Downwind and light -- Subaru's 2 MW turbine

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Fuji Heavy Industry has erected a prototype of its new Subaru 2 MW turbine at a site in Kamizu, Ibaraki Prefecture, northeast of Tokyo. Unusually, the three blade machine will operate as a downwind turbine with its back to the wind. The aim is to develop a turbine that can maximise output in Japan's typical mountainous and hilly terrain.

Tests were due to start last month with an eye to making the turbine commercially available later this year. The Subaru 2 MW has a rotor diameter of 80 metres and a hub height of 60 metres.

The use of lightweight components has reduced tower head weight to make the system safer during the typhoons and strong winds which are a common feature of weather conditions in Japan. The west coast of Japan, which faces the Asian continental mainland, is subject to severe snowfall and extremely strong winds during the winter months as cold weather fronts swoop down from Siberia.

Fuji says the turbine can be dismantled into various component parts. As well as reducing transport costs, this allows for it to be transported to locations where it has previously been difficult to take large turbines. This is a serious consideration in Japan where the terrain does not allow for easy access to the remote, mountainous areas in many parts of the country.

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