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A giant wind-powered generator


The new TWT-1650 wind-powered generator presented in Pamplona has 36-metre vanes which, in a circular movement, sweep an area greater than that of a football pitch and which can withstand extremes of weather, including winds of up to 110 kilometres an hour.

This device, made by Grupo Mtorres in collaboration with the Institute for the Diversification and Saving of Energy (IDAE), is beginning its commercial life, after three years of tests.

The new model, with a power of 1,650 kilowatts, uses a multipolar technology and distinguishes itself from conventional machines in that mechanical elements have been replaced by electronic ones, i.e. the "multiplier" which reproduced wind power as electricity has been replaced and 60 magnets have been installed in the "rotors" (the part that gyrates).

The system has environmental advantages, as well as ones of costs and energy yield, given that the mechanical part of wind-powered generators are the cause of 30% of the failures and errors in these machines. In other words, an important percentage of maintenance costs will disappear.

This is why a new wind park concept is considered: distributed energy generation, i.e. small installations with three to six machines and near the consumer and connected directly to the distribution grid.

This means less noise and less visual impact on mountain ridges and by the migratory routes for birds, as well as eliminating the use of lubricant oils which the machinery mechanics needed (300 litres per year).

The disadvantages of this technological development is that the wind-powered generator has more weight and volume (this Group is even considering achieving 50-metre long vanes made up of carbon-fibre modules) and the initial investment and costs is greater than the conventional models.

Energetically the machine – which has a computer which controls what is done at any moment depending on wind direction – better withstands troughs in the grid and is therefore more reliable in power cut situations.

The Mtorres Group and the German company, Enercom are the only enterprises developing this technology.

Garazi Andonegi | Basque research
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