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BWE Industry Report 2020 - Innovative Projects


INNOVATIVE PROJECTS for the German wind market LIGHTER GENERATORS WITH SUPERCONDUCTORS Within the EU EcoSwing project, for the first time ever a superconducting 3 MW generator fed power into the grid. Superconducting generators will enable a weight reduction of up to 50 % in the future. In March 2018, the generator was tested at IWES in Bremerhaven. After commissioning and installation in Thyborøn, Denmark, the last milestone of reaching 3 MW power output was reached. During the tests the superconducting coils as well as the cryogenic cooling system have proven to be particularly robust and reliable – under real conditions. The cooling system of the wind power generator as an example was stable over seven months of operation. This is a major step for series maturity. Space savings become apparent when comparing the conventional PM generator to the superconducting one (right hand side) Photo: ECO 5 Superconductors are able to transport electrical current without resistance when cooled to low temperatures. Then the current density can be hundredfold higher compared to other conductors. With high temperature superconductors, this state can be reached at higher temperatures which are much easier to realize. This enables applications in energy technology, e.g. generators. These applications profit from the high current density as their design can be smaller and more compact. Looked at in detail, the 3 MW generator has 40 coils. Each coil is about 1.4 meters long and 0.2 meters wide, which adds up to around 25 km of superconducting wire, explains Dr. Markus Bauer, VP Business Development at THEVA. In 2015, the nine partners of the EU Horizon 2020 project EcoSwing started the development of the world’s first superconducting wind power generator. THEVA’s task was to develop and deliver the superconducting coils. One of the superconducting EcoSwing coils. Photo: THEVA 18 Wind Industry in Germany

Advertorial With the first series production of superconductors in Germany THEVA is pursuing the goal to decrease the cost of superconductors sufficiently to become competitive with copper. This will facilitate innovative new products that will become an important contribution to the energy transition in the future. Accordingly, THEVA has a portfolio of superconductors and coils tailored to the needs of various applications. “Basically, anything is possible”, says Bauer. “Generator manufacturers can design and manufacure coils in different sizes, geometries and performance levels with our material”. After the success in the EcoSwing project, the development of a generator for cost-efficient series production can begin. The EcoSwing design can be scaled up for nominal powers of 15 MW and above. The lower mass and bigger air gap coming from the specific properties of the superconductor result in less demanding construction and easy assembly. Due to the significantly reduced size and weight, costs are lower for foundation, supporting structures, installation space and logistics. Therefore, THEVA expects superconducting generators to reach a relevant market share for big wind turbines in the future. Envision’s GC1-Turbine in Thyborøn, Denmark. The superconducting generator was mounted and tested on this turbine. Photo: THEVA Superconductor and copper cylinder with the same current carrying capacity. Photo: THEVA Conclusion THEVA and the EcoSwing consortium showed that a superconducting generator can be operated reliably. Mass reduction in the nacelle offers new perspectives especially for high power ranges and for offshore turbines. THEVA is open for a follow-up project to develop market maturity for superconducting wind power generators. Project overview Project Coordinator EU Horizon 2020 Projekt EcoSwing Envision Energy Partner THEVA, Envision Energy, ECO 5, Jeumont Electric, Delta Energy Systems, Sumitomo Cryogenics of Europe, Fraunhofer IWES, Universiteit Twente, DNV GL End of project 30.04.2019 EcoSwing has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 656024. The text reflects only the author‘s view. The Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains. Contact Wind Industry in Germany 19

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