Mechanical Power Transmission Blog

Mechanical Power Transmission

The Mechanical Power Transmission Blog is the place for conversation and discussion about Gears & Gearbox Assemblies; Belts, Pulleys, Chains & Sprockets; Brakes, Clutches & Couplings; Design & Analysis. Here, you'll find everything from application ideas, to news and industry trends, to hot topics and cutting edge innovations.

Previous in Blog: Fix It Utill It Breaks!   Next in Blog: Are You an Engineer?
Close
Close
Close
7 comments

Blowin' in the Wind?

Posted July 26, 2009 7:36 AM

Recent articles in the press tell of a breakthrough possible in wind turbine power generation — robust gearboxes that are claimed to have a 50% torque density improvement. This would allow smaller units to produce the same power or the same size ones to generate more. Do you think this could help jump start wind power generation in the U.S? Can we come up with enough advances to help wind power application pick up speed?

The preceding article is a "sneak peek" from Mechanical Power Transmission, a newsletter from GlobalSpec. To stay up-to-date and informed on industry trends, products, and technologies, subscribe to Mechanical Power Transmission today.

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Guru
Hobbies - CNC - New Member Hobbies - DIY Welding - New Member Engineering Fields - Electromechanical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 22960
Good Answers: 416
#1

Re: Blowin' in the Wind?

07/26/2009 9:16 AM

Do you think this could help jump start wind power generation in the U.S?

hell yes, and reduce the consumption of energy by the end user by using these super gearboxes in their facilities.

Can we come up with enough advances to help wind power application pick up speed?

$150.00/barrel of oil should do it.

phoenix911

__________________
“ When people get what they want, they are often surprised when they get what they deserve " - James Wood
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: South of Minot North Dakota
Posts: 8378
Good Answers: 774
#2

Re: Blowin' in the Wind?

07/26/2009 10:39 AM

50% more torque capacity is great but as far as I know I have not read about the gear boxes being the hold back on wind turbine design and production.

From what I can recall from my mechanical power classes years ago a properly designed inline gear box with full synthetic oil is around 95% - 98% efficient in transferring power from input to output. Granted there are many types with far less efficiency.

Check out your standard issue vehicle or truck manual transmission. they can transfer loads of energy while generating only a small amount of heat. Hence the relatively small size Vs the power they carry.

People can chase and nit pick the mechanics and minute efficiency issues until the end of time but without positive cooperation of politicians, manufactures and environmentalists none of it does any good.

Whats holding back wind power is a combination of storage issues, politics, manufacturing rate limits and manufactures greed. Plus the application and implementation of practical common sense!

There is not enough off peak energy storage systems in place yet to balance the variable output of wind power.

There is too much counter productive politics to allow further and faster development of systems and related issues.

There are not enough manufactures of large or medium sized units so the cost is held high simply by supply and demand and the some what reluctant stand manufactures take in regards to expanding their manufacturing output capacity simply because a little greed goes a long way in keeping the prices higher.

People need to focus on the big issues that stand in the way of how and why wind power does not get implemented more. Compact mechanical size, extremely high efficiency, and capacity is sort of pointless in a way since the power source is free. Why double the time, effort, and money to get a few percent gain in system efficiency when a second unit could have been built for the same cost and provide a higher combined output than what the efficiency gains would accomplish using just one machine?

Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
Popular Science - Weaponology - bwire Hobbies - Car Customizing - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Upper Mid-west USA
Posts: 7498
Good Answers: 96
#6
In reply to #2

Re: Blowin' in the Wind?

07/27/2009 8:33 PM

Many good points but....

Compact mechanical size, extremely high efficiency, and capacity is sort of pointless in a way since the power source is free.

If the unit size (blade length) could be reduced by increasing power transmission efficiency the overall unit cost would too.

Or you could call it competition...

__________________
If death came with a warning there would be a whole lot less of it.
Reply
Guru
Engineering Fields - Retired Engineers / Mentors - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Brecksville, OH
Posts: 1608
Good Answers: 18
#7
In reply to #2

Re: Blowin' in the Wind?

07/27/2009 10:25 PM

Love your signature. It is unfortunately so true.

__________________
"Consensus Science got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?" : Rephrase of Will Rogers Comment
Reply
2
Guru

Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1790
Good Answers: 87
#3

Re: Blowin' in the Wind?

07/26/2009 7:01 PM

The real issues is not efficiency or power density, although power density helps with installed cost.

The issue has been gear box reliability which historically has been pretty poor. If the turbine ain't turning because the gear box failed again, then your power production is zero...

US wind also tends to be in places like Texas and California where the dust and the gusts have a direct impact on gearbox reliability. Places like Holland have, shall we say, "kinder" wind profiles.

Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
Guru
Panama - Member - New Member Hobbies - CNC - New Member Engineering Fields - Marine Engineering - New Member Engineering Fields - Retired Engineers / Mentors - New Member

Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Panama
Posts: 4273
Good Answers: 213
#4
In reply to #3

Re: Blowin' in the Wind?

07/26/2009 11:39 PM

Yet, off-shore wind turbines in Holland were reportedly only getting about 18 months life from their gear boxes when they first started running these things- salt air is not very friendly to mechanical systems, either. I don't know if the gear boxes have been imp0roved to give longer life as yet- this information is somewhat dated. But the gear box is most definitely a critical component, and efficiency is not going to be the primary concern...

Reply
Commentator

Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 89
Good Answers: 2
#5

Re: Blowin' in the Wind?

07/27/2009 9:12 AM

Gear box is no longer an issue with the turbine sold by Enercon : No gear box at all - Direct drive to the alternator. I believe they toyed with a 6 MW model and currently offer a 5 MW. I am told those bigger models are meant to be installed at sea as they would require cranes too big for the roads. GE was the winder of the early alternator used by Enercon and they may have gotten back together. As far as I know, those are the biggest wind turbines in the world.

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 7 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

agua_doc (1); Aviator (1); bwire (1); cwarner7_11 (1); phoenix911 (1); Steve S. (1); tcmtech (1)

Previous in Blog: Fix It Utill It Breaks!   Next in Blog: Are You an Engineer?

Advertisement