Our offshore technology
The key elements of Condor’s technology are:
High efficiency two-bladed wind turbines operate at higher running speed than three-bladed turbines and, for a given power rating, the torque on the shaft is considerably lower, resulting in a lighter drive train and therefore in a lighter nacelle. Furthermore the blades of high efficiency two-bladed wind turbines are wider (larger chord and thickness), stronger and more robust than blades of three-bladed wind turbines.
At the core of Condor’s technology is an elastomeric teetering hinge (patent pending) between the two rigidly interconnected blades and the shaft. The teetering hinge reduces dramatically the yaw moments caused by the action of the wind on the rotor and the necessary torque to head the rotor direction, even at high yaw angular acceleration, allowing for controlling the power by yawing instead by pitching the blades. Furthermore the teetering hinge filters out almost all asymmetrical loads coming from the wind and consequently the fatigue loads on the drive train and gearbox are substantially reduced.
Long lived gearbox protected from external loads
The gearbox is completely protected from the low speed side moments by the teetering hinge effect along with a special gear coupling. From the generator side the gearbox is protected from cycling and peak torques by a full power converter, which controls softly and limits the generator restraining torque.
Power control by active yawing
Power control is achieved by yawing the turbine, rather than through controlling the pitch of the turbine blades, as in other turbines. The rotor is kept into the wind till the rated wind speed is reached. Above rated wind, the rotor is turned out of the wind (yawed) to control the rotor running speed, while the full power converter controls the shaft torque and thus the power output.
Full range variable speed
Full power converter and active yawing allow a control strategy (patent pending) of variable speed from cut-in beyond the rated wind speed, enhancing the annual energy output.
Simplicity and robustness
Despite the complexity of the engineering design, the turbines themselves are characterized by the simplicity of their construction and their robustness. Condor turbines will be less prone to failure than most three-bladed turbines, where the main failure mechanisms include failure of the blade pitch control mechanism, blade failure and gearbox problems. Condor’s turbine design eliminates or greatly reduces such sources of failure. With Condor turbines, there is no need for blade pitch control mechanism and turbine blades are less likely to fail as they are wider (larger chord), stronger and more robust. Garrad Hassan, the world’s leading wind turbine consultancy, has demonstrated that fatigue loads on Condor’s drive train are reduced by more than 80% compared to three-bladed turbines of a similar rating.
Designed for maintainability
Condor’s wind turbines were designed for the harshest marine environments, where weather conditions may make access difficult. Ensuring that turbines are robust and easy to maintain is essential to the economic viability of wind farms operating in such environments. Condor’s turbines are easily accessible by air: a helideck is integrated into the roof of nacelle (patent pending) and the turbine blades can be parked in a horizontal position to facilitate safe access by helicopter. The nacelle is spacious, allowing for the inspection and repair of all components. The shaft bearings on the drive chain have split supports and the gearbox casing is removable. An opening in the nacelle bed plate allows even the heaviest of the drive train components to be lowered by a specially designed heavy-duty elevator (patent pending), which also allows for the turbine rotor to be lowered without the need for heavy crane equipment.
The economic case for Condor’s turbines is compelling
Designed for highest wind conditions
Condor’s turbines are classified as IEC Class 1A turbines – turbines designed to be capable of operating in high winds and under turbulent conditions. Condor’s wind turbines will operate safely in environments that are beyond the capabilities of three-bladed turbines.
Superior annual energy production
Condor’s turbine technology is characterised by superior annual energy production compared to three-bladed turbines of a similar rating. Simulations have shown that a Condor turbine could produce at least 5% more energy than a comparable three-bladed turbine operating in similar wind conditions. Condor’s proprietary control system enables the rotor speed to be increased beyond the rated speed, resulting in higher energy output. There are also likely to be fewer outages caused by component failure or maintenance issues.
- Designed for highest wind conditions
Condor’s wind turbines will offer wind farm owners reduced costs at all stages in the turbine’s life cycle.
Condor’s wind turbines are easier and cheaper to manufacture than three-bladed turbines and Condor will pass on savings to its customers. Condor will offer significantly lower prices for its turbines than for current three-bladed turbines of similar power rating.
Condor’s turbines are cheaper to install than three-bladed turbines, particularly in a marine environment. Condor’s turbines are considerably lighter than three-bladed turbines of a similar rating – and consequently easier to assemble. For offshore deployment, no crane ship is needed as Condor will use a foundation which allows a fully assembled turbine to be towed into position before being secured to the seabed using suction buckets – a tried and tested methodology from the offshore oil and gas industry.
Operating and maintenance cost
From the outset, Condor’s turbines were designed to operate in a marine environment under the most demanding weather conditions. Under such conditions, wind turbines must be designed for low maintenance, ease of access, and ease of maintenance. Condor’s turbines are designed to have the lowest maintenance costs in the industry, reducing down time and unplanned outages to a minimum. Operating and maintenance costs for Condor’s turbines operating in a marine environment are expected to be substantially lower than for traditional three-bladed turbines.
- Capital cost