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nTop Week: Engineering Design – Student Design Winner – Austin Hayes

Challenge

Reducing the Mass of Wind Turbine Generators with Implicit Modeling

University

University of Colorado, Boulder

Project Description

Direct drive wind turbine generators have been advantageous to the wind industry due to improved efficiencies and reduced maintenance by removing a gearbox. However, to produce the same power at lower speeds without a gearbox, the generator diameter must increase which leads to a substantial mass increase. Think 220 tons of steel for a 5MW generator with a 6m diameter. Up to 80% of this mass is structural support to withstand the forces in the generator. TPMS lattices offer a means of light-weighting.

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