Chapter 5

Drive Trains, Gearboxes, and Generators

Abstract

The drive train connects the energy capturing rotor of a wind turbine to the generator which produces the unit’s electrical power. Large wind turbine rotors rotate at around 20 rpm but conventional generators rotate much faster so there will often be a gearbox between the rotor and the generator to match the speed of one to the other. Gearboxes are subject to a variety of forces transmitted through the drive shaft and can be prone to failure but modern designs offer greater reliability. The alternative is to use a more expensive, direct drive generator. Another common feature in modern wind turbines is to use a variable speed generator that allows the rotational speed of the rotor to be ...

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