PMGL

GEARBOXES GIVE WAY TO DIRECT DRIVE TURBINES


Many turbine manufacturers are moving towards direct drive turbines and leaving the traditional

gearbox turbines behind. Direct drive turbines achieve more reliability, efficiency and reduce the

overall cost of producing electricity. In a direct drive method, power is taken directly from the

mechanical source without any efficiency reductions earlier caused by a gearbox.

Direct drive mechanisms have always been around. They have had mechanical advantages

over traditional methods but since they came with a high price tag and were huge in size,

they never really posed as a threat for the gear box turbine manufacturing process. But many

bigger corporations like Siemens and PM Generators Ltd. have come up with new designs and

technology where turbines are directly connected to permanent magnet generators. The overall

arrangement has resulted in a lighter and affordable model.


The Direct Drive has its reasons to become popular:

 More efficient – No power wastage from belts, chains, gearbox etc

 Drive Stiffness – Avoiding gearbox results in removal of mechanical backlash, hysteresis

and elasticity

• High torque is obtained even at low speed

• Noise reduction – Fewer components and friction reduce overall noise

• Increased lifetime – Less parts result in less failures and increased performance


In a traditional gearbox mechanism, the blades rotate and the shaft connected to it provides the

turning speed to the generator through a gearbox. A rotation speed of about 1500 rpm generates

required electricity. A typical wind turbine will rotate at less than 300 rpm. To increase the

rotations to 1500 rpm, energy is loss in the process. The inner components of the gearbox are

prone to tremendous stress. Eliminating this part simplifies the operation to a larger extent and

makes it easier to maintain for a long period of time. This is especially important for offshore

wind farms because doing maintenance at sea is a lot more complex and expensive than on the

ground.

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Chandan A. Singh (MS GWU and MBA from Robinson School of Business), Business Development, offers immense experience in the Renewable Energy and Environmental field having worked with Washington, D.C. based World Resources Institute. His experience in India has included piloting a financial product for the Indian ESCO industry with two of the country’s largest private financial institutions. In addition to his career and educational background, Chandan’s passion for preserving the environment is well demonstrated by the fact that he was one of the few candidates selected by Vice President Al Gore for training and disseminating the message on Global Warming.

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