Offshore Wind Inspires Grand Engineering

March 24, 2021

6 Responses to “Offshore Wind Inspires Grand Engineering”

  1. John Oneill Says:

    Good to see they’ve found an alternative to sulfur hexafluoride -SF6 – for the switchgear in this turbine. Leaks of SF6 in Europe in just 2017 were supposed to be equivalent to putting another 1.3 million cars on the road. A fair proportion of this was attributed to wind turbines. Other power sources use the gas in their switchgear as well, to prevent arcing, but since even a 12 MW turbine is tiny by industry standards, there are a lot more potential sources of leaks. The replacement is a mix of CO2 and fluoronitrile – (CF3)2CFCN. That’s still a greenhouse gas, but not nearly as potent as SF6, calculated over a hundred years. Even better, its median lifetime in the atmosphere is calculated at only 47 years, versus over a thousand for SF6.

    • Mark Mev Says:

      From Sept 2019:
      https://windeurope.org/newsroom/news/wind-energy-and-sf6-in-perspective/

      “The BBC article says that SF6 is most commonly released into the atmosphere by leaks. These leaks can occur through mechanical faults, equipment degradation, vibrations in normal operations or during maintenance or decommissioning.

      Data from Vattenfall suggests leakage emissions from Europe’s 100,000 wind turbines were about 900kg of SF6 over the last six years. This is equivalent to 3,525 tonnes of CO2 a year. This includes the release of gases during the reclamation and recycling process. At end-of-life the turbine switchgears are collected and the sulphur hexafluoride gas is reclaimed and reused in new equipment.

      By comparison wind energy avoids the emission of 255 million tonnes of CO2 in Europe a year by generating 336TWh of electricity displacing fossil fuels. The SF6 leakage therefore represents around 0.001% of the emissions avoided thanks to wind energy every year.”

  2. J4Zonian Says:

    Although doubling the swept area does increase the power gotten by 4x, an even bigger advantage of larger turbines is that they’re taller, so they reach stronger, steadier winds. Offshoreness magnifies that. Doubling the wind speed increases power gotten by 8x, so these can have an advantage over smaller land-based turbines of 16x or more in power (MW), plus the huge increase in capacity factor.

    Siemens-Gamesa is the name of a company, the result of a merger between the German company Siemens Wind Power and Spanish Gamesa Eólica. (These companies seem to hook up and split up like LA starlets and assistant producers.) The turbines are given names like SG 14-222 DD. As far as I know, there is no wind turbine named Gamesa, as the video made it sound.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      Although doubling the swept area does increase the power gotten by 4x, an even bigger advantage of larger turbines is that they’re taller, so they reach stronger, steadier winds.

      That in itself creates more engineering problems dealing with the force disparity between the upper sweep and the lower sweep.

  3. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    I chuckled at bit at the breathless description of a $400 million(!) investment by GE. Pharmaceutical development for a single drug is over a billion, with a high risk that a flaw found in the last and most expensive stages of testing will kill it.

  4. Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

    Straight question. Does anybody know how much these things cost and what is the build time?


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