When French power generation equipment multinational Alstom, entered the wind industry in June 2007 by acquiring Ecotécnia of Spain, the company pioneer was already working on the 3MW ECO100 (IEC WC II A) with a 100.8-metre rotor diameter.
Now Alstom has announced a new 3MW ECO 110 wind turbine. This sister model of the ECO100 is fitted with longer 53-metre long blades specifically designed to optimise energy production at low to medium wind speed IECIII A sites.
Pure rotor torque
A first ECO 100 prototype was installed in 2008 and produced in series since 2009. Both 3MW models feature an elegant but, according to experts, also rather costly to build gearbox-type drive system that is also applied in the smaller 1.67MW ECO 80 second product series.
The drive concept as a key advantage insulates the gearbox from the supporting structure ensuring that only ‘pure' rotor torque is transmitted through a separate shaft into the gearbox. All rotor induced deflection loads by contrast are transmitted directly into the tower.
Dubbed ‘Alstom Pure Torque' rotor support concept, the system is claimed to protect the gearbox and other drive train components from deflection loads. This in turn delivers higher gearbox reliability, higher operational availability, and lower maintenance costs. Alstom is confident that the majority of its wind turbines could operate with their original gearbox for a 20-year lifetime.
The ECO100 and ECO110 have been designed with a modular nacelle layout comprising a central section and two removable lateral sides allowing the use of industry standard transportation and erection equipment. The spacious nacelle design is also said to ease O&M activities.
The first commercial ECO100 wind farm comprising six turbines was launched in October 2009 at Le Vieux Moulin, France. A further 63MW is under construction in three French wind farms. The ECO100 prototype, installed at a very windy and turbulent site in El Perelló, Spain's Tarragona region, has now accumulated over two years of operational experience.
The ECO 110 prototype was erected during last year autumn at the Loma Viso II wind farm in Albacete, Spain. This turbine model received a design assessment statement of compliance from the German certification body DEWI-OCC Offshore and Certification Centre GmbH in March 2010.
The Alstom Group employs 76,500 persons in 70 countries and had a sales volume of €19,7 billion in fiscal year 2009/10. It among others offers integrated power plant solutions and services for a wide range of energy sources, including hydro, nuclear, gas, coal and wind.
Alstom's wind business finally has a presence in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal, UK, Japan, and India, with additional local teams established in China, Brazil and the United States. The original Spanish industrial manufacturing base is now being expanded with the opening of two new facilities, one in Brazil (State of Bahia) and another in Amarillo, Texas (US). Both facilities will be fully-operational by 2011.
"With the commercial introduction of the ECO100 and now the ECO110, Alstom confirms its determination to lead the field in large onshore wind turbines with advanced design, robust technology and proven reliability.
"Our ongoing investment in this new generation of turbines provides our customers with powerful, efficient and flexible options that open up new opportunities for wind farm development across Europe and the world," said Alfonso Faubel, Alstom Wind Vice President concluding on the new turbine introduction and the ambitious future expansion plans.
Alstom's global installed base is over 1850 wind turbines (2200 MW) spread over 100 wind farms, and the wind business employs over 1000 staff.