The Switch, a leading manufacturer of permanent magnet generators and full-power converters, announced today that its 8.6 MW permanent magnet generator (PMG) for offshore use successfully passed initial no-load testing. The massive drive train component is scheduled to undergo complete full-load tests in the upcoming weeks.
The Switch’s medium-speed, rear-mounted PMG design brings together the best of both low- and high-speed technology, offering extremely high availability and reliability, and resulting in increased annual energy production, particularly at partial loads. Medium-speed is a winning combination for offshore by lowering the generator weight without compromising on reliability.
Outstanding drive train and system availability has enabled The Switch PMG to gain a superior position in the market. Careful material selection and accurate calculation of the generator design make the drive trains stronger when it comes to reliability and durability. The Switch full-power liquid-cooled converters are modular, compact, efficient and redundant, offering extremely high availability. This extends the system’s lifetime in the rugged coastal conditions and significantly lowers maintenance requirements.
Jukka-Pekka Mäkinen, The Switch CEO, commented: “This latest PM generator is bigger, better and stronger than anything built by The Switch so far with a power rating of 8.6 MW. It crowns off our successful offshore wind achievements to date. The Switch was born offshore, starting with an offshore turbine project for the Hundhammerfjellet wind farm in Norway back in 2003. The learnings from eight years of field experience have been brought into our new designs. And last year, we went on to install our first 5 MW high-speed drive trains in Chinese tidelands for CSIC (Chongqing) Haizhuang Windpower Equipment Co., Ltd (HZ Windpower), a Chinese wind power equipment manufacturer. This successful project has been followed by two further projects from turbine manufacturers for their new turbines in the 5 – 6 MW power class.”
The Switch PMGs and FPCs have been appropriately adopted to operate reliably in the harsh offshore environment for which they were specifically developed. Compared with a traditional double-fed induction generator (DFIG) drive train, The Switch PMG technology offers a higher annual energy production (AEP) rate and lower operations and maintenance costs. This makes it a more ideal solution for offshore use, where maintenance costs can be excessively high.
“The Switch’s PMG technology represents an obvious choice for reliable super-power offshore turbines, as they offer higher energy output, even at partial loads,” says Jukka-Pekka Mäkinen.
The company’s simple PMG design eliminates fail-prone components. Optimized magnet material use lowers investment costs. Plus, the special segmented structure both in the mechanical and electrical parts allow easy and more cost-efficient maintenance.
Medium-speed drive trains reduce the weight, and help lower the costs. They also require only 10% of the magnets needed for a direct-drive generator of the same power rating. Additionally, efficiencies that exceed 97% approach values that are normally typical only for high-speed generators. All of this adds up to a higher annual energy production and better wind turbine profitability – offshore as well as onshore.
“As the world moves forward to achieve its carbon-free goals, The Switch offers one roadmap for reliable success in tapping into the vast resources of the sea as a viable alternative for energy,” concluded Mäkinen.
About The Switch
The Switch is a pioneer in advanced drive train technology based on megawatt-class permanent magnet generators and full-power converter packages. The main focus areas are wind, solar, marine and special industrial solutions. The company’s innovative drive trains make an impact on profitable power generation, with the ultimate goal of lowering the cost of energy. Currently, The Switch has 6.5 GW of installed wind power capacity. Starting in 2006, The Switch reported net sales of EUR 43.2 million in 2012. The company employs a total of 210 persons. The Switch is headquartered in Vantaa, Finland. For more information, visit www.theswitch.com.
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