Published on Design Revolution (http://designrevolution.org)

World's First Maglev Wind Generator

By Joshua Arnow
Created 2006-08-20 03:00

Chinese developers unveiled the world's first full-permanent magnetic levitation (Maglev) wind power generator at the Wind Power Asia Exhibition 2006 held June 28 in Beijing. Magnetic levitation, maglev, or magnetic suspension is a method [1] by which an object is suspended above another object [2] with no support other than magnetic fields [3]. The electromagnetic force [4] is used to counteract the effects of the gravitational force [5].

Regarded as a key breakthrough in the evolution of global wind power technology — and a notable advance in independent intellectual property rights in China—the generator was jointly developed by Guangzhou Energy Research Institute under China’s Academy of Sciences and by Guangzhou Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Science & Technology Co., Ltd. The Maglev generator is expected to boost wind energy generating capacity by as much as 20 percent over traditional wind turbines. This would effectively cut the operational expenses of wind farms by up to half, keeping the overall cost of wind power under 0.4 yuan ($US 5 cents), according to Guokun Li, the chief scientific developer of the new technology. Further, the Maglev is able to utilize winds with starting speeds as low as 1.5 meters per second (m/s), and cut-in speeds of 3 m/s, the chief of Zhongke Energy was quoted as saying at the exhibition. When compared with the operational hours of existing wind turbines, the new technology will add an additional 1,000 hours of operation annually to wind power plants in areas with an average wind speed of 3 m/s.

Via worldwatch.org [6]
Photo Caption/Credit: Using magnetic levitation for a frictionless air bearing [7]

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