Small company growing bigger

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German wind turbine manufacturer Joachim Fuhrländer is expanding its assembly facilities. A larger workshop should be complete by February to allow the assembly of eight 1 MW turbines at a time. Equipment large enough for assembly of 1.5 MW units is also in place.

Fuhrländer says the expansion was prompted by increasing demand for its new 1 MW machine. This month ten 1 MW units are being installed at a site near Berlin, followed by another five near Halle. Both projects will be operated by public limited companies. A pair of 1 MW machines, for owners of existing but smaller Fuhrländer turbines, was also installed in December at Hochborn in Rheinland Pfalz, and at Bad Endbach in Hesse. The next 5 MW -- to be installed at Hohenlohe near Schwäbisch Hall -- will be entirely owned by local citizens. The project is headed by local wind enthusiast, Friedrich Hertweck.

Fuhrländer's owner, Joachim Fuhrländer, claims the DEM 1500/kW cost of the 1 MW turbine, including transformer and installation, is "very competitive." The design started life as an 800 kW prototype in early 1997. By August that year the generator had been upgraded to 1000 kW and testing was underway with a variety of blades from Denmark's LM Glasfiber as well as with an Aerpac 49.5 metre rotor. By July 1998 the company decided to proceed with the LM 54 metre rotor and two prototype 1 MW units were installed that month.

The company is also venturing into the export market. In August two turbines -- rated at 100 kW and 250 kW -- went into operation in Japan for the state electricity utility on the large island of Okinawa.

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