Available Technology

Variable-Speed Wind Power System with Improved Energy Capture via Multilevel Conversion

Power converters are used to convert alternating current (AC) electric power from a fixed-frequency and fixed-voltage to different frequencies and different voltages for powering loads, such as electric motors. They are also used in reverse to convert variable-frequency, variable-voltage, AC electric power to fixed-frequency, fixed-voltage electric power. Electric generators driven by wind turbines rotate at different speeds, depending on wind conditions, so they produce variable-frequency, variable-voltage, AC electric power. Therefore, power converters are used to convert such wind-generated electric power to fixed-frequency, fixed-voltage, AC power to match public utility and similar AC power systems. However, wind turbine power systems also spend lots of time operating at light loads or fractions of their rated power capacities, whereas standard, state-of-the-art, power converters are designed to operate most efficiently at full-rated power all, or nearly all, of the time. Further, standard power converters do not work at low voltages. Therefore, when wind turbine-driven generators are operating in low wind, light load, conditions, standard power converters are inefficient and may not work at all.
Patent Abstract: 
Power converters are used to convert alternating current (AC) electric power from a fixed-frequency and fixed-voltage to different frequencies and different voltages for powering loads, such as electric motors. They are also used in reverse to convert variable-frequency, variable-voltage, AC electric power to fixed-frequency, fixed-voltage electric power. Electric generators driven by wind turbines rotate at different speeds, depending on wind conditions, so they produce variable-frequency,...
Benefits 
Improves over existing technology to provide higher efficiency at low wind speeds -Captures more wind energy -More reliable and efficient power conversion
applications 
Internal Laboratory Ref #: 
NREL ROI 01-50
Lab Representatives
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Google Plus Share to Linkedin