Lightweight design of direct-drive wind turbine electrical generators : a comparison between steel and composite material structures

Jaen-Sola, Pablo and McDonald, Alasdair S. and Oterkus, Erkan (2019) Lightweight design of direct-drive wind turbine electrical generators : a comparison between steel and composite material structures. Ocean Engineering, 181. pp. 330-341. ISSN 0029-8018

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    Abstract

    Direct-drive generators for wind turbines are high torque, low speed machines which require a heavy robust structure to maintain the air-gap clearance open and stable. The mass of the structural material can be assessed at the early stages of the design process for radial-flux generators. By using low density materials, such as composites, the entire mass of the machine can be significantly reduced. A comparison between steel structures and structures made with composite materials working under the same loading conditions is made using small scale (100 kW) and large scale (3 MW) generator models. Potential improvements to the lightweight proposed structures are also suggested.