Humans have been harnessing the wind for thousands of years. Wind energy currently represents one of the most plentiful resources on the planet. In recent decades as demand for additional sources of energy has increased, wind power has emerged as a clean, environmentally sustainable renewable source of energy essential to the world’s growing economy.
Traditional wind power generation systems typically use a conventional gear configuration to “gear up” or “gear down” the system in response to varying wind velocities. While traditional systems have been employed commercially to some limited success, there are significant drawbacks to these systems.
First, many commercially available traditional wind capture systems utilize only a single large generator mounted on top of a large tower, sometimes in excess of 200 feet, and may weigh as much as 150 tons. Despite the obvious problems of construction and weight distribution, as well as the disadvantages of having such a large single generator placed in an elevated position, maintenance is complicated in such a configuration. In addition, with only a single generator, any mechanical or other failure may result in the entire traditional wind power generation system needing to be deactivated while repairs are made.
Another drawback of traditional systems is that they often cannot operate at low or high wind speeds, and as a result, have limited turbine RPM where they may operate. At low wind speeds, traditional wind turbine generators often cannot generate enough mechanical power to innervate a single large generator.
Conversely, traditional wind turbine systems often cannot efficiently operate during high wind conditions. Typically, traditional wind turbine systems often cannot exceed 20 RPM, which represents a limiting upper threshold. Under such high wind conditions, the mechanical energy generated from the rotating turbine can exceed the generator’s capacity and may need to be disengaged.
Furthermore, traditional systems often need to be shut down weekly to be cleaned and maintained. This extended and complex maintenance further reduces their economic viability and reliability.
Another drawback of traditional systems is that in addition to being limited in their range of operation, electrical output and mechanical design, they can be prohibitively expensive in relation to the amount of actual usable electricity produced. As discussed previously, traditional systems can only be operable within a narrow window of available wind energy to drive the generator. Despite the need for additional energy sources, and despite the plentiful and ubiquitous nature of wind energy, this level of commercial wind power generation as compared to the other more traditional methods such as hydroelectric and coal fired plants has not yet
proved economically feasible on a large scale. Additionally, traditional systems can require large amounts of initial capital and manufacturing resources and, as discussed above, can be limited in the amount, range and reliability of their wind powered electrical generation.
The foregoing technological and economic limitations associated with traditional wind power generation systems, as well as wind power generation techniques associated with said systems, represent a long-felt need for a comprehensive, economical and effective solution to the same. While implementing elements have been available, actual attempts to meet this need have been lacking to some degree and may have failed to effectively solve one or more of the problems or challenges identified herein.
Accordingly, there is a need within the field for an efficient and economically viable wind power generation system that addresses each of the technological and economic limitations outlined above. The technology disclosed by Airgenesis LLC represents a significant leap forward in the field of power generation systems.
The Airgenesis wind power generation system, among its other attributes, allows for generator control at the coupler level, thereby allowing for constant generator RPM and electrical output at variable wind velocities, as well as constant generator output and RPM at wind velocities below and above traditional wind velocity thresholds. This is achieved through innovative technology that provides methods and apparatus for an 11 MW wind power generating system wherein multiple generators are at the base of the tower, and controlled and sequentially loaded and unloaded depending on the varying wind velocities. By achieving the ability to control and maintain a constant electrical output, and to facilitate the ability to conduct maintenance (including replacing generators) without the necessity to shut down the tower, increased yield to cost is drastically improved.