New wind turbine manufacturer -- Pfleiderer diversifies further

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German engineering and construction company Pfleiderer -- known in the wind business since 1985 as a supplier of concrete towers -- is now launching itself into the mainstream of the business as a manufacturer of wind turbines, with a 600 kW unit and a 1.5 MW machine. Both turbines will be produced at a recently opened factory at Coswig in Saxony, eastern Germany. Pfleiderer expects to build about 20 machines this year, of which 15 will be the smaller model. Next year the factory could easily handle production of 100 turbines, says managing director Rudolf Heydecker.

The wind turbines are based on variable speed technology Pfleiderer bought last year from small Austrian company Windtec Anlagenerrichtung und Consulting of Völkermarkt, founded by Gerald Hehenberger (Windpower Monthly, December 2000). A 1.5 MW Windtec has been running at Germany's Grevenbroich wind test station for the past two years "The designs were improved and optimised and the first two machines will go in the ground for testing before the end of the year," says Heydecker. A 1.5 MW machine will be installed at a site near Vienna, replacing an earlier Windtec 1.5 MW model which operated for 10,000 hours before being destroyed by fire. A 600 kW machine will be installed near Pfleiderer's main base at Neumarkt in southern Germany.

Sales will be focused on Italy, Greece and Asia and the company is aiming to set up assembly facilities abroad where needed. Pfleiderer Wind Energy, founded in December as part of the Pfleiderer Group's infrastructure technology division, expects to reach a turnover of EUR 160 million by 2004. Originally a component supplier to the construction and furniture industries, Pfleiderer's interest in renewable energy also includes biomass development, a spin-off from it wood chip waste production. The Pfleiderer Group, a family owned company, has 36 production facilities in eight countries employing 9200 people. Its turnover for the second half of last year was EUR 830.3 million.

Offshore 5 MW unit

Pfleiderer is also proceeding with development of a 5 MW turbine for use offshore. A year ago it acquired all patents, licences and brand name rights for the "Multibrid-Technology" developed by Aerodyn Engineering of Rendsburg exclusively for use offshore. The schedule for installation of a prototype 5 MW machine has been delayed a year to the start of 2003, but the company intends to keep to its original plan of putting it in series production in 2004.

Contracts for the pilot machine have been granted to Aerodyn for the overall engineering and to Schorch Elektrische Maschinen und Anlagen of Mönchengladbach, a subsidiary of Elexis of Frankfurt, for development and production of the generators. Schorch also has an option for series production of the generators.

"We have several options for onshore coastal sites for the prototype but obviously we want to test a machine offshore at water depths of at least 20 metres," says Heydecker. "If we can't get a suitable site in the North or Baltic Seas then we will go to Asia."

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