The Heidelberg Motors-RWE Energie co-operation on a new 1.2 MW turbine has come to a halt. Heidelberg Motors is searching for a new partner which is believed to be Bremer Vulkan. Heidelberg may also exchange its vertical axis design for a more conventional model.

Heidelberg Motors of Germany is caught in a phase of considerable uncertainty. Its co-operation with giant utility RWE Energie on development of a 1.2 MW wind turbine has come to a sudden halt.

Although the design phase is complete, and Germanischer Lloyd is busy with the task of type certification, the utility has decided it does not want to buy the hardware after all. Heidelberg has immediately begun the search for other interested companies. "We are now involved in talks with a partner whose special interest lies in offshore developments," reports Felix Heidelberg. It is believed this company is Bremer Vulkan, based in Bremen, a shipbuilding and engineering company.

The company realises that its marketing arguments for the H-turbine -- low maintenance and long lifetime -- have not so far been greatly successful. Customers apparently prefer to think in time spans of just eight to ten years, too short a period for the vertical axis design to demonstrate its advantages. So the company is having thoughts about developing a conventional, three bladed horizontal axis wind turbine in the 1 MW plus size range, but without gears.

In the meantime, Heidelberg has recently inaugurated the first wind park using H-rotor 300 kW machines in Germany. The site lies close to the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Koog test field. An additional site is available for an expansion of the wind station. Heidelberg has also developed a 20 kW H-rotor machine. So far three of these have been installed in sites with extreme climatic conditions.