China is known for its ambitious and innovative projects in the field of renewable energy. One of these projects was the installation of a special wind turbine with two rotors arranged in tandem, which was expected to increase the wind energy capture efficiency and power generation capacity significantly. However, the project ended in failure after only two months of operation. What happened to this unique wind turbine and what can we learn from it?
The Dual Rotor Wind Turbine Concept
The dual rotor wind turbine, also known as the Huaneng Sairui, was developed by the Huaneng Group, a Chinese company that specializes in wind power equipment. The turbine was erected at the Huaneng Jilin Tongyu wind farm in Jilin, China, as part of a national research and development project. The turbine had a rated power of 2.7 megawatts and two rotors . The idea behind this design was to increase the wind energy capture efficiency by using the wake of the front rotor to enhance the performance of the rear rotor. According to the company, the wind energy capture efficiency of the dual rotor wind turbine was more than 15% higher than that of traditional wind turbines, and the size of the blade was reduced by nearly half, which means that in wind farms of the same area, the number of units and power generation capacity could be increased by more than 50%.
The Installation and Operation of the Turbine
The installation of the dual rotor wind turbine was a challenging task, as it required a 1,000-ton crane to lift the 170-ton nacelle, the 111-ton tower part, and the 50-ton complete rotor. The turbine was installed in June 2023 and started to operate shortly after. The turbine was also equipped with advanced control systems and algorithms to coordinate the operation of the two rotors and ensure proper synchronization, power output management, and blade pitch control.
The Failure and Investigation of the Turbine
However, the operation of the dual rotor wind turbine did not last long. In August 2023, the turbine failed and caught fire, causing a huge loss for the company and the project. The failure of the turbine was captured on video, which showed smoke erupting from the nacelle. The company did not disclose the cause of the failure, but some experts speculated that it could be related to the increased complexity of the design, the structural stress of the components, the interference of the wind flow, or the malfunction of the control systems. The company said that it would conduct a thorough investigation and analysis of the failure and learn from the experience.
The Future of the Dual Rotor Wind Turbine
The failure of the dual rotor wind turbine was a setback for the Huaneng Group and the Chinese wind power industry, but it was also a valuable lesson for the development of renewable energy. The dual rotor wind turbine concept is still a novel and promising idea that could potentially improve the efficiency and capacity of wind power generation. However, it also faces several technical and economic challenges that need to be overcome. The Huaneng Group said that it would continue to explore and innovate in the field of wind power and contribute to the green and low-carbon development of China. The dual rotor wind turbine may have had a short life, but it was a life of innovation and inspiration.