Reducing the cost of energy: the new-generation power converters

As the turbine market grows, so do demands for quality and performance, particularly from critical components such as power converters on whose performance the whole turbine depends. That's where extended validation and certification comes in…

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Increased reliability and durability of these components makes turbines more economically viable. High quality design and extended validation methods are key to improving both reliability and durability, particularly in windfarms facing the toughest operating conditions. 

Ingeteam’s new-generation power converters have undergone the toughest and most realistic tests, to prove in advance that the converter integrates properly with the turbine and operates correctly in every situation and condition.

The industry needs continuous improvement and regulatory innovations takes this into account. Ingeteam is both on the committees that issue requirements and also makes sure it adds the latest regulatory developments at the design phase of new converters. This also applies to the company’s manufacturing plants, meaning the certification of the converter helps certify the whole turbine.

The new generation of power converters
To this day, DFIG converters remain the most proven, efficient and cost competitive drive train topology for onshore applications. Ingeteam's DFIG converter series has cost-optimised products for each market and application. The grid-friendly converters include FRT, SCR and SSR features, so they can deploy anywhere in the world and are particularly well suited to emerging markets such as India or Brazil.

The modular nature of DFIG converters means they can customise and effectively minimise wind turbine LCoE. Ingeteam’s vast knowledge and experience has generated design processes that combine development and validation, to ensure the supply of optimised DFIG power converters in the market for high power applications in the range of 6-to-8 MW.

Because of the application’s particularities, grid integration is one of the most sensitive elements to keep competitive and reliable while increasing the turbines’ rated power. DFIG generators and the core components of the converter are key factors that ensure a robust and reliable solution regarding the various grid events such as harmonic fulfilment, FRT, weak grids or SSR.

Managing such events in virtually all locations is a central added-value for Ingeteam, with a high-quality model correlation that analyses any event or location that could arise.

The power of validations
As a critical wind turbine component, Ingeteam’s new-generation power converters must meet the highest quality requirements for wind turbine performance is dependent upon them. Ingeteam’s new power converters have passed all required tests, verifying strong performance and the highest level of safety. 

Within this validation process, a large number of tests focused on the assessment of energy and temperature hazards. For example, functional tests assess the behaviour of the converter in the event of failure of a cooling system or insulation components, simulating these failures or in temperature rise tests. Also, mechanical tests such as IP degree, corrosion, impact, or vibration also form part of the validation.

Based on its experience in the turbine market, Ingeteam believes an extended validation of power converters appropriate to optimise the design and minimise any potential issues that may arise during the integration of the component within the wind turbine.

The objective of this extended process is… 
• To identify design improvements or detect any design failures of the converter at the earliest stage of development, minimising subsequent design and manufacturing costs due to late modifications.
• To test the converter under the most realistic conditions to validate the design under all possible scenarios and to verify it complies with requirements. The more accurate the test, the greater the reliability of the results. 

To achieve this, the Ingeteam carries out four types of test to provide accurate data about the behaviour of its converters when installed onsite:
• Combination tests in full-scale test benches
• Extreme climatic condition tests
• Extreme mechanical condition tests
• Electromagnetic compatibility tests

The power of certification
Another cornerstone of Ingeteam’s design process is certification. Achieving the combined requirements of maximum durability and reliability with cost-optimisation, is essential, but Ingeteam understands that different international standards present a barrier for turbine installation. So, Ingeteam considers the strictest international standards for all its designs.

Ingeteam participates in the committees that issue these requirements and thus it stays up to date with the latest regulatory innovations and implements them from the design phase of the converter.

Being proactive in regulatory demands leads to the improvement of new converter designs and avoids late and costly modifications. Any new design within the company integrates the strictest standards for all the applicable marks and labels including CE, UL or DNV-GL.

This approach is not only applied to product design, but also the manufacture of the products in its plants. For that purpose, the plants are certified for the manufacture of any component and marked with the main wind mark labels. These certifications confirm international compliance and avoid project delays as well as helping the certification process of the wind turbine.

Ingeteam has already certified its plants for power converter within DNV-GL and UL scopes, and in addition has been trained for APQP4Wind.

The benefits in an instant
Extended validation of Ingeteam’s new generation of power converters confirms their operational performance under the most severe conditions. The use of full-scale test benches for integration assessment and climatic behaviour evaluation are key to optimising the design and detecting potential improvements at an early stage and so guarantees the converter will operate properly in the field.

The incorporation of the latest and most stringent regulatory requirements at the design phase and also in the certification of the manufacturing for plant, allows Ingeteam to help the wind turbine certification process, wherever the geographical location, reducing the project time-to-market and saving costs throughout the development and validation design processes.

Thanks to extended validation and certification, Ingeteam’s new products deliver the best onsite value for money.

Learn more about Ingeteam’s extended validation and certification processes >>>

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