Adwen and Winergy present the world’s biggest wind turbine gearbox

In  close  cooperation  Adwen  and  Winergy developed  the gearbox  for  Adwen’s  AD  8-180 offshore wind turbine. With an input torque of close to 10,000 kilonewton-meters (kNm) and a weight of 86 tonnes it is the largest wind turbine gearbox ever built in the world.  

Winergy’s  gearbox  was  designed  exclusively  for  the  AD  8-180  wind  turbine.  It  is  part  of  a medium-speed  drive  train  concept that  will  considerably  help  reduce  the  levelized  cost  of  energy  (LCOE)  on  Adwen’s  new  offshore  giant.  At  180  meters  the  AD  8-180  boasts  the world’s largest-diameter rotor. In combination with a nominal electrical power of 8 megawatts the gearbox attains an input torque of close to 10,000 kNm – a value never before equaled. This  70  percent  increase  in  torque  capacity  was  achieved with  only  a  20  percent  weight  increase compared to other gearboxes used in offshore wind turbines larger than 6 MW.

The  two-stage-planetary  gearbox  is  directly  connected  to  a  medium-speed  generator  via  a  flange connection. Thanks to the choice of a medium-speed gearbox concept and leveraging on   proven   technologies   well   known   by   both   companies,  Adwen   and   Winergy   can   successfully  maximize  the  efficiency  of  the  drive  train,  while  cutting  the  cost  of  the  components.  In  tests  the  gearbox  attains  an  efficiency  of  well  over  98  percent.  Further,  by  reducing the built-in components its reliability increases.

Winergy  has  manufactured  4  gearboxes  for  Adwen  with  the  goal  of  having  them  fully  validated in three phases. The first one takes place at Winergy on modified test bench which is  being  used  for  the  back-to-back  testing  of  two  identical  gearboxes  with  up to  125%  over  loading.  Adwen’s  validation  process,  the  most  stringent  ever  taken  on  a  gearbox  and  drivetrain  this  size, requires  these  tests  to  guarantee  maximum  reliability  of  such  a  critical  component.

The second phase takes place at Fraunhofer IWES Test Center’s Dynamic Nacelle Testing Laboratory  where  the  gearbox  undergoes exhaustive  tests  in  combination  of  full  drivetrain  and  nacelle.  The  final  phase  is  field  tests  with  the  installation  of  the  AD  8-180  prototype  in  Bremerhaven (Germany).

“We continue pushing the limits of the industry with our AD 8-180, this time with the largest gearbox ever built. This key component has performed extremely well during the exhaustive validation process which makes us confident the first prototype of the turbine will meet and even exceed our expectations in terms of performance and reliability when it is installed. In addition,  as  the  rest  of  the  main components,  it  has  been  designed  with  scalability  in  mind  enabling the future evolution of the platform”, explained Luis Alvarez, CEO of Adwen.

Winergy  CEO  Aarnout  Kant  adds,  “Particularly  in  the  offshore  sector  reliability  is  the  essential  thing.  With  this medium-speed  gearbox  concept  we  are  demonstrating  our  technological expertise and innovative strength. The integrated drive system is not only very compact and efficient, it is also extremely reliable. It makes us proud to be Adwen’s partner on this showcase project.”

The world’s biggest wind-turbine gearbox at WindEnergy Hamburg

The  exceptional  dimensions  of  the  gearbox  designed  for  the  AD  8-180  wind  turbine  will  be  showcased at the leading fair WindEnergy in Hamburg, Germany, from September 27 to 30. The 1:1-scale exhibit will be the highlight of the Winergy booth. Visitors will be able to view the gearbox’s interior equipped with journal bearings.