We have been applying a holistic approach to wind turbine generator design that considers wind energy markets and the economics of wind power, system reliability, electromagnetic behaviors and design, thermal design and performance, mechanical architecture and behaviors, and performance modeling. The approach has led to the development of a liquid-cooled, direct-drive, permanent-magnet, synchronous generator with helical, double-layer, non-overlapping, windings formed from a copper conductor with a coaxial internal coolant conduit. The generator is only half the size of existing direct-drive wind turbine generator architectures and promises to be both reliable and cost effective. The smaller size and mass results in lower build, transportation, and installation costs.
To complement the unique new generator architecture, a concept is being developed for a novel lightweight wheel structure intended for rotor and stator use in large low-speed wind turbine generators. It uses a slanted spoke and rim architecture to provide maximum static structural performance with minimum weight. A unique attribute of the structure is its use of layered sheet steel elements to form the spokes and rim. Friction between layers establishes structural integrity. The interaction between layers and the resulting increase in damping normal to the stack offers improved dynamic performance.