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Danotek joins NREL drivetrain study

UNITED STATES: US energy converter system firm Danotek has been selected by the US Department of Energy to research drivetrain technology for next generation wind turbines.

The study will be led by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and aims to study drive train technologies that can be scaled up to 6MW+ turbines.

Phase 1 of this study was launched last year and researched innovations to the gearbox, permanent magnet generator and power electronics that will enhance drivetrain capacity and reliability. The next stage is to incorporate this into a 1.5MW turbine.

Speaking about the study, Danotek CTO Daniel Saban said: "The results of the Phase II work will undoubtedly influence the design of tomorrow’s wind turbine drivetrains, including the choice of generator technology. Compared to direct-drive systems, medium-speed drivetrains with PM generators can deliver better performance at a much reduced cost, and avoid challenges posed by handling and transporting very large diameter machines."

Other manufacturers working on the study include Romax. This includes a 5MW medium-speed gearbox driving a PMG, and development of an optimum gearbox and generator combination to cut capital input, replacement, overhaul and operation and maintenance costs.

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