Clemson University in South Carolina will test the world’s most powerful wind turbine designed by MHI Vestas Offshore Wind, at the university’s state-of-the-art SCE&G Energy Innovation Center. The center is located at the former U.S. Naval Base in North Charleston.
“We are delighted to have found such world-class facilities to carry out vital testing of the world’s most powerful wind turbine,” said Jakob Søbye, senior director of technology at MHI Vestas. “The testing and verification of the gearbox and bearings will allow us to optimize the performance and reliability of the wind turbine.”
The V164-9.5 MW wind turbine is the turbine most likely to be used for the first round of major offshore wind projects in the United States.
“MHI Vestas’ decision to partner with Clemson to test its most powerful wind turbine is a testament to the expertise of our faculty and staff working at the test facility,” said Robert Jones, Clemson executive vice president for academic affairs and provost. “The work that will be done as result of this partnership also will further Clemson’s efforts to establish the university as a leader in technologies related to the production of alternative energy sources, and hopefully will lead to further research and economic engagement opportunities for Clemson.”
The testing will allow MHI Vestas to gain a better understanding of how the 9.5 MW gearbox and bearings will react over the course of a 20-plus year lifecycle.
The $35 million total project investment will direct as much as $23 million over five years to Clemson and stimulate the employment of a dozen high-tech jobs.
The deal with Clemson University marks MHI Vestas Offshore Wind’s first major investment in the United States. It is anticipated that visitors from around the world will come to Clemson to see the test setup.
MHI Vestas testing footprint includes facilities in Denmark (Århus and Lindø), the United Kingdom (Isle of Wight) and now a relationship with the Clemson University facility in the U.S.
In November 2009, the U.S. Department of Energy awarded Clemson University in South Carolina the largest grant in the university’s history to build and operate a facility to test next-generation wind-turbine drivetrain technology. The 82,000-square-foot facility was designed to house not only the wind-turbine drivetrain testing facility, but also grid integration studies.
Space in the Energy Innovation Center is designed for public-private partnerships to house Clemson University personnel and students with company partners. The Energy Innovation Center can test drivetrains on two test rigs: one up to 7.5 megawatts and the other up to 15 megawatts.
The $98 million testing facility was funded by a $45 million Energy Department grant and matched by $53 million of public and private funds. The grant’s objective is to accelerate development of new technology for the wind market to reduce the cost of energy. The facility’s mission is to provide high value, high quality and cost-competitive testing services to industry, and to establish long-term workforce development, research and education partnerships.
Caption: MHI Vestas Offshore Wind’s V164-9.5 MW wind turbine will be tested at Clemson University’s SCE&G Energy Innovation Center in North Charleston. Image Credit: Clemson University Relation