Reflections on WindEnergy Hamburg: The Summit for On & Offshore Wind
October 08, 2018 | Joshua Hitt, Sr. Product Line Manager
Last week I had the pleasure of attending WindEnergy Hamburg in Germany, the global on & offshore expo for the wind industry. There were exhibitors and attendees from all corners of the globe, including Brazil, Canada and China, among many of the European countries. My impression is that the people in attendance are energized by their work and, like me, appreciate the opportunity to meet with industry stakeholders, colleagues, customers and friends at an event that focuses on the wind industry’s primary challenges and opportunities.
I participated in the Speakers’ Corner and presented "Ultracapacitors: Improving Operational Safety and Reliability in Emergency Pitch Systems.” Ultracapacitors, also called supercapacitors, are fast responding, high power energy storage devices that have the special ability to perform hundreds of thousands of cycles in a much wider operating temperature range than batteries. For nearly 20 years, Maxwell has supported on and offshore wind farms with reliable ultracapacitor energy storage for the crucial emergency pitch control function.
Several individuals approached me after the presentation to tell me their current challenges with managing emergency pitch control backup systems. One field manager shared that he is facing recurring battery failures in the pitch systems, and the batteries are often replaced with unreliable refurbished parts.
This story is not uncommon. Batteries are excellent energy storage devices for a variety of long-term storage applications, but when it comes to applications that require short-term, high power delivery, ultracapacitors excel.
Emergency pitch control requires rapid response time in a short timeframe, reliability in the face of cold and hot environmental conditions, and fail-safe performance even after stretches of non-use/idle time. Ultracapacitors serve the needs of this system, and their resiliency is paramount since they are installed in the difficult-to-access hub of the wind turbine in remote wind farm locations.
Wind farm owners/operators and OEMs have integrated Maxwell’s ultracapacitor energy storage for emergency pitch control because of the technology’s ability to perform reliably for many years. When site managers have dealt with frequent battery replacements and poor reliability, they become enthusiastic when they learn about the benefits of ultracapacitor technology. Minimal to no maintenance efforts on the pitch system’s backup power translates into streamlined operations and more turbine uptime for the wind farm.
Visitors to the Maxwell booth had the chance to explore our retrofit solutions designed for use in GE and Clipper wind turbine pitch systems and our 16-volt and 160-volt ultracapacitor modules. In addition to several questions regarding ultracapacitor performance for emergency pitch control, visitors also inquired about grid energy storage and power smoothing for wind turbines that cause fluctuations on the grid.
This year, Maxwell released its Grid Energy Storage System engineered for high power applications in grids and microgrids, including fast-response and high cycling capability for mitigating millisecond to second timeframe power fluctuations caused by renewable energy penetration. The Grid Energy Storage System is also available as part of the Siemens Static VAR Compensator plus Frequency Stabilizer (SVC PLUS FS) system for reduced risk of grid load shedding and blackout.
I look forward to attending the WindEnergy Hamburg summit in 2020. For the past two decades, wind operators have relied on Maxwell’s ultracapacitor energy storage for high performance emergency pitch control, and our technology is installed in 67,000 turbines worldwide. The wind industry continues to expand as our world shifts from fossil fuels to renewables, and it is our pleasure to partner with wind farms to ensure reliability and efficiency for the critical pitch system function.
Meet with Maxwell at China Windpower October 17-19 in Beijing. We look forward to seeing you there.
NEXT: Cut O&M Costs With Ultracapacitors (Supercapacitors) For Wind Turbine Emergency Pitch Control Systems
Sr. Product Line Manager
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