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Published in IET Renewable Power Generation Received on 24th January 2007 Revised on 23rd August 2007 doi: 10.1049/iet-rpg:20070044

ISSN 1752-1416

Overview of different wind generator systems and their comparisons


H. Li* Z. Chen
Institute of Energy Technology, Aalborg University, Aalborg East DK-9220, Denmark *H. Li is also with the College of Electrical Engineering, Chongqing University, Chongqing 400044, Peoples Republic of China E-mail: zch@iet.aau.dk

Abstract: With rapid development of wind power technologies and significant growth of wind power capacity installed worldwide, various wind turbine concepts have been developed. The wind energy conversion system is demanded to be more cost-competitive, so that comparisons of different wind generator systems are necessary. An overview of different wind generator systems and their comparisons are presented. First, the contemporary wind turbines are classified with respect to both their control features and drive train types, and their strengths and weaknesses are described. The promising permanent magnet generator types are also investigated. Then, the quantitative comparison and market penetration of different wind generator systems are presented. Finally, the developing trends of wind generator systems and appropriate comparison criteria are discussed. It is shown that variable speed concepts with power electronics will continue to dominate and be very promising technologies for large wind farms. The future success of different wind turbine concepts may strongly depend on their ability of complying with both market expectations and the requirements of grid utility companies.

Introduction

Wind energy is the worlds fastest growing renewable energy source. The average annual growth rate of wind turbine installation is around 30% during last 10 years [1, 2]. At the end of 2006, the global wind electricitygenerating capacity increased to 74 223 MW from 59 091 MW in 2005 (Fig. 1). By the end of 2020, it is expected that this figure will have increased to well over 1 260 000 MW, which will be sufficient for 12% of the worlds electricity consumption [3, 4]. Fig. 2 depicts the total wind power installed capacity for some countries from 1985 to 2006. The countries with the highest total installed capacity are Germany (20 622 MW), Spain (11 615 MW), the USA (11 603 MW), India (6270 MW) and Denmark (3136 MW). According to global wind energy council report [2], Europe continues to lead the market with 48 545 MW of installed capacity at the end of 2006, representing 65% of the global total, and the European wind energy association has set a target of satisfying 23% European electricity needs with wind energy by 2030. It is clear that the
IET Renew. Power Gener., 2008, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 123 138 doi: 10.1049/iet-rpg:20070044

global market for the electrical power produced by wind turbine generators has been increasing steadily, which directly pushes the wind technology into a more competitive area. The development of modern wind power conversion technology has been going on since 1970s, and the rapid development has been seen from 1990s. Various wind turbine concepts have been developed and different wind generators have been built. Three types of typical generator systems for large wind turbines exist [3, 5 7]. The first type is a fixed-speed wind turbine system using a multi-stage gearbox and a standard squirrel-cage induction generator (SCIG), directly connected to the grid. The second type is a variable speed wind turbine system with a multi-stage gearbox and a doubly fed induction generator (DFIG), where the power electronic converter feeding the rotor winding has a power rating of  30% of the generator capacity; the stator winding of the DFIG is directly connected to the grid. The third type is also a variable speed wind turbine, but it is a gearless wind
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developments of wind generator systems are presented, and suitable comparison criteria of different wind generator systems are also discussed.

2 Wind turbine concepts and generator types


Referring to the rotation speed, wind turbine concepts can be classified into fixed speed, limited variable speed and variable speed. For variable speed wind turbines, based on the rating of power converter related to the generator capacity, they can be further classified into wind generator systems with a partialscale and a full-scale power electronic converter. In addition, considering the drive train components, the wind turbine concepts can be classified into geareddrive and direct-drive wind turbines. In geared-drive wind turbines, one conventional configuration is a multiple-stage gear with a high-speed generator; the other one is the multibrid concept which has a singlestage gear and a low-speed generator [8]. In this section, according to contemporary wind turbine concepts, the basic configurations and characteristics of different wind generator systems are described.

Figure 1 World cumulative wind power installed capacity (1980 2006)

turbine system with a direct-drive generator, normally a low-speed high-torque synchronous generator and a full-scale power electronic converter are used. Additionally, a variety of innovative concepts of wind turbines appear, for example, an interesting alternative may be a mixed solution with a gearbox and a smaller low speed permanent magnet synchronous generator (PMSG) [79], because direct-drive wind generators are becoming larger and even more expensive for increasing power levels and decreasing rotor speeds. The main aim of this paper is to provide an overall perspective on various types of existing wind generator systems and possible generator configurations, and some comparisons of different wind generator systems in literatures and in the market. The paper is organised as follows. First, it gives an overview of various wind turbine concepts with respect to both their control ability and drive train types, including possible types of direct-drive permanent magnet (PM) machines. Then the quantitative comparisons of different wind generator systems based on some available technical data from literatures are presented, including their market penetration and share. Finally, the trends and

2.1 Fixed speed concept


The fixed speed wind generator systems have been used with a multiple-stage gearbox and a SCIG directly connected to the grid through a transformer as illustrated in Fig. 3. Because the SCIG operates only in a narrow range around the synchronous speed, the wind turbine equipped with this type of generator is often called the fixed-speed wind generator system. This is the conventional concept applied by many Danish wind turbine manufacturers during the 1980s and 1990s, that is, an upwind, stall-regulated, three-bladed wind turbine concept using an SCIG [3, 10], so that it is also referred to as Danish concept. Since the SCIG always draws reactive power from the grid, during the 1980s this concept was extended with a capacitor bank for reactive power compensation. Smoother grid connection was also achieved by incorporating a soft-starter. Furthermore, a pole-changeable SCIG has been used, which leads two rotation speeds. Some manufacturers, such as Micon (currently merged into Vestas), Bonus (currently Siemens), Made and Nordex, have products based on this concept.

Figure 2 Total cumulative wind power installed capacity for different countries (1980 2006) 124 & The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2008

Figure 3 Scheme of a fixed speed concept with SCIG system IET Renew. Power Gener., 2008, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 123 138 doi: 10.1049/iet-rpg:20070044

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The well-known advantages of SCIG are it is robust, easy and relatively cheap for mass production. In addition, it enables stall-regulated machines to operate at a constant speed when it is connected to a large grid, which provides a stable control frequency. Although the stall control method is usually used in combination with the fixed speed SCIG for power control, the active stall control or pitch control have also been applied. The disadvantages of SCIG for the fixed speed wind turbine concept are as follows [3, 10 15]. The speed is not controllable and variable only over a very narrow range, in which only speeds higher than the synchronous speed are possible for generator operation. Because a higher slip means a higher dissipation of electrical energy in the rotor bars, for example, the slip is normally not higher than 1% for 1 MW wind turbine [11]. Additionally, the fixed speed concept means that wind speed fluctuations are directly translated into electromechanical torque variations, this causes high mechanical and fatigue stresses on the system (turbine blades, gearbox and generator) and may result in swing oscillations between turbine and generator shaft. Also the periodical torque dips because of the tower shadow and shear effect are not damped by speed variations and result in higher flicker. Furthermore, the turbine speed cannot be adjusted with the wind speed to optimise the aerodynamic efficiency. Although a pole-changeable SCIG has been used in some commercial wind turbines, it does not provide continuous speed variations. A three-stage gearbox in the drive train is necessary for this wind turbine concept. Gearboxes represent a large mass in the nacelle, and also a large fraction of the investment costs. It is necessary to obtain the excitation current from the stator terminal of SCIG. This makes it impossible to support grid voltage control. In most cases, capacitors are connected in parallel to the generator to compensate for the reactive power consumption.

Figure 4 Scheme of a limited variable speed concept with WRIG system (Optislip)

The stator of WRIG is directly connected to the grid, whereas the rotor winding is connected in series with a controlled resistor. Variable-speed operation can be achieved by controlling the energy extracted from the WRIG rotor; however, this power must be dissipated in the external resistor. With the increase in variable speed range, a higher slip means a high power extracted by the rotor, and the lower generator efficiency, so that the rating of the resistor must also be higher. Therefore the dynamic speed control range depends on the size of the variable rotor resistance, and the energy extracted from the external resistor is also dumped as heat loss in the controllable rotor resistance. A typical limited variable speed range is less than 10% above the synchronous speed [3, 10, 12]. Additionally, the slip rings may be avoided, for example, the wind turbine manufacturer Vestas built the power converter and resistor on the rotor, the control signals are transmitted to the rotating electronics by an optical coupling. Furthermore, reactive power compensation and a soft-starter are also required for this concept.

2.3 Variable speed concept with a partial-scale power converter


This configuration is known as the DFIG concept, which corresponds to a variable speed wind turbine with a WRIG and a partial-scale power converter on the rotor circuit, as illustrated in Fig. 5. The stator is directly connected to the grid, whereas the rotor is connected through a power electronic converter. The power converter controls the rotor frequency and thus the rotor speed. This concept supports a wide speed range operation, depending on the size of the frequency converter. Typically, the variable speed range is +30% around the synchronous speed [3, 10 13]. The rating of the power electronic converter is only 25 30% of the generator capacity, which makes this concept attractive and popular from an economic point of view. There are many manufacturers, such as Vestas, Gamesa, Repower,

2.2 Limited variable speed concept


The limited variable speed concept with a multiple-stage gearbox is also known as the Optislip concept, which has been applied by the Danish manufacturer Vestas since the mid 1990s [10, 11]. This wind turbine concept uses a wound rotor induction generator (WRIG) with variable rotor resistance by means of a power electronic converter and the pitch control method, as shown in Fig. 4. Presently, manufacturers of Vestas and Suzlon have products based on this concept.
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Figure 5 Scheme of a variable speed concept with DFIG system 125

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Nordex, using this concept in the market. The largest capacity for the commercial wind turbine product with DFIG has been up to 5 MW from Repower. Compared with the Optislip concept, the rotor energy, instead of being dissipated, can be fed into the grid by the power electronic converter. Moreover, the power converter system can perform reactive power compensation and smooth grid connection, for example, the grid-side converter can control its reactive power, independently of the generator operation; this allows the performance of voltage support towards the grid. However, the DFIG system has the following disadvantages [3, 10, 12, 15]. A multi-stage gearbox is still necessary in the drive train because the speed range for DFIG is far from a common turbine speed of 10 25 rpm. A gearbox is inevitable to have some drawbacks, such as heat dissipation from friction, regular maintenance and audible noise. The slip ring is used to transfer the rotor power by means of a partial-scale converter, which requires a regular maintenance, and maybe result in machine failures and electrical losses. Under grid fault conditions, on the one hand, large stator currents result in large rotor currents, so that the power electronic converter needs to be protected from destroy; on the other hand, large stator peak currents may cause high torque loads on the drive train of wind turbines. According to grid connection requirements for wind turbines, in case of grid disturbances, a ride-through capability of DFIG is also required, so that the corresponding control strategies may be complicated. flux density limitations, a higher torque also requires a larger machines volume, so that the torque density could not be further significantly increased. To increase the efficiency, to reduce the weight of the active parts and to keep the end winding losses small, direct-drive generators are usually designed with a large diameter and small pole pitch [16, 17]. In addition, the advantages of direct-drive wind turbines are the simplified drive train, the high overall efficiency, the high reliability and availability by omitting the gearbox. Compared with the variable speed concept with a partial-scale power converter, the full-scale power converter can perform smooth grid connection over the entire speed range. However, it has a higher cost and a higher power loss in the power electronics, since all the generated power has to pass through the power converter. Basically, types of direct-drive generators used in the market can be classified into the electrically excited synchronous generator (EESG) and the PMSG. The main features of EESG are described in Section 2.4.1. The features of different topologies of PMSG are presented in Section 2.4.2. 2.4.1 Electrically excited synchronous generator: The EESG is usually built with a rotor carrying the field system provided with a DC excitation. The stator carries a three-phase winding quite similar to that of the induction machine. The rotor may have salient poles or may be cylindrical. Salient poles are more usual in low-speed machines and may be the most useful version for application to direct-drive wind turbines. A grid connection scheme of EESG for direct-drive wind turbines is shown in Fig. 6. The amplitude and frequency of the voltage can be fully controlled by the power electronic at the generator side, so that the generator speed is fully controllable over a wide range, even to very low speeds. In addition, the EESG has the opportunities of controlling the flux for a minimised loss in different power ranges, because the excitation current can be controlled by means of the power converter in the rotor side. Moreover, it does not require the use of PMs, which would represent a large fraction of the generator costs, and might suffer from performance loss in harsh atmospheric conditions. Therefore it is the mostly used direct-drive generator type in the

2.4 Variable speed direct-drive concept with a full-scale power converter


This configuration may correspond to a variable speed wind turbine with a direct-drive generator connected to the grid through a full-scale power converter. The most important difference between geared drive wind turbines and direct-drive types is the generator rotor speed. The direct-drive generator rotates at a low speed, because the generator rotor is directly connected on the hub of the turbine rotor. To deliver a certain power, the lower speed makes it necessary to produce a higher torque. A higher torque means a larger size of the generator. Therefore for direct-drive generators, the low speed and high torque operation require multi-poles, which demand a larger diameter for implementation of large number of poles with a reasonable pitch. Moreover, for a larger direct-drive generator, considering on the current loading and gap
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Figure 6 Scheme of a direct-drive EESG system IET Renew. Power Gener., 2008, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 123 138 doi: 10.1049/iet-rpg:20070044

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current market [14]. The typical manufacturer is Enercon, the largest capacity of the direct-drive EESG has been up to 4.5 MW (E-112). Including the disadvantages of direct-drive wind turbines compared with geared-drive wind turbines, some disadvantages of direct-drive EESG systems can be summarised as follows [16, 17]. In order to arrange space for excitation windings and pole shoes, the pole pitch has to be large enough for the large diameter-specific design, so a larger number of parts and windings probably make it a heavy weight and expensive solution. It is necessary to excite the rotor winding with DC, using slip rings and brushes, or brushless exciter, employing a rotating rectifier, and the field losses are inevitable. 2.4.2 PM synchronous generator: The scheme of a grid-connected PMSG for direct-drive wind turbines is shown in Fig. 7. The advantages of PM machines over electrically excited machines can be summarised as follows according to literatures [16 23]: higher efficiency and energy yield, no additional power supply for the magnet field excitation, improvement in the thermal characteristics of the PM machine due to the absence of the field losses, higher reliability due to the absence of mechanical components such as slip rings, lighter and therefore higher power to weight ratio. However, PM machines have some disadvantages, which can be summarised as follows: high cost of PM material, difficulties to handle in manufacture, demagnetisation of PM at high temperature. In recent years, the use of PMs is more attractive than before, because the performance of PMs is improving and the cost of PM is decreasing. The trends make PM machines with a full-scale power converter more attractive for direct-drive wind turbines. Currently, Zephyros (currently Harakosan) and Mitsubishi are using this concept in 2 MW wind turbines in the market. PM machines are not standard off-the-shelf machines and they allow a great deal of flexibility in their geometry, so that various topologies may be used. PM machines can be classified into the following types: radial flux, the axial flux and the transversal flux, based on the direction of flux penetration. Some basic structures and features from literatures [1628] are briefly described and summarised as follows. Radial-flux PM machines: The PMs of radial-flux machines are radically oriented. When using radial-flux PM (RFPM) machines for direct-drive wind turbines, the wind generator system can operate with a good performance over a wide range of speeds. In manufacture, the simple way of constructing the machine with high number of poles is gluing PMs on the rotor surface. In RFPM machines, the length of the machine and the air-gap diameter can be chosen independently. If necessary, the radial-flux machine can be made with a small diameter by using a long machine. RFPM machines have advantages as a better torque density than the EESG, so that some types of RFPM machines have been discussed in a number of literatures. Two types of RFPM machines, the slotted surfacemounted PM machine and the slotted fluxconcentrating PM machine, have been mostly discussed in references [16, 23]. One rotor design with surfacemounted magnets and one rotor design with flux concentration are shown in Fig. 8. Compared with the flux concentration, magnets on the rotor surface have to have a remanent flux density higher than the required air-gap flux density, this leads to a very simple rotor design with a low weight. References [16, 17, 20, 27] discussed RFPM machines with surface-mounted magnet, which seems to be a good choice for the design of large-scale direct-drive wind turbines [16, 17]. RFPM machines with flux concentration have been discussed and compared with surface-mounted RFPM machines in [26, 29]. In addition, Chen et al. [20] have presented an outer rotor design for this type of generator in stand-alone applications. Several advantages of the outer-rotor RFPM machine were identified in this reference; for example, compared with the inner-rotor construction, the multi-pole structure can be easily accommodated because of the enlarged periphery of the outer-rotor
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Figure 7 Scheme of a direct-drive PMSG system IET Renew. Power Gener., 2008, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 123 138 doi: 10.1049/iet-rpg:20070044

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Figure 8 Basic configurations of RFPM machines


a Surface mounted b Flux concentrating

drum, and therefore the total length of the magnetic path can be reduced. As the rotor is directly exposed to the wind, the cooling condition can be improved for the magnets so that the resistance to temperature demagnetisation is enhanced. Moreover, Chen et al. [19] have also made a comparison of different PM wind generator topologies. In addition, Hanitsch and Korouji [21] have designed a rare-earth RFPM wind-energy generator with a new topology, which is constructed from two rotors and one stator with short end windings. It can improve the performance of the machine by reducing the weight, increasing the efficiency and reducing the cost of active materials. Axial-flux PM machines: The axial-flux PM (AFPM) machine is a machine producing magnetic flux in the axial direction, instead of the radial direction. Two types of AFPM machines, the slotless and slotted surface-mounted PM, have been mostly discussed in references. Compared with RFPM machines, the advantages of AFPM machines can be summarised as follows: simple winding, low cogging torque and noise (in slotless machine), short axial length, higher torque/volume ratio. However, the disadvantages of AFPM machines in comparison with RFPM machines are as follows [23, 27]: lower torque/mass ratio larger outer diameter, large amount of PM and structural instability (in slotless machine) difficulty to maintain air gap in large diameter (in slotted machine) difficulty in production of stator core (in slotted machine).
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The possibility and potential of AFPM machines for large-scale direct-drive wind turbines have been discussed, and some different structures of AFPM machines with surface-mounted PM have also been presented in some references [19, 22, 26]. The slotless single stator double rotor is a typical structure of slotless AFPM machines, which is often referred to as a Torus machine, as shown in Fig. 9 [22]. The two rotor discs are made of mild steel and have surface-mounted PM to produce an axially directed magnetic field in the machine air gaps. The machine stator comprises a slotless toroidally wound strip-iron core that carries a three-phase winding in a toroidal fashion by means of concentrated coils. The slotless, toroidal-stator AFPM generator has been also discussed with several advantages, such as the lightness, the compactness, the short axial length, the suitable integration with the engine and others by Spooner and Chalmers [30] and Wu et al. [31, 32], the machines short axial length tends to give it a high power to weight ratio. Parviainen [26] has presented an analytical method to perform the preliminary design of a surface-mounted, low-speed, slotted AFPM machine with one-rotor two-stator configuration, as shown in Fig. 10. The performance and construction between the low-speed radial flux and axial flux PM machine were also compared in the power range from 10 to 500 kW at 150 600 rpm [26]. Moreover, five different topologies of AFPM machines, a double-stator slotted type, a double-rotor slotted type, a single-sided AFPM with stator balance,

Figure 9 Slotless configuration [22]

single-stator

double-rotor

AFPM

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Figure 10 Slotted configuration [26]

double-stator

single-rotor

AFPM Figure 11 Surface-mounted transverse-flux PM structure [16]

a single-sided AFPM with rotor balance and a slotless single-stator double-rotor (Torus machine), have been investigated and compared with RFPM machines by Chen et al. [19]. According to [19], the two-sided AFPM machine is superior to the one-sided AFPM machine; however, one-sided constructions use less copper and have a lower conduction loss. The Torus construction is simple; however, it requires more magnet weight because of the presence of the additional air gap for accommodating stator windings. As the power rating increases, both the air gap and air gap reluctance become larger, so that this construction is more suitable for low power rating wind generators. In addition, the potential application of soft magnetic composite (SMC) material applied to the low speed, direct-drive axial flux PM wind generator was also discussed by Chen et al. Comparative design studies were conducted on different configuration PM generators with both lamination core and SMC core [33]. Transversal-flux PM machines: The transverse-flux principle means that the path of the magnetic flux is perpendicular to the direction of the rotor rotation. There are also some different rotor structures for this technology, such as the rotor with single-sided surface magnets with single-sided flux concentration and with double-sided flux concentration. Fig. 11 shows the configuration of a surface-mounted transverse-flux PMSG [12]. A transverse flux PM (TFPM) machine is a synchronous machine in nature, and it will function in a manner similar to any other PMSG in principle. Compared with longitudinal machines, TFPM machines have some advantages, such as higher force density, considerably low copper losses and simple winding. However, the force density of TFPM machines with large air gap may be a little high or even low depending on the outside diameter [16, 23]. The construction of TFPM machines is much more complicated than longitudinal flux machines. Compared with RFPM or AFPM machines, a major difference is that TFPM machines allow an increase in the space for the simple windings without decreasing the available space for the main flux, and so that the
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machines have very low copper losses. TFPM machines can also be made with a very small pole pitch; however, the electromagnetic structure is much more complicated. TFPM machines have also the low power factor, which leads to an increase in the necessary rating of the power electronic converter. TFPM machines have been discussed in a number of references [16, 23, 27, 34]. References [16, 27] show that the weight of a 55 kW TFPM machine is about half of the total weight of an asynchronous machine with a gearbox. TFPM machines seem to be suitable for direct-drive applications because of the high specific torque, although special methods of manufacturing and assembly are required [23]. Harris et al. [34] compared the advantages and disadvantages of three different TFPM machine topologies, which include a single-sided surface-mounted PM machine, a single-sided surface-mounted PM machine with stator bridges and a double-sided flux concentrating PM machine [34].

2.5 Variable speed single-stage geared concept with a full-scale power converter
In this scheme, a variable speed pitch control wind turbine is connected to a single-stage planetary gearbox that increases the speed by a factor of roughly 10 and a low-speed permanent-magnet generator. The grid connection scheme of this concept is shown in Fig. 12. This concept, which was introduced as the Multibrid, has gained the attention because it has the advantages of a higher speed than the direct-drive concept and a lower mechanical component than the multiple-stage gearbox concept. Wind turbine

Figure 12 Scheme of a single-stage drive PMSG system with a full-scale converter 129

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manufacturers, such as Multibrid and WinWind, have products based on this concept in the market. Furthermore, the Clipper system, a single-stage gearbox with multiple output shafts that drive a number of medium speed, medium-torque PMSGs, has also been introduced. Each of the generator outputs is connected to a dedicated power electronic converter. Currently, the Clipper system concept is used in the market with the rated power of 2.5 MW (four 660 kW PMSGs) [35]

Figure 14 Scheme of a multiple-stage geared SCIG system with a full-scale converter

2.6 Variable speed multiple-stage geared concept with a full-scale power converter
2.6.1 PMSG system: A PMSG system with a multiplegearbox is used in order to reduce the generators volume and improve the generator efficiency in variable speed wind turbine concepts with a full-scale power converter. Fig. 13 shows the grid connection scheme of this concept. Compared with the DFIG system, this wind generator system has the following advantages. The generator has a better efficiency. The generator can be brushless. The grid-fault ride-through capability is less complex. And the following disadvantages: larger, more expensive converter (100% of rated power instead of 30%), The losses in the converter are higher because all powers are processed by the power electronic converter. In the market, this configuration has been used in GE multi-megawatt series. 2.6.2 SCIG system: In order to fulfill the variable speed operation with an SCIG, an alternative generator system that might replace the capacitor bank and soft-starter of Danish concept is a variable speed multiple-stage geared SCIG with a full-scale converter, as shown in Fig. 14.

Compared with Danish concept as mentioned above, this concept has advantages of the flexible control with a full-scale power, such as variable speed operation, better performances of reactive power compensation and smooth grid connection. However, its disadvantage is the high cost and losses of the fullscale converter, the efficiency of the total system (gearbox induction generator and converter) may be low. Presently, Siemens is using this concept with the rated power of 3.6 MW (Bonus 107) in the market, and the generator speed range is designed to be 595 1547 rpm. The decreasing cost of power electronics (roughly a factor of 10 over the past 10 years) and the absence of brushes may make variable speed multiple-stage geared concepts (both PMSG and SCIG as mentioned above) more attractive.

2.7 Other potential generator types for different wind turbine concepts
Many other types of wind generators are also mentioned in literatures, such as linear induction generators [36], switched reluctance generators [37], claw-pole generators [36]; brushless DFIGs (BDFIGs) [36, 38]. Among them, the BDFIG may be one of the most innovative types. A grid connection scheme of the wind turbine concept with BDFIG is shown in Fig. 15. For this configuration, the output of the induction generator is directly connected to the grid, and thus the generator output frequency must be equal to the grid frequency. The BDFIG does not need the slip ring; however, it requires double stator windings, with different number of poles in both stator layers. The second stator layer generally has lower copper mass, because only a part of the generator nominal current flows in the second winding. This second stator winding is connected through a power electronic

Figure 13 Scheme of a multiple-stage geared PMSG system with a full-scale converter 130 & The Institution of Engineering and Technology 2008

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converter, which is rated at only a fraction of the wind turbine rating. The BDFIG system has the capability of realising the variable speed operation and independently controls the stator active and reactive power. Compared with the DFIG system, this concept does not require slip rings; however, the machine operation principle and its assembly are relatively complex. concept, or 10 15% more than the fixed single-speed concept. Some comparisons between the direct-drive PMSG and the geared-drive traditional SCIG of commercial 500 kW wind turbines have been performed by Annon. [39]. The detailed results are given in Table 2. As it can be observed in Table 2, the annual energy production of the direct-drive PMSG is higher than that of the geared-drive conventional SCIG. Although the wind turbine rotor diameter of the direct-drive PMSG is greater than that of the geared-drive SCIG, the total weight of the rotor and nacelle is lower; it seems realistic to conclude that the total weight of the two alternative systems will be of the same order. A 1.5 MW direct-drive wind turbine system with EESG has been compared with the DFIG system with a multi-stage gearbox by Siegfriedsen and Bo hmeke [8] and Bo hmeke et al. [40]. They concluded that the direct-drive system would be more expensive and heavier than the DFIG wind turbines. In addition, the comparison between the direct-drive PMSG and EESG shows the cost for active material of PMSG is lower. This is mainly due to the reduced pole pitch of PMSG, and the increased number of poles can be set for a given diameter [16, 17, 23]. Recently, Polinder et al. [9] have also presented a detailed comparison of five 3 MW different generator systems for variable speed wind turbine concepts, which are a DFIG system with three-stage gearbox (DFIG 3G), a directTable 2 Main comparison of two commercial 500 kW wind turbines with the direct-drive PMSG and the fixed-speed SCIG system [39] Generators concepts speed of wind turbines rotor, rpm speed of generator rotor, rpm annual energy production at mean wind speed, kWh 5 m/s 10 m/s wind turbine rotor diameter, m wind turbine weight, ton rotor, including hub nacelle 1.2 3 2 6 rotor nacelle tower 90.7 88.4 91.6 90.0 total 20.5 5.6 26.1 34.0 60.1 9.2 19.9 29.0 27.8 56.9 615 2350 40.3 528 2189 38.2 PMSG 18 38 SCIG 30

3 Comparison of different wind generator systems


In this section, a survey of quantitative comparisons of different wind generator systems is performed, which includes the performance comparison and the market penetration share.

3.1 Performance comparison of different wind generator systems


Some comparisons of different wind generator system have been conducted by some researchers [813, 17, 19, 24, 26, 39 41]. Grauers [17] has presented a quantitative comparison between the variable speed direct-drive concept of the RFPM generator system with a forced-commutated rectifier and the commercial product of the fixed-speed concept with SCIG. Some main parameter comparisons for two rated power levels of 500 kW and 3 MW are respectively, shown in Table 1. According to [17], the outer diameter of the directdrive PMSG is almost two times of the conventional geared-drive SCIG; however, the total length is two to three times shorter than that of SCIG system including the length of high-speed shaft. Additionly, the direct-drive PMSG system has its average efficiency of 2.3% and 1.6% higher than the fixed speed SCIG system at the 500 kW and 3 MW rated power, respectively. Because of the variable speed operation, the direct-drive PMSG system can produce 5 10% more energy than the fixed two-speed
Table 1 Comparison of the direct-drive PMSG and the fixedspeed concept of SCIG system [17] Generators concepts rated power, kW outer diameter of generator, m length of system (incl. high-speed shaft in SCIG) average efficiency, % PMSG 500 2.7 SCIG 500 1.5 PMSG 3000 5 SCIG 3000 2.5

18 38 1500

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drive EESG system (EESG DD), a PM excited directdrive synchronous generator system (PMSG DD), a PM excited synchronous generator system with single-stage gearbox (PMSG 1G) and a DFIG system with single-stage gearbox (DFIG 1G). Approximated designs of the five different generator systems have been presented for a given wind turbine. Main dimensions and performances of the comparison are presented in Table 3. Based on the survey, the following conclusions can be summarised. From the aspects of size and weight, the outer diameter of the direct-drive wind generator is usually larger than the geared-drive generator, but the total length is shorter. Considering the parts of wind turbine blade, the total weight of wind turbine systems may have no big difference between a threestage geared-drive configuration and a direct-drive PMSG solution. DFIG 3G is the lightest and low-cost solution with standard components according to [9]. For direct-drive wind turbine topologies, PMSG DD has the highest energy yield, EESG DD appears to be the heaviest and the most expensive solution. A solution with a one-stage gearbox together with a multi-pole generator may be an interesting solution. For example, DFIG 1G seems to be the most interesting choice because of the highest annual energy yield divided by cost and the lowest generator system cost [9]. PMSG 1G has a better performance than PMSG DD with respect to the energy yield per cost.

3.2 Market penetration of different wind turbine concepts


Various types of wind turbines have been on the market with different power levels. In order to present the trends of different wind generator systems on the market, Table 4 shows some wind turbines with a rated power over 2 MW from different manufactures, such as Vestas, Gamesa, GE wind, Repower, Nordex and so on, where the wind turbine concept, generator type, rated power and turbine rotor speed are obtained from manufacturers websites [42 54]. As it can be seen, most manufactures are using geared-drive wind turbine concepts. The wind turbines produced by Vestas, Gamesa, GE wind, Repower, Nordex and Ecotecnia are using DFIG with a multiple-stage gearbox. According to this survey, it is clear that the wind market is still dominated by DFIG with a multiple-stage gearbox, and the mostly used generator type is still the induction generator

Table 3 Comparisons of five different wind generator systems [9] Generators concepts Stator air-gap diameter, m Stack length, m active material weight, ton iron copper PM total cost, kEuro generator active material generator construction gearbox converter sum of generator system cost 4.03 1.21 5.25 30 30 220 40 320 32.5 12.6 45.1 287 160 120 567 2117 7740 3.67 18.1 4.3 1.7 24.1 162 150 120 432 1982 7890 3.98 4.37 1.33 0.41 6.11 43 50 120 120 333 1883 7700 4.09 8.65 2.72 11.37 67 60 120 40 287 1837 7760 4.22 DFIG 3G EESG DD PMSG DD PMSG 1G DFIG 1G 0.84 0.75 5 1.2 5 1.2 3.6 0.4 3.6 0.6

total cost (incl. margin for company costs) kWh/Euro 1870 annual energy yield, MW h annual energy yield/total cost, kW h/Euro 7690 4.11

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Table 4 Large wind turbine concepts on the market over 2 MW Wind turbine concept variable speed multiple-stage concept with partial-scale power converter Generator type DFIG Power/rotor diameter/ speed 4.5 MW/120 m/ 14.9 rpm 2 MW/90 m/19 rpm 3.6 MW/104 m/ 15.3 rpm 5 MW/126 m/12.1 rpm 2.5 MW/90 m/ 14.85 rpm 3 MW/100 m/ 14.25 rpm limited variable speed with multiple-stage gearbox variable speed multiple-stage gearbox with full-scale power converter WRIG SCIG PMSG variable speed single-stage gearbox with full-scale power converter PMSG 2 MW/88 m/17 rpm 3.6 MW/107 m/13 rpm 2 MW/88 m/16.5 rpm 5 MW/116 m/14.8 rpm 3 MW/90 m/16 rpm 2.5 MW/93 m/ 15.5 rpm variable speed direct-drive with full-scale power converter EESG PMSG 4.5 MW/114 m/13 rpm 2 MW/71 m/23 rpm Manufacturer Vestas Gamesa GE Wind Repower Nordex Ecotecnia Suzlon Siemens Wind Power GE Wind Multibrid Winwind Clipper Windpower Enercon Zephyros

(DFIG, SCIG and WRIG). Two companies, Multibrid and WinWind, use PMSG with a single-stage gearbox. Direct-drive wind turbines are used in Enercon and Zephyros. Enercon have applied EESG, and Zepyros have applied PMSG. According to [3], Vestas manufacturer maintains its position as the words largest manufacturer, followed by the Gamesa, Enercon and GE Wind. The world market share at the end of 2004 for each company is 34%, 17%, 15% and 11%. Fig. 16 depicts the market penetration and share of different wind generator systems based on the recorded world suppliers market data over a 10-year period (1995 2004) [3, 55]. As it can be seen, the fixed-speed SCIG system has decreased about 3-fold over 10 years, from almost 70% in 1995 to almost 25% in 2004. Market penetration of the Optislip concept (WRIG in Fig. 4) has declined since 1997 in favour of the more attractive variable speed concept (DFIG). The trend depicted in Fig. 16 clearly indicates that the WRIG type is being phased out of the market. The DFIG wind turbines have increased from 0% to almost 55% of the yearly installed wind power over 10 years, and it clearly becomes the most
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dominant concept at the end of 2004. Market penetration of the SG concept (EESG or PMSG) has altered little over 10 years, with no such dramatic changes as observed for SCIG, WRIG and DFIG. There is, however, a slight increasing trend over the last 3 years (2002 2004). During the 10 years, the direct-drive SG (EESG and PMSG) has ranked third or fourth (Fig. 16).

Figure 16 World share of yearly installed power for different wind generator systems 133

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4 Trends discussion
the fault ride-through capability is required to avoid significant loss of wind power production in the event of grid faults. This means wind turbines should stay connected and contribute to the grid in case of a disturbance such as a voltage dip. They should immediately supply active and reactive power for frequency and voltage recovery after the fault has been cleared. As an example, the requirements concerning immunity to voltage dips as prescribed by E.On Netz, a grid operator in Northern Germany, is shown in Fig. 17. Only when the grid voltage drops below the curve (in duration or voltage level), the turbine is allowed to be disconnected. When the voltage is in the shaded area, the turbine should also supply reactive power to the grid in order to support grid restoration [11].

With rapid development of wind turbine technologies, future trends in the wind turbine industry will probably be focused on the gradual improvement of already known technologies, which can be summarised as follows [3, 15, 56, 57]. The power level of a single wind turbine will continue to increase, because this reduces the cost of placing wind turbines, especially for offshore wind farms. Offshore wind energy is more attractive, because of higher wind speed and more space than on shore wind energy. An increasing trend is to remove dispersed single wind turbine in favour of concentrated wind turbines in large wind farms. An increasing trend in the penetration of wind power into the power system.

4.2 Trends of wind generator systems


According to the survey of different wind generator systems and considering the grid connection requirements on wind turbines, the developing trends of wind generator systems may be summarised as follows. Variable speed concept Variable speed operation is very attractive for a number of reasons, including reduced mechanical stress and increased power capture. As mentioned, the market share of the fixed speed concept has decreased slightly, whereas variable speed wind turbine increases. For various variable speed wind turbine concepts, a multiple-stage geared-drive DFIG with a partial-scale power converter is still dominant in the current market. Compared with other variable speed concepts with a full-scale power converter, the main advantage of this concept is only 30% of the generated power passing through the power converter, so that it may have substantial cost advantages even with lowcost power electronics in the future. However, from the viewpoint of the fault ride-through capability, the

4.1 Grid connection requirements


The penetration of wind power into the power system continues to increase, which implies the situation of the large wind farms is changing from being simple energy sources to having power plant status with grid support characteristics. One major challenge in the present and coming years is the connection and optimised integration of large wind farms into electrical grids [3]. With increased wind power capacity, transmission system operators (TSOs) have become concerned about the impact of high levels of wind power generation on power systems. To handle large-scale integration of wind power, TSOs have issued grid codes and grid requirements for wind turbines connection and operation. The main issues of grid codes can be summarised as follows [3, 10, 11]: active power control, reactive power control, voltage and frequency control, power quality, for example, flickers and harmonics, fault ride-through capability. As mentioned above, the power-control capability and the fault ride-through capability are mainly concerned by some TSOs. Wind farms are required to behave as conventional power plants in power systems, such as regulating active and reactive power and performing frequency and voltage control. And
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Figure 17 Voltage dip that wind turbines should be able to handle without disconnection (E.On Netz) IET Renew. Power Gener., 2008, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 123 138 doi: 10.1049/iet-rpg:20070044

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DFIG system has to endure large peak currents during grid faults, an advanced protection system may be required. On the contrary, variable speed wind turbines with a full-scale power converter may be more effective and less complicated to deal with gridrelated problems. Therefore variable speed wind turbine concepts with a full-scale power converter will become more attractive. Direct-drive concept Compared with geared-drive wind generator systems, the main advantages of direct-drive wind generator systems are higher overall efficiency, reliability and availability because of omitting the gearbox. Although the size of direct-drive generators is usually larger, it may not be a serious disadvantage for the offshore wind energy. PM excited generator type PM machines are more attractive and superior with higher efficiency and energy yield, higher reliability and power to weight ratio compared with electricityexcited machines. According to the above survey of RFPM, AFPM and TFPM machines, RFPM machines with surface-mounted PM may be more suitable for direct-drive PM generator types, because of allowing the simple generator structure, good utilisation of the active materials and also allowing the relatively small diameter in comparison with AFPM and TRPM machines. In the case of AFPM machines, the disadvantages as described in Section 2.4.2, which make the machine cost increase and manufacturing difficult, must be solved or improved significantly. Although TFPM machines have some advantages, such as high-force density and simple winding with low copper losses, the disadvantages, such as low-force density in large air gap, complicated construction in manufacturing and low power factor may be obvious. However, TFPM still have potential to be used as a direct-drive PM generator with new topology design, since the machines are more flexible for new topologies. Considering the performance of PMs is improving and the cost of PM is decreasing in recent years, in addition to that the cost of power electronics is decreasing, variable speed direct-drive PM machines with a full-scale power converter become more attractive for offshore wind powers. On the other hand, variable speed concepts with a full-scale power converter and a single- or multiple-stage gearbox drive train may be interesting solutions not only in respect to the annual energy yield per cost but also in respect to the total weight. For example, the market interest of PMSG system with a multiple-stage gearbox or a single-stage gearbox is increasing.
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Although the market share in the fixed-speed wind turbine concept has decreased, the market interest in SCIG based on wind turbines may increase [3], if it is demonstrated that High Voltage Direct Current Transmission (HVDC) technologies-based wind farms consisting of such SCIG are robust to grid faults. Because HVDC can enhance the ability against power system faults, consequently, the generators, which are sensitive to power system faults such as SCIG, can be used without the problem of ride through power system faults. Furthermore, a variable speed SCIG system with a full-scale power converter has been used for over 3 MW wind turbines, such as Bonus 107 model 3.6 MW of Siemens wind power. It is clear that power electronics will continue to play an important role in the integration of future large wind farms and design of wind generator systems.

4.3 Discussions of comparison criteria


Various criteria may be used for comparing different wind generator systems, including the torque density, the cost per torque, the efficiency, the active material weight, the outer diameter, the total length, the total volume, the total generator cost, the annual energy yield, the energy yield per cost, the cost of energy and so on [8, 9, 12, 13, 16, 17, 21, 25]. However, with the increase in wind energy penetration into grids and the development of grid connection requirements, overall qualitative comparison criteria considering wind power quality and wind energy yield may be worthwhile for consideration. Current trends of research and development of wind turbine concepts are mostly related to offshore wind energy. The most important difference between the requirements for onshore and offshore wind energy technologies is that it is much more important for offshore turbines to be robust and maintenancefree [58, 59], because it is extremely expensive and difficult and even impossible to do offshore maintenance and reparations under some weather conditions, so that the reliability and availability of large wind generator systems may be more important aspects to be taken into consideration. With the increasing penetration of wind energy into the grid, some performances related with grid connection requirements may need to be considered in the quantitative comparison. For example, the solution of the flicker problem may yield an extra cost depending on the types of wind generator systems. The fault ride-through capability is also strongly related to the type of the wind generator systems. Some performance indexes referred to wind turbines may have important effects on the annual energy yield of
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wind generator systems. For example, the cut-in and cut-off wind speeds need to be taken into consideration for comparison of different wind generator systems, because they can influence the annual energy output and the available operational time of wind turbines, with variation of generator types [60]. The further development of variable speed wind turbine concepts would be focused on optimised turbines and thus moving towards more cost-effective machines. An overall and practical comparison of different wind generator systems, including techniques, economy, control function, availability and reliability, may require to be further investigated.

Acknowledgment

The research was supported by a grant from the EU 6th framework program UP-WIND project. The authors are grateful for the support.

References

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Conclusions

The paper provides an overview of different wind turbine concepts and possible generator types. The basic configurations and characteristics of various wind generator systems based on contemporary wind turbine concepts are described with their advantages and disadvantages. The promising direct-drive PM machines, such as AFPM, RFPM and TFPM machines, have been surveyed. A detailed analysis has been performed based on the survey of the quantitative comparison of different wind generator systems as well as their market penetration. The developing trends of wind generator systems have been presented, and some comparison criteria have also been discussed. The multiple-stage geared drive DFIG concept is still dominant in the current market. Additionally, the market shows interest in the direct-drive or geareddrive concepts with a full-scale power electronic converter. Current developments of wind turbine concepts are mostly related to offshore wind energy; variable speed concepts with power electronics will continue to dominate and be very promising technologies for large wind farms. The performance of PMs is improving and the cost of PMs is decreasing in recent years, which make variable speed direct-drive PM machines with a full-scale power converter more attractive for offshore wind power generations. With the increasing levels of wind turbine penetration in modern power systems, grid connection issues have posed several new challenges to wind turbine design and development. The future success of different wind turbine concepts will strongly depend on their ability of complying with both market expectations and the requirements of grid utility companies.
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