The University of Minnesota is performing research on the application of continuously variable hydrostatic transmissions for wind turbines. By replacing the gearbox of traditional wind turbines with a continuously variable hydrostatic transmission (HST), the rotor speed could be controlled independent of the generator speed. This would allow the use of more conventional synchronous generators instead of higher cost variable speed permanent magnet generators, and eliminate the need for power electronics. The gearbox of traditional wind turbines is one of the primary sources of premature failure and maintenance. HSTs have been the dominant choice for propulsion in agricultural, construction, forestry, and mining vehicles for more than half a century. Thus, replacing the gearbox in a wind turbine with an HST should improve the reliability of the machine. The IREE seed funding will be used by the University of Minnesota to begin the process of building a lab scale (50 kW) test stand to perform research on applying HSTs to wind turbines. The research will initially focus on determining the best drivetrain hardware configuration as well as on optimizing the wind turbine’s control algorithm.
Thul, Brenen; Dutta, Rahul; Stelson, Kim; Bohlmann, Brad; Gust, Mike; Kildegaard, Arne.
Hydrostatic Transmission for Wind Power Generation RS-0008-09.
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