Bonfiglioli Transmission yaw and pitch drives available in Australia and New Zealand are among the cutting-edge products included in Germany’s new “Alpha Ventus” offshore wind farm.
Located in 30m waters, 45km off the German island of Borkum in the North Sea, the "Alpha Ventus" wind park features 12 wind towers, each generating five megawatts of energy. The wind farm is expected to generate enough electricity to power 50,000 homes.
The project, which represents an investment of €250 million, marks the beginning of a new era in environmentally-friendly power generation in Germany. Commissioned in 2010, the "Alpha Ventus" wind farm is the first of several wind farms Germany plans to build on its northern coastline. The government already has approved plans to develop up to 40 offshore wind parks that could provide electricity to 8 million households.
The President of the Bonfiglioli Group, Sonia Bonfiglioli, says the company’s yaw and pitch drives were selected to control the yaw angle of each turbine tower, as well as the pitch of the blades.
As a highly accredited company in the design and manufacture of yaw and pitch drives, Bonfiglioli was found to be the best company that could accommodate the demands of the "Alpha Ventus" offshore wind farm.
“Due to the location and high power output of each wind tower, each component had to be both highly reliable and high-performance. Thanks to our years of experience in applied technology, Bonfiglioli was among the few manufacturers who could provide the right solution for the project,” says Ms Bonfiglioli.
During an official commissioning ceremony, Dr. Norbert Röttgen, Germany’s Federal Environment Minister commended Bonfiglioli and other contributors who took a risk with the test field.
"Their steadfast commitment, perseverance and creativity have paid off; the experience gained during the construction of Alpha Ventus will benefit all future offshore wind farms,” says Röttgen.
Sophisticated transmissions incorporating planetary drives and frequency converter control are used in drive systems for wind generators ranging in size from small systems for village power supply in India through to 5 MW leviathans.
The Managing Director of Bonfiglioli Transmission (Australia), Mr Malcolm Lewis says these ruggedly reliable and compact yaw and pitch drive systems, which incorporate technology already proven in Australasian industrial applications, provide as high as possible an energy yield and as low as possible risk potential for the system at the same time.
With the help of these yaw and pitch drives, the generator’s gondola (and thus the wind turbine) is constantly matched to the wind direction on the one hand, while on the other, the rotor blades are brought into an ideal position.
"Operation at an optimal speed is decisive for the efficiency of the energy producing drive train extending from the rotor to the generator. If it turns too slowly, insufficient energy will be produced; if it turns too quickly, there are dangers to the complete wind turbine," says Lewis.
Bonfiglioli Transmission is now one of the largest suppliers for azimuth drives and pitch drives in Europe, which is itself a leader in wind power technology.
The company has invested extensively in Australia and New Zealand to extend its range and capabilities across the spectrum here.