The Korean Samsung Group, the producer of offshore wind turbines has turned to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) to determine if the wind of 76 meters high could survive the gales, with squalls, rain, to rust, cyclones and dust for 25 years.
NREL has in effect a test bed to simulate the worst conditions. In a few months, the manufacturer will know if its gearbox, its bearings and gears are able to withstand real world conditions.
The turbine of a power of 2.5 megawatts weighs no less than 90 tons and is equipped with a powerful electric motor of 3,550 hp coupled to a gearbox epicyclic three floors. The engine can reach speeds to 30 rpm, in an environment simulating the lightest breezes with strongest winds.
“We use the turbine to a power of 2.1 megawatts in test conditions during 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” says Ed Overly, research technician at NREL.
“Samsung already has similar sized wind turbines (2.5 MW) in service in Lubbock, Texas, can provide electricity to 1,800 homes,” said Kim-kyu, director of research at Samsung.” But the company never tested turbines of more than 600 kilowatts.”
NREL think the next step with the design of a testbed turbines of 5 megawatts.