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Understanding Wind Power Technology: Theory, Deployment and Optimisation by Alois Schaffarczyk

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6The Drive Train

Sönke Siegfriedsen

6.1 Introduction

The machines called wind turbines in this chapter are used for the generation of electrical energy. The drive for these machines is a rotor that draws kinetic energy from the wind as repeller, and uses it to introduce mechanical force into the power plant. As in every conventional power plant, this mechanical force is made up of a rotational movement and the force of this movement results in the torque.

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If we transfer the above-mentioned term ‘power plant’ to wind energy then one could replace it by the nacelle. This gondola, also called the machine house, contains the technology necessary for the generation of electrical energy. The rotating parts, thus the torque transferring ones, are called drive train components. If one views these components as a whole, then one talks of a drive train. It starts at the rotor and mostly ends at the generator. As there are various arrangements and variations of the components possible, there are many different drive train concepts and the potential for innovation is very high. The concept selected has a great influence on the head mass and the costs (approximately 30% portion of the overall costs) of a wind turbine, and directly influences the development in the dimensioning of components. Depending on the concept, a drive train can make use of more or fewer standard machine components. However, ...

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