Phase one of a two-year $3-million project for the US Department of Energy forms part of GE's wind research portfolio aimed at scaling up wind power cost-effectively. Key to this will be the use of superconducting magnets helping the new generator to be lighter in weight and deliver more power.
Keith Longton, GE Global Research's Wind Technology Leader, said superconducting technology could make the elimination of the gearbox more economical. "We're applying superconducting magnets to make lower-cost systems with higher image quality," he said.
In its drive towards bigger turbines and the economic scaling up of wind GE says it is also incorporating lighter composite material for longer blades, more advanced controls, sensors and condition monitoring, and developing grid integration technologies to integrate larger amounts of wind-generated electricity into the grid.