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Development of a new high torque density transmission and low sound gearbox for wind turbines.

To design a new and more reliable range of wind turbine gearboxes with a high torque transfer through the use of journal bearings technology, manufacturing a prototype and validating in order to be used in high-powered and/or great rotor-diameter wind turbines.

Maximum reliability and low life-cycle costs are the decisive key factors for systems operators in nearly all areas of industry, including the windpower industry. Specifically, within the field of wind energy, increasing the competitiveness of a wind turbine is a matter of reducing the Cost of Energy (COE, from now on). Additionally, wind turbine manufacturers are competing not only among them but also with other renewable energy sources like solar photovoltaic. In that sense, the most efficient way to reduce the COE is to combine the development of greater wind turbine rotors (which involves an increasing in the torque transference from the rotor to the generator), a reduction in the weight of the components and an increasing in the annual energy production (AEP) via improving the reliability of the wind turbine subsystems. According to the report NREL/PR-5000-59111 "Report on Wind Turbine Subsystem Reliability ─ A Survey of Various Databases", the rate of failure of the gearboxes per turbine and year is quite low but, however, they caused the longest downtime per failure (up to 14 days). The report also shows that bearings are the most critical wear parts of wind turbine gearboxes because of they are exposed to high loads in operation and therefore have a significant impact on the overall gearbox reliability causing the majority of wind turbine gearbox failures (76%). In order to improve the reliability of the gearboxes, reduce its weight and make it possible a transference of a high torque levels within the current wind turbines, it is necessary to develop new gearboxes based on different bearing technologies like "journal bearings". The architecture of this kind of bearings is simpler than balls or roller bearings (the number of mechanical components is lower) so a high rate of reliability is achievable. However the torque density capacity of these bearings is limited. It is known that a prototype has been installed and it is currently under operation but in a medium size wind tubine (Vestas V90 2MW wind turbine). However it is necessary to develop this technology to use it with greater wind turbines (at least 3MW and 120 m rotor diameter) as a first step to achieve higher torque densities and reaching the range of 200 Nm/kg by 2019-2020. The aim of this project is to design a new and more relaible range of wind turbine gearboxes with a high torque transfer through the use of journal bearings technology, manufacturing a prototype and validating it both at laboratory scale and on-site in order to be used in high-powered and/or great rotor-diameter wind turbines.
Acronym: 
WINGEAR
Project ID: 
11 715
Start date: 
01-09-2017
Project Duration: 
19months
Project costs: 
1 070 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Wind energy
Market Area: 
Wind energy

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