Suprapower, a research project aimed at developing an offshore wind turbine technology using a superconductor-based generator, has been launched by the European Union. It should help to address the problems associated with increased size and weight when offshore turbine types are scaled-up.
Geared and direct drive permanent magnet generators are difficult to cost-effectively up-scale further. As such, "Superconductivity may be the only technology able to combine better power scalability, weight reduction and reliability to allow scaling to 10MW and beyond," the project description says.
Running until November 2016 as part of the EU Seventh Framework Programme for Research, the project features a consortium of research organisations and companies from seven European countries. The organisations involved are: Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) and Oerlikon Leybold Vacuum in Germany; Institute of Electrical Engineering at the Slovak Acadmey of Sciences; University of Southampton in the UK, Acciona Windpower, Acciona Energia and Fundacion Tecnalia Research & Innovation in Spain; Columbus Superconductors in Italy and D2M Engineering in France. Each is focusing on specific aspects of the research project