Nordex became the world's first 2.5MW wind turbine supplier when it launched its first-generation N80/2500 (rotor diameter 80m) prototype in 2000. The product range was gradually expanded with the 2.3MW N90/2300, N90/2500 and most recently the N100/2500. The Gamma series launched at EWEC 2010 represents a third generation 2.5MW turbine series.
Apart from a new nacelle shape the key development strategy has focused on combining proven technology with multiple optimised detail solutions, said Nordex spokesman Felix Losada. Examples of this include a new design cooling system located in the nacelle rear, and improved operations and maintenance ergonomics.
Furthermore, there is a loads-balancing Torque-Limited Yaw control system, a new modular drive system layout with maximum 50-tonne component mass. The Gamma series is also presented as fully SDL Bonus compliant.
Available tower hub heights vary between 60-140 metres. This is a hybrid solution comprising an 80-metre bottom concrete section and a steel upper section. Losada describes the concrete structural part as a ‘weather independent' batch-type solution composed of multiple 3-metre-long sections.
After building completion, an eight-week process including foundation construction, the concrete structure is post-stressed with the aid of internal steel cables. Nordex has already gained experience by building two 120-metre towers following this design principle with N90/2500 turbines.
Losada further explains that Nordex will introduce moving line turbine assembly and rotor blade spraying robots in its new Rostock facilities, in Germany.
He adds: "Regarding new products, our engineers last year commenced with the development of a 5MW+ size offshore wind turbine, perhaps a direct drive system. The planning is to have a prototype operational by 2014. Simultaneously we are working at a 4MW+ onshore turbine with prototype erection planned for 2012".
Losada said he was unable to reveal any more details at this early product development stage on the +4MW design.