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Customised generators and inverters from Parker are said to be vital to the success of a new type of compact wind turbine that has been developed by Elena Energie of Grenoble, France.

The new Turbowind Elena turbines are claimed to produce as much electricity from a unit that measures just 1.5m in diameter as would be produced by a conventional wind turbine measuring 6m in diameter.

The turbines incorporate a patented hull or casing that encloses two sets of rotor blades and a spoiler.

The hull, which is similar in design to the casings used for aircraft engines, works in conjunction with the rotor blades and the spoiler to increase the speed of the airflow.

For example, a wind speed of 6m/sec produces an airflow of 15m/sec at the second set of rotor blades.

The two sets of rotor blades rotate in opposite directions.

The profiles of the rotor blades have been designed specifically to ensure smooth airflow, and the operating mode of the rotors is determined by an advanced electronic control system.

When the turbine is in operation, the wind speed is measured by an anemometer, and the control system continuously analyses the torque that will be transmitted to the rotor blades by the available airflow.

In light winds, the first rotor is used to boost the speed of the air reaching the second rotor.

This allows the Turbowind Elena turbine to begin producing useful amounts of electricity at lower wind speeds than are possible with conventional wind turbines.

At intermediate wind speeds, the first rotor rotates freely so as not to disturb the flow of air to the second rotor, which means that energy production is once again optimised.

At high wind speeds, the first rotor only drives the generator, allowing the Turbowind Elena to continue producing electricity under conditions that would require ordinary wind turbines to be shut down to ensure safety.

As a result of these diverse operating modes, the Turbowind Elena reaches maximum output more quickly than conventional designs and maintains this output over a much wider range of wind speeds.

In addition, it is much quieter in operation than ordinary wind turbines, which makes it suitable for applications in and close to residential areas.

The generator will be driven by the turbine, and some means of interfacing the output of the generator, which will vary in voltage and frequency according to the wind speed, with the electricity transmission grid.

To supply these essential elements, Elena Energie approached Parker, which proposed a customised version of its compact NB8 double generator and, to interface the output of the generator to the electricity supply network, two modular AC890 inverter drives.

The highly configurable AC890 inverters are mainly used in the control of large motors.

However, they feature an IGBT power platform and a control algorithm, allowing them to combine reliability with ease of use in power generation applications with both induction and permanent magnet AC generators.

In these applications, the inverters take the variable output of the generator and convert it, with minimal losses, to an output at a stable voltage and precisely controlled frequency, which is suitable for connection to the electricity transmission grid.

Engineers from Parker worked with their counterparts at Elena Energy to ensure that the generators and inverters were fully optimised for this application.

After extensive testing of the turbine itself and its associated components, the first Turbowind Elena system was recently installed and commissioned at a water bottling plant in Haute Savoie.

It is said to be playing a central role in a project to reduce CO2 emissions from the plant.

Thanks of their high efficiency, their ability to work over a range of wind speeds, their quiet operation and their compact construction, the Turbowind Elena wind turbines are claimed to be attracting interest from public bodies, commercial organisations and potential domestic users.

Parker Hannifin — Parker Sales UK

With annual sales exceeding $10bn, Parker Hannifin is the world's leading manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems, providing precision-engineered solutions for a wide variety of commercial, mobile, industrial and aerospace markets.

To meet its customers' needs in motion and control, Parker provides the broadest range of products available from any single supplier. This is supported by expertise in nine major technologies:

  • Hydraulics
  • Pneumatics
  • Electromechanical
  • Filtration
  • Process control
  • Fluid and gas handling
  • Sealing and shielding
  • Climate control
  • Aerospace

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