Novel technology will lower cost of wind energy NGenTec to unveil plans for demonstrator at EWEA Offshore 2011

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A Scottish company is to announce at the world’s largest offshore wind energy event plans to build and test innovative generator technology designed to produce maximum energy at minimum cost.

Edinburgh-based NGenTec, which designs and supplies permanent magnet generators for wind turbines, will unveil its plans for novel prototype at EWEA Offshore 2011, to be held in Amsterdam over three days from Tuesday, 29th November.

NGenTec’s full-scale prototype generator, which will demonstrate characteristics to 6MW level, will be built and tested under an industrial partnership the company has with global gearing company David Brown Gear Systems (DBGS). The collaboration with DBGS will strengthen NGenTec’s position as the preferred supplier of generators to the fast-developing offshore wind industry – a market which in the UK is valued at £70 billion over the next 10 years.

The prototype, a 1MW section – six of which can be stacked along the shaft of a turbine to create a 6MW machine – will be built and subjected to rigorous performance testing at DBGS’s development facility in Huddersfield, England.

NGenTec’s technology has already been successfully tested against all performance parameters in three scaled-down prototypes, one of which was tested on a wind turbine.

Independent analysis has estimated that there would be a through-life cost saving of almost £1 million for a 6MW offshore wind turbine using NGenTec’s generator technology, as opposed to a traditional permanent magnet generator.

NGenTec’s products are range of axial-flux air-cored permanent magnet generators for direct drive, slow and medium speed applications for offshore and onshore turbines. They offer wind turbine manufacturers significant performance advantages in terms of producing maximum energy yield at the minimum cost.

NGenTec uses standardised modular rotor and stator components which are simple to manufacture, assemble and transport – each individual line replaceable module weighs less than 500kg, light enough to be lifted by an internal wind turbine crane – and their modular design makes them particularly cost effective and simple to manufacture, assemble and transport.

NGenTec’s generators completely eliminate the magnetic forces between the rotating and stationary parts of the generator, thus reducing the required structural mass. They are up to 50 per cent lighter than other permanent magnet generators.

Stacked multistage axial-flux NGenTec modules could be placed along a shaft to provide for different torque/power levels. This allows the same basic optimized modules to be used in a number of different machine ratings, reducing spare parts holding.

While the NGenTec generator is designed for maximum reliability and minimum maintenance, in the event of a power generating circuit failure the affected line can be isolated, thus enabling the machine to continue to generate electricity, increasing yield and turbine availability.

NGenTec will commercialise its technology and bring its novel multi-MW products to the market in time for major UK wind deployments expected in 2015.

NGenTec was formed in 2009 and has already become the first indigenous Scottish generator supplier for global MW-scale wind energy production, with its current supply-chain businesses in the UK all within a 100-mile radius of assembly.

Dr Makhlouf Benatmane, NGenTec’s chief executive officer, said:

“We are confident that our products, which offer an innovative drivetrain solution to lowering the cost of energy, are putting us at the leading edge of something truly exciting. There is tremendous potential in Scotland’s nascent offshore wind industry, but we also are attracting considerable interest from several turbine manufacturers which operate globally in the onshore and offshore market.

“Our location in Scotland and the experience gained in the oil and gas supply chain provide very real benefits to manufacturers looking to capitalise on Scotland’s drive to be a global leader in the generation of wind energy.

“Our participation at EWEA Offshore 2011 will help us to enhance our growing reputation for developing novel technology designed to address key challenges facing the industry – decreasing the cost of wind energy, increasing the reliability of generators, maximising energy yield and easing manufacture and assembly.”

NGenTec will be at EWEA Offshore 2011 as part of the Scottish Pavilion (Stand 10030), being organised by Scottish Development International, a joint venture between the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, which will use the event to showcase and provide access to companies involved in the industry’s supply chain. The event will feature more than 460 exhibitors and over 7,500 participants.

NGenTec will also announce at EWEA Offshore 2011 the completion of its blue-chip management team with the appointment of Dr Charles R Gamble as chief marketing officer. Dr Gamble has extensive experience in the wind turbine sector, having held director and senior management positions within engineering, marketing and business development with turbine manufacturers, and with global wind consultants Garrad Hassan.

He has joined NGenTec from Nordic Windpower, where he was chief technical officer, designing and building 1MW onshore wind turbines. A chartered engineer, Dr Gamble has a background in power and electrical machines.

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