Close up - Nordex's third generation 2.5MW turbine series

Windpower Monthly technical writer Eize de Vries looks at the development behind the 'Gamma series' turbine launched by Nordex at EWEC.

The Yaw system used on Nordex's Gamma turbine

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.