General Electric’s GE Renewable Energy business is introducing a new turbine for the onshore wind-farm market, a 4.8-MW unit with a 158-m rotor that GE calls its “largest, high-efficiency turbine to date.” Labeled the “4.8–158”, the new turbine is the first for GE in the 4-MW turbine class, and reportedly offers a significant improvement in annual energy production compared to the previous, 2-MW and 3-MW turbine series.
The combination of a larger rotor (reportedly, the largest rotor in the equipment class) and tall towers makes it possible for the new turbine to take advantage of higher wind speeds and produce more energy.
"The 4.8–158 design is an important next step in turbine technology and efficiency,” commented Pete McCabe, president & CEO of GE's Onshore Wind Business. “It is well-suited for low-to-medium wind speed regions worldwide, … as well as for mechanisms like auctions, as countries around the world are putting an increased emphasis on lowering the cost of energy."
In addition to the larger rotor, the 4.8–158 has 77-m long, carbon-fiber blades, improved loads and controls, and taller, more cost-effective towers. GE noted all these features were developed by GE's Global Research Center via its partnerships with LM Wind Power and Blade Dynamics and.
As detailed by GE, the blade design illustrates the influence of LM Wind Power, and are the longest onshore blades that new GE holding has developed to-date. LM Wind Power is the Denmark-based blade manufacturer that GE acquired earlier this year for $1.65 million.
The blades “will enable flexibility, allowing GE to offer its customers a high-efficiency product while continuing to drive down LCOE (levelized cost of electricity — a measure for comparing different methods of electricity generation). The blades also feature one of the industry's smallest Bolt Circle Diameters, keeping manufacturing and logistical costs to a minimum,” according to the developer.
The blade design also includes a small “bolt circle diameter,” which the developer claimed will minimize manufacturing and logistical costs.
GE also noted the new onshore turbine demonstrates the effect of data intelligence gathered from more than 30,000 wind turbines it has installed to-date. Data analysis from this base also informs the GE control system.