The EU-funded EcoSwing project aims at demonstrating world's first superconducting low-cost and lightweight wind turbine drivetrain—demonstrated on a large-scale wind turbine.
During the 4 year project the EcoSwing ambitions are high, the consortium aims at nothing less than the following objectives:
- Design, develop and manufacture a full scale multi-megawatt direct-drive superconducting (HTS) wind generator including a dedicated power converter suitable for current mass mainstream markets.
- Install this superconducting drive train on an existing modern wind turbine in Denmark.
- Operate the superconducting drive train for at least one year, giving the community confidence in superconducting wind generators.
- Prove that the new HTS drive train is cost competitive to state-of-the-art direct-drive permanent magnet generators of world class suppliers.
- Prove that the new HTS drive train can be cost competitive to state-of-the-art geared drive trains in series production.
- Develop and manufacture a cost-efficient cryogenics package that can be maintained atop a wind turbine by regular service people.
- Develop and manufacture a low-cost and maintenance-friendly HTS coil package based on second generation (2G) wire. This will contribute to maturing and stabilizing the European Superconductor industry.
- Address unique aspects of HTS drive trains (for instance in terms of hazard analysis) and provide a way for type certification.
- Develop a risk technical & financial management strategy in order to pave the way for market entry of HTS drive trains.
About the installation site
The lead partner, Envision, has agreed to avail for EcoSwing one of the most modern wind turbines in the market. The GC-1 is a 3.6 MW wind turbine with 128 m rotor diameter, direct-drive permanent-magnet generator and full power converter. It is operating at a demanding coastal site in Western Denmark, Thyborøn, near-shore to the North Sea. The environment is characterized by 9.7 m/s average wind speeds. There are also low turbulence conditions from the sea and high turbulence from the south caused by industrial buildings and additional near-shore wind turbines. The design features already partial pitch and 2-blade design for low extreme loads and endurance in onshore and offshore typhoon areas.
Main facts of GC-1 project are available on a dedicated site: project-gc1.com.
Superconductors are capable of conducting electricity without resistance. They are thus highly complementary to energy efficient technologies as a substitute to copper. In comparison to copper they can carry 100x times the current density, making electrical machinery compact and lightweight. Vastly reduced material usage contributes to making this technology highly competitive to conventional machinery.