It’s not just wind power projects being unveiled by GE Wind at Global WindPower 2004, the wind industry’s premier trade conference. The wind power giant announced the establishment of the new GE Global Research-Europe Center in Munich, Germany. Developing technology to further increase the reliability and performance of wind turbines will be one of the central missions of the new facility expected to open this summer.Chicago, Illinois – March 31, 2004 [SolarAccess.com] The new facility is part of GE Global Research, which supports all GE businesses by providing advanced research for the development of new, improved technologies. Alternative energy systems, including wind energy, will be one of the Munich center’s four main research areas. Sensor technology, advanced medical imaging and automotive technology are also key areas to receive research support. “When the center opens its doors later this year, a good number of research projects focused on wind energy will be set in motion,” said Jim Lyons, chief research engineer. “In one of the projects, we will be studying gearboxes and drive trains which are among the key components of a wind turbine. Our aim is to develop more advanced, higher reliability technologies which operate seamlessly over their 20-year life – even under the harshest conditions.” Another project will focus on new methods for protecting wind turbines from lightning strikes and mitigating or limiting damage if a strike does occur. Numerous other projects have been identified for study and implementation. “The support of this new world-class, European-based research and development facility will enhance our ability to quickly respond to our customers’ needs,” said Lyons. “The Munich center will keep GE on the leading edge of technology development, driving further improvements in wind turbine reliability and overall performance which will translate into long-term benefits for our customers.” The Munich facility is GE’s first research and development center in Europe and the fourth worldwide, joining GE sites in Niskayuna, New York, Bangalore, India and Shanghai, China. Located on the Garching campus of the Technical University of Munich, the new center will employ 150 scientists and researchers by 2005.