Gearless prototype has ten orders

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The prototype of a new gearless wind turbine is being tested in Germany at a site near Friesen in Saarland. The 600 kW Genesys turbine follows in the footsteps of the Enercon concept -- the first commercial wind turbine without a gearbox -- and has been developed by the wind energy group of the Saarbrücken technical college in collaboration with Genesys, a subsidiary of a financial investment company, Wonsei Beteiligungsgesellschaft based in Frankfurt/Main.

Of particular note is its original permanently-excited synchronous generator, says Jürgen Rinck, of the design team. The use of a magnetic material in the generator does away with excitor losses to improve the machine's efficiency, according to Genesys. Use of a permanently excited generator with low pole and yoke size allows a smaller nacelle diameter and lower weight, with corresponding advantages in assembly, transport and costs.

A Saarbrücken mechanical engineering company, Leffer, provided the major components for the machine and a second Wonsei subsidiary, Enertech, is now operating it. About another ten of the Genesys machines are to be installed this year at sites for which Enertech already has licences, says Rinck. But the machine will not be on the market until 1998, at the earliest.

Enertech was originally merely looking for a turbine to operate at inland sites, explains the company's Manfred Hecht. While evaluating the turbines on the market, the company came across the design while it was under development. Enertech tried to persuade existing turbine manufacturers and even the major power station builder Siemens to adopt the design, but without success.

Eventually, it turned to the Saarbrücken Technical College to carry out the project, and Saarland backed the project with DEM 1 million. Leffer was sought out to build the generator and other components because of its solidity as a reliable, middle-sized engineering company.

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