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The world’s largest wind turbine, a 120m behemoth capable of generating 5MW at full output, has been officially inaugurated and connected to the German electrical grid. The ‘5M’ turbine, designed and built by Germany’s REpower, was officially inaugurated at a dedication event in Germany with over 600 guests from business and politics. In a symbolic gesture, the turbine was activated by the German Federal Minister for the Environment, Jurgen Trittin. The turbine’s LM Glasfibre 61.5m rotor blades are constructed of a glass and carbon fibre hybrid-fabric that is held together with synthetic resins. REpower said the materials contributed to significant weight reductions for the blades. Each blade is equipped with its own electrical pitch system. Winds as low as 3.5m/s will disengage the electromagnetic disc brakes and the turbine should have peak performance during winds of 13m/s. Winds of 25m/s or more will cause the turbine to cut out. The nacelle was designed with a helicopter platform on the roof for ease of access in offshore applications, for which the turbine was designed. During prototype testing the 5M will remain onshore, although offshore projects are in the making. REpower worked on the 5M project with LM Glasfibre, Offshore Wind Technologie and the Centre for Renewable Energy Sources (Greece).
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