Wind Turbine

February 27th, 2008 § 1 comment

I ran across this video this morning on Engadget, and I find it fascinating. This particular windmill happens to be in Denmark. Apparently, the manufacturer, Vestas (which is a Danish company), is now the target of an investigation by the Danish government. According to this article, wind turbines made by Vestas have collapsed elsewhere recently, too.

I wonder how this happens? Perhaps it’s a brake failure, though the speed of the blades suggests that the drive shaft is disconnected from the generator, though I have no idea if that’s possible.

Update: This post has generated the most commentary from my friends and family of anything I’ve put here in some time:

My dad says:

Interesting. Looks to be a good breeze blowing. [I believe the] control system for these things is supposed to feather the blades as a function of generator speed (and so wind speed) so that the generator speed stays within design limits. When they don’t then the generator runs way too fast. If it goes on for too long the generator’s bearings will seize – and the result is predictable!

And my friend John says:

…apparently the pitch control motor failed
so they could not adjust pitch the prop in order to adjust the speed.
I am sure the generator tripping did not help as it was likely out of
frequency tolerance as then [the] mechanical load would have also
disappeared.

And my mum delivered the goods with maybe the most relevant:

  That could have been embarrassing!

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