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July 18, 2007



As a mechanical engineer, I find this encouraging: I used to think that more and more systems go electric, and here's some movement in the opposite direction. But why?

One reason would be the US patent - a need to do things differently. But that would mean that this turbine is less possibly efficient than GE competition.

Inverter prices are $0.709 per continuous watt [1], so I guess the mechanical system has the potential of being cheaper. As the article states, it also has the potential for reducing system weight. One more benefit is proven reliability - which sounds strange, when usually you see reliability improve as the number of moving parts drops, but I won't argue with the numbers.

[1] http://www.solarbuzz.com/Inverterprices.htm


Does anyone know how this system from Voith differs from Windflow Technology's Torque Limiting Gearbox? It sounds very similar in its goals (deal with wind variablility early in the power chain, allowing a smaller (and/or more reliable) gearbox and smaller (and synchronous) generator) and in the choice of technology (hydraulics plus fancy gears). Despite the links above I can't find/understand enough about it to tell.


Volume is the thing
My last inverter cost me
Thirty cents a watt.

(It's a Black and Decker 100 watt cigarette-lighter unit.  It came in the usual cardboard box and was probably built in runs of 100,000 or so.  Computer power supplies are built in even larger volume and are also cheaper, despite having more or less the same hardware requirements as an inverter.  When solar inverters are built in similar volume, the price will come way down.)


Inverters have seen a lot of performance and durability improvements the last few decades, but prices remained fairly high.

Volume production is indeed paramount, and is likely to happen with the increasing demand of PV systems. That will lower the overall system price, which in turn will increase demand some more. A nice little positive feedback effect, which also works for most other pv system components.

Not sure if that cigarette lighter unit will last 20 years though...


Maybe the same idea could be applied to solar energy: use the electricity to power a DC motor, then use a mechanical transmission like the one described here. Do I have a subject for my thesis? :-)


"These agreements are for the delivery of a total of 1313 turbines through 2012 and represent anticipated revenue of $2.845 billion over the same period. Deliveries are scheduled to commence, 12 months of the date of acquisition, with approximately 100 committed for delivery in 2007 and a further 50 reserved."

Wow! If they pull that off, their stock will be worth a heck of alot more than two bucks a share. Yes, I own a bunch. :)

Cleantech News

Excellent! More and more efficient turbines...it might even be a good source of renewable energy!


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George Fleming

Even if inverters become cheap and reliable enough to compete with the Dewind concept, they greatly increase the number of electronic components in a wind turbine that can be destroyed by a lightning strike. Inverter efficiency may be acceptable at maximum power, but not over the power range that the inverter must operate in a wind turbine. The power quality of inverters will never equal that of synchronous generators. Wind farms must now be able to provide voltage ride-through and reactive power. That is easy with the Dewind concept, but it will make inverters more complicated and expensive and less reliable. I believe the Dewind concept will make inverters obsolete in utility-scale wind power.

Electronics Philippines

Well, I definitely agree with you there, "This proven technology has achieved MTBFs in excess of 30 years in the gas compressor industry." Well said. Wish there is also like that in our country. Anyway, I enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for sharing!


generic propecia

I need two lists of the ten best model train related websites, one for
each of two categories. First is the ten best reference sites, with
freely available information about building model railways,
maintaining them, how to choose the right components, sample layouts,

The second is the ten best websites for buying model train equipment.
These should be based not only on good prices but on good selection
and a good customer service record.

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