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Research Grant For Wind Turbine Manufacturer

09 February 2005

Research Grant For Wind Turbine Manufacturer

Wind turbine manufacturer, Windflow Technology has received a research grant of $130,000 from Technology New Zealand through its Technology for Business Growth (TBG) scheme. The grant will provide half of the funding for the company to prove the suitability of its Windflow 500 turbine for use in small, isolated networks such as islands or remote communities.

The research will involve the company refining the torque limiting feature of its unique gearbox to include a dynamic control system that will respond to both the varying demands of a small network and the available wind energy simultaneously.

"Our turbine is the only one in the world to run a synchronous generator stably in variable wind conditions," said Windflow CEO, Geoff Henderson. "Using the same torque limiting feature, our synchronous generator will maintain the frequency at 50 Hz, through the rapid demand changes that occur in isolated networks."

Windflow believes that this presents an opportunity to capture a segment of the Asia-Pacific wind turbine market. This market is rapidly expanding, as countries increase the proportion of renewable energy sources utilised.

The technology produced will be a wind turbine capable of operating successfully in tandem with a diesel generator, in an isolated situation. Wind-diesel combinations are likely to lead the way to water desalination and refrigeration applications that are expected to be growth markets.

The research project will also demonstrate the ability of the Windflow synchronous design to 'ride through' a fault in the electrical grid. Fault-ride-through is important not only for isolated grid applications but also for national grid-connected wind farms as wind power becomes a significant source of generation. The issue of wind power's fault-ride-through capability has become a major concern internationally in recent years and is increasingly seen by Windflow as a point of competitive advantage for its TLG technology.


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