Software accelerates design of next gen wind power technology

Written by: Laura Hopperton | Published:
Software accelerates design of next gen wind power technology

Colorado-based firm Boulder Wind Power has used advanced electromagnetic design software from Cobham Technical Services to accelerate the development of a new permanent magnet drive generator.

The company used the 3D version of the Opera electromagnetic simulator to create a highly efficient and reliable generator with an axial flux, air-core architecture. The company claims the technology could ultimately reduce the cost of wind generated electricity by around 30%.

"Opera 3D is enabling us to develop new analytical techniques for our unique machine architecture," commented Brian Sullivan, principal electromagnetics engineer at BWP. "In addition, the results obtained from prototype testing have shown a high degree of correlation with our analyses. Our predictive models for open circuit voltage in Opera were within 2% of measured data."

Unlike conventional permanent magnet generators, the air-core stator in the BWP design does not use electrical steel laminations wound with conductors, and contains no ferromagnetic materials. This eliminates iron losses associated with flux reversals in the stator and eliminates the magnetic attraction between the generator's rotor and stator.

Together, BWP says these enable higher efficiencies and higher torque levels for a given mass of generator.

The technology is expected to be available for testing in prototype turbines in 2013, with full commercial availability anticipated for 2014.

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