How Does a Wind Turbine Work? With GE’s New ecoROTR, Better than Ever
GE, June 9, 2015. Image credit: thefly
GE calls the experimental design the ecoROTR and the company started testing it here last month. If the experiments confirm wind tunnel data, the 20,000-pound dome could lead to larger and more efficient turbines for windy locations that are currently too hard to reach for the industry. “As far as I know, there’s nothing like this in the world,” Bowman says. “This could be a game changer.”
“When we crunched the numbers, we saw up to a 3 percent increase in performance,” Bowman says. “It doesn’t seem like much, but it’s potentially a lot when you apply the savings across an entire wind farm with dozens of turbines.”
The team attached the experimental dome, which is 60 feet in diameter, to a 1.7-megawatt wind turbine, one of GE’s most powerful machines, sitting on top of a 300-foot tower. Like the dome, the tower is also a prototype. Instead of traditional steel tubes, its “space-frame” design uses metal latticework wrapped in a polyester weave coat. The girders can be loaded inside shipping containers and onto ordinary trucks, and bolted together in places that were previously hard to reach.