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A newcomer to the wind industry, Neptune Wind Systeme (NWS), has ventured onto the highly competitive German market with a 600 kW turbine and plans for a 1 MW. Based in Bremen, NWS has already installed a 600 kW prototype at Rostock-Warnemünde and is planning a start to series production of the machine by mid 1996. From early 1997 it also expects to be producing a 1 MW turbine. The company expects the use of a new design feature -- a permanently excited generator -- will give its products a competitive edge.

Three German companies joined forces to found NWS: Vulkan Engineering of Bremen, Neptune Technoproduct of Rostock and Heidelberg Motors of Starnberg, a long time member of the German wind scene. Vulkan and Neptune are both 100% subsidiaries of the Neptune Industry holding, also of Rostock, which is an 80% subsidiary of the Bremen based Vulkan group.

Heidelberg initially developed vertical axis machines. However, after problems with production and assembly, it was decided to switch to a horizontal access design. Heidelberg's specialist area is electronics and electronic controls. An initial working in the Heidelberg regime designed the 600 kW prototype, the HM600, but all further development will be undertaken by NWS, formally founded in February. Heidelberg will supply the generators and control systems, while assembly of the turbines will take place in Warnemuende. Project development and marketing will be based at Bremen.

Both the HM600 and HM1000 will be variable speed, pitch-controlled turbines without gearboxes but with permanently-excited generators. "To our knowledge, our prototype is the first in the world to operate with a permanently-excited generator," says Volker Diedrichs of Vulkan Engineering. The advantage is that no external supply of electricity is necessary for it to work. The 600 kW was installed in December but is still awaiting grid connection by the local Rostock utility, Hevag.

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