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Superconductive Wind Turbine Passes Operating Test

published: 2019-12-04 9:30

A group of European scientists have completed an unprecedented test of superconductive wind turbines, which lasted seven months.

The 3.6 MW superconductive wind turbine was manufactured by EcoSwing, and was subsidized by the EU. The turbine features a superconductive generator made of REBCO (rare earth barium copper oxide), which was used in place of the existing permanent-magnet generator. It was installed in Thyvoren, a small fishing village in northwestern Denmark, for testing.

The superconductive materials of the wind turbine are situated in a temperature setting of -242°C, which is much higher than the superconductive materials in the other applications. The materials can only function at an extremely low temperature.

The superconductive wind turbines boast a high conversion rate and high power density, plus much smaller generators, in both weight and size. During the testing, the turbines were able to complete a total of 650 hours of grid-connection operation. They have demonstrated their capability in weathering such problems as speed change, grid malfunction, magnetic harmonic wave, vibration, and so on.

With their complete diamagnetism and the lack of an electric resistance, the superconductive wind turbine models can raise their electric current and produce high magnetic fields to boost their overall power output. Their wind turbines generally do not require as much rare earth material as the traditional wind turbine models.

The superconductive wind turbine models can be used to help solve the oversized problems of the existing wind turbines. As of now, the average height of the traditional wind turbines have already reached 90 meters; in the future, it may increase to as high as 200 meters.

(Image: skyseeker via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

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