Hamburg: the centre of the global wind energy industry
In the last week of September 2018, Hamburg was for the third time the centre of the global wind energy industry. The WindEnergy conference and exhibition again demonstrated its international character: more than 35,000 visitors from 100 countries were there, getting information on the latest products and services from 1,482 exhibitors from 40 nations. 45% of the visitors were from outside Germany. The share of international exhibitors grew to more than 50% compared with 44% in 2016. The entire value chain was present in the exhibition halls, including 16 wind turbine manufacturers from Europe, the Americas and Asia.
For the second time, the global WindEurope conference was held in parallel with WindEnergy. Both events jointly formed the Global Wind Summit 2018. The conference this time was held on the upper level of one of the exhibition halls, which was a big improvement compared with 2016 when it was held in another building a bit away from the exhibition.
Traditionally at a fair like this many companies introduce new products and services. Following a three-year development and test programme, ZX Lidars (formerly ZephIR Lidar) revealed a new turbine-mounted wind lidar – ZX TM – during the show. The device has already been deployed in volume on independent power producer Fred. Olsen Renewables’ UK wind farm portfolio to optimise the installed turbines and wind farms as a whole. ZX Lidars has also formed ZX Measurement Services to provide the industry with ‘Data as a Service’, which is primarily focused on delivering turnkey wind measurements with lidar.
Leosphere, another lidar company, announced the latest version of the Windcube and has launched Windweb, a secure cloud-based platform for lidar systems, users and campaign management. The new Windcube, which comes with a three-year maintenance cycle and warranty, has a simpler and more robust design for resilience in the field as well as faster maintenance and repair, including the possibility for onsite maintenance.
MHI Vestas Offshore Wind has announced that its V164 turbine platform has now achieved a power rating of 10MW. The V164-10.0MW incorporates a stronger gearbox, some minor mechanical upgrades, and a small design change to enhance airflow and increase cooling in the converter. The V164-10.0MW is already available for sale and can be delivered for commercial installation beginning in 2021.
GE Renewable Energy introduced a new 5.3MW onshore wind turbine model with a two-piece blade design as part of a new platform. The 5.3-158 is the latest addition to the Cypress platform, which builds on GE’s 2MW and 3MW fleets and utilises the 4.8-158 turbine architecture. According to GE, it offers up to a 50% increase in annual energy production (AEP) compared with the 3MW platform and enables ‘significant’ AEP improvements, higher service efficiency and better transport and site potential. A prototype of the 5.3-158 machine is currently being manufactured in Salzbergen and is scheduled to go into operation by the end of 2018.
Envision presented EnScope, a software tool for smart site analyses based on open data. The product is capable of evaluating information from Copernicus, Open Street Map as well as national data sources. It can be used to select sites for wind farms or for infrastructure planning across countries and larger regions.
The new ZF Wind Power modular platform design is named SHIFT 6k. It helps businesses to realise cost-effective turbines. Thanks to modularity of the system, the initial development costs are lower compared with a dedicated gearbox design. As stated by ZF, the SHIFT 6k delivers higher performance, more flexibility and more availability. SHIFT 6k is suitable for powering new generation turbines from 4.5MW up to 7MW and rotor diameters of up to 180 metres.
Two years ago, Pontis Engineering introduced a new welding solution for fully thermoplastic rotor blades. The engineering company has now found a welding solution that can be used in existing epoxy designs. Pontis Engineering has developed a technology in which prefabricated thermoplastic welding units are implemented in the epoxy shell. These units not only enable a welded connection, but also realisation of a sharper trailing edge and a more compact connection.
During the show, Carbex introduced an intelligent carbon brush system and new brush holder. The i-BRUSH system enables remote monitoring of brush condition by using sensors built into the brushes. This eliminates the need to climb up to the generator to check brush wear. Information on the condition of the carbon brushes is uploaded to the cloud and can be displayed on any smartphone or PC. The system can be easily retrofitted to any existing installation. Carbex also introduced a new brush holder, Optimus V-Type, which promises to reduce brush wear by up to 25%. This is achieved by applying equal spring pressure on all brushes across each phase.
A number of other exhibitors likewise presented new products and services but this Publisher’s note is not long enough to inform you about everything that I saw. But I can assure you that some of the new technology and innovations I saw will be covered in future issues.