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Romax chosen for NREL 10MW drivetrain development

UNITED STATES: Romax Technology will head a consortium to develop a new turbine drivetrain after being selected for the project by the US Department of Energy (DOE).

The UK drivetrain and gearbox developer has been briefed to study advanced drivetrain technology with a view to scaling it up for 10MW turbines while keeping costs as low as possible.

A consortium has been formed by the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as part of a $3 million project that will include DNV, GE Wind and Vattenfall.

The gearbox design will consist of a "single, planetary stage that reduces part numbers by eliminating higher speed gear stages, and investigates the use of planet journal bearings for minimising planet stage size" Romax said.

High-speed gearboxes have been the cause of reliability concerns, especially for higher-powered turbines, Romax said, due to the large and unpredictable loads imparted on the gears and bearings.

NREL first initiated the project in 2011, when it started the investigative stage. The second phase of the project involves the development of a multi-megawatt drivetrain for testing.

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