be significantly over-designed to cope with torque fluctuations, which results in increased fatigue loads and necessitates the gearbox being far heavier and more expensive than the TLG. Windflow says a prototype of the TLG has been operating successfully in Britain since June 1990. As reported to the U.K. Department of Energy, it has shown that “the torque limitation above rated is excellent.” The company claims its full span variable pitch teetering rotor design, results in a rotor which is 50 percent lighter and inherently less expensive than competing fixed hub, three-bladed turbines which experience large overturning moments caused by asymmetrical rotor loading. These overturning moments are a major source of fatigue loads on the entire windmill structure. The advantage of the two-blade turbine is that the rotor is mounted on a hinge, allowing it to teeter back and forth as it rotates. Teetering greatly reduces the fatigue loads on the windmill allowing a lighter and more cost-competitive design. “We are delighted to have reached this major milestone,” says Windflow chairman Neil Cherry. “Public support for our proposal has been overwhelming as people pay more for electricity, recognize how vulnerable our hydro resource is with two serious shortages in less than a decade, express concern at the climate change impacts of gas-powered generation, and see the opportunity for a socially responsible and very timely investment.” “We look forward to being able to make real progress now,” adds executive director Geoff Henderson. “Work can now commence on making this vision a reality. Wind power is going to be a major player in New Zealand’s energy future. Neil, I and others have been saying this for a long time, but building a world-beating wind turbine right here in New Zealand is the best way of making the point.”
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