Close up - new entries to the direct drive market

Windpower Monthly technical writer Eize de Vries looks over the growing number of small and medium sized entrants to the market for direct drive turbines.

Leitwind's 1.5MW LWT77 turbine being installed at Grouse Mountain wind farm, British Columbia.
Leitwind's 1.5MW LWT77 turbine being installed at Grouse Mountain wind farm, British Columbia.

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Dutch wind turbine supplier Emergya Wind Technologies (EWT) is an offspring of former wind pioneer Lagerwey. EWT inherited a 750 kW turbine model with a roughly 220-turbine track record, which it up scaled to 900 kW with enlarged 54-metre rotor marketed under the trade name DirectWind.

One of the latest product improvements is an annular generator, explained EWT CEO Eric Bakker. At EWEC, EWT presented a new DirectWind 90-2.0MW model that among others features a permanent magnet generator and a single rotor bearing. The company plans to erect a 2MW prototype in China this August, where it also manufactures its 900kW wind turbines.

Leitwind is part of the Italian Leitner Technologies group. The company has a strong technology background in the development and manufacture of direct drive ropeways and snow groomers. The company has taken advantage of the synergies between ropeway and wind turbine technologies.

Various models with an in-house designed direct drive permanent magnet generator have been developed since 2003 when a 1.2 MW prototype was built. Due to a single-rotor bearing solution the hub internals can be easily accessed through the hollow generator structure, which is flanged to the main housing.

A second optimised 1.5MW prototype (LWT 77) with an enlarged 77-metre rotor followed in 2006. Since then only a small series production of mainly LWT 77 units commenced. Up until 2009 only 39 turbines had been built.

Now, having presented itself to potential clients for the first time, the family-owned business has big plans for the future. Various turbine models under development include the 2.5MW LWT 106, 3MW LWT 93 (prototype planning mid 2011), 2MW LWT 70 (prototype 2010). Additionally, a 1.5MW LWT 80 was certified this April. The company has production facilities in both Italy and India and plans to manufacture 60 turbines in 2010. 



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