As wind turbines get bigger and bigger, they need to handle an increasing amount of power. Most turbines today operate at low voltage, which means that an enormous amount of current is required to keep them running. Therefore, researchers from AAU, in close collaboration with the industry, must investigate how by going from low voltage to medium voltage, you can reduce the current level and therefore achieve increased efficiency in the massive wind turbines.
- We develop and test solutions where we replace low voltage transistors in existing wind turbine designs with medium voltage transistors that have a voltage which is six times higher. This means that the current can be reduced by a factor of six. Calculations show that by doing this, we can reduce costs per MWh produced, and this is a competitive parameter for the industrial partners, says Professor Stig Munk-Nielsen from the Department of Energy Technology.
In addition to being able to reduce wind turbines’ power consumption, the transition to medium voltage also brings other interesting benefits. For example, if medium voltage is used there is a bit more freedom of placing the power converter the wind turbine as cable losses is lower at medium voltage, which means something in terms of keeping the cost of construction of wind turbines down.
The project is a collaboration between Aalborg University, KK Wind Solutions and Siemens Gamesa Renewable Energy.