Veterans of the wind power industry, Vestas, have been showing off their new super-turbine which is reckoned to be the most powerful yet seen. It's the Vestas V 164-8.0. How come? It's the combination of an 8MW power-rating and a 164-metre rotor diameter. That will make the V164-8.0 the world's most powerful turbine to date. Everything about this turbine is big big big. The nacelle and hub have massive pitch bearings and two long hydraulic pitch cylinders inside each blade-mounting area. The nacelle has a width and height of 8 metres and is 20 metres long. This is relatively small for such a large turbine. It is achieved by a compact tube-shape medium-speed drivetrain. This in essence is a self-supporting structure which incorporates a main shaft housing that serves as a key structural and drivetrain element mounted directly onto a cast main chassis.
The main shaft is supported by two bearings and is attached to the rotor hub in front and faces towards the rear. It is connected to the planetary gearbox and permanent magnet generator via a flexible shaft coupling. There are four individual drive elements and these are connected through bolted-flanges. These flanged connections are claimed to virtually eliminate misalignment risks.
The first 8MW turbine will be installed and commissioned at Østerild during the second quarter of 2014, and if the results are positive further tests and commercial collaboration between the two companies could follow. These turbines will be particularly attractive to those planning new or upgraded offshore wind farms.
Vestas say that his offshore turbine has been designed with two guiding principles in mind: firstly, this new generation of offshore turbines is intended to require as little maintenance as possible. Secondly, when servicing is required, it should be as safe, quick and cost efficient as possible. It will also have a 25 year lifespan which is one of the longest in the industry.
Because the turbine will generate so much power, less of them will be required at each offshore wind farm and that means reduced costs, not just from the purchase of less turbines, but also from all the associated costs; production of the foundations on the sea bed, and maintenance costs. It won't be long before these giants will be seen in many locations offshore around Northern Europe.