When it comes to offshore wind turbines, they operate based on a proven principle. Each turbine has a rotor which is made to turn by the wind and this in turn produces mechanical energy that is converted into electricity by the generator. On Offshore Wind farms each tower has all the technical equipment that is required to convert and then feed the wind power to the electricity grid.
AREVA M5000 Offshore Wind Turbines
There is a motor fitted into the turbine’s base and its job is to make sure that the rotor is facing the wind at all times. The AREVA M5000 5 Megawatt Offshore Wind Turbine has a tower which is 130 meters long and the wind turbines blades are 56.6 meters in length. These blades are super aerodynamic, so they are able to perform and produce high yield energy levels without making a lot of noise. They are made of glass fibre and a carbon fibre too.
There are three blades and each one has an in built electrical control system that allows each one to have their pitch angle easily adjusted. There is a system of ball bearings that is integrated into the hub. This protects them from weather elements. The motor has what is called Azimuth drive, and this helps turn the turbine to face the wind. the AREVA system comprises of one rotar bearing that is attached to a one stage gear box and a medium speed generator. This set up helps increase the blade’s rotation speed and is derived from conventional and fearless turbines often referred to as direct drive turbines.
A frequency generator is also installed in the generator. Its job is to allow variable rotation speeds of the gears to allow for optimum electrical efficiency rates. In the base of each tower you have all the equipment that is needed to convert wind energy into electricity including the output connection to the supply network. There is a power converter and transformer which produces the electricity. An air treatment system is also housed in there and it removes salt particles and humidity from the air. This purified air is pumped into the tower to produce an over pressure environment.
The AREVA M5000 was actually the first turbine that has been specifically designed for use on large scale offshore wind farms. Just like the one in the North Sea in Germany known as the ALPHA VENTUS Offshore Wind Park.
Watch the video below to see all the elements in action…
Vestas V80 Offshore Wind Turbine
In Europe, the UK is most likely the windiest country with their northern show the area with the most wind. The first major offshore wind farm to be built in the UK was built in North Hoyle after a lot of extensive research on where would be the best place to situate it. It is 8km from the north of Wales. The turbines for this off shore wind farm where supplied by Vestas which is known as the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturer.
These turbines where manufactured at their factory in Scotland. the wind towers are made of 25 sheets of metal welded together. The turbine houses where also manufactured in this factory. These contain the generator, transformers and all the computer technology that is needed to run and maintain the wind turbine when it is off shore. The blades where manufactured at other Vestas factories in Europe.
On the site of the offshore wind farm, Vestas managed every technical bit when it came to installing the huge offshore wind turbines. The two tower sections are 50 meters long and they support over 100 tones of the wind turbine houses. Vestas used their V80 wind turbines at North Hoyle. They were developed from research that took over 30 years. They are 110m tall to the tip of the tallest wind blade. They can be controlled from anywhere in the world using the internet. The blades are 39m each and two of them come already fitted onto the turbine head, the third one is then fitted last. Altogether the crane does four lifts for each erection.
They have specialized maintenance crews to maintain these turbines to make sure they operate at the highest efficiency all year round. Once installed all the wind turbines are connected together using cabling and then a cable is run from them to the energy grid online. Vestas has a guaranteed that all their customers will receive stable and reliable equipment.
The last stage for Vestas once everything has been installed is to test and then commission the offshore wind turbines. They are all spaced at 560m from each other in order to optimize the park efficiency. For their offshore wind farms in the North Sea, they actually installed helipads on each turbine. This helps with the maintenance when it is difficult to reach the offshore wind turbines when the sea is rough.