Wind Turbine Integrated Gearbox
The One Megawatt Wind Turbine is a unique approach to converting wind to electrical power. The system uses both a down-wind main rotor and a counter rotating, higher speed, up-wind auxiliary rotor driving a very unique 1200 hp gearbox.
The gearbox employs a primary planetary gear set to increase the main shaft speed, then a spiral bevel right angle drive locking the two input shafts together, splitting the output into opposite angular directions and directing the horizontal axis input shaft motion to a vertical axis, then a final planetary speed increaser with the ring gear driven in one direction and the planet carrier driven in the opposite direction.
The total resulting speed increase is 1:51. This unique design allows the generator to be mounted in the tower below the yaw bearing and the turbine to operate in a free-yaw state. The system weighs 60,000 pounds (without rotors, blades, or nacelle) and is mounted on a 200 foot tower.
SCOPE OF WORK
Our challenge was to design a full-scale functional prototype wind turbine for field testing based on a 30 kilowatt proof of concept device built by the research team.
The engineering requirements included developing a complete, unique gear train and the supporting systems for field testing including planetary and spiral bevel gears, bearings, shafts, input flanges, lubrication, cooling, braking, gear box structural housing, nacelle mounting and platform structures and control system interface.
The project also required interfacing with gear manufacturers in Finland and the United States, blade manufacturers in Japan, and rotor hub and nacelle manufacturers in Germany. Finally, the project required working with national regulatory bodies to achieve certification for the device to be used in the US.
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