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Wind turbines

Parts

The most important parts of our wind turbines are the mast, the nacelle with rotor, the three rotor blades and the control.

The mast comprises 2 parts, is made from steel and is 54 m high. The mast has built-in stairs and a lift for easy access to the nacelle for adjustments and maintenance. 

The nacelle is the size of a bus and weighs 120,000 kg. The nacelle is the wind turbine's ‘engine room’, and contains vital parts such as the axle, the gearbox casing, the generator, the brakes, measuring equipment, sensors and the automated control system.

The three rotor blades are 44 metres in length and are made from fibreglass-reinforced polyester. Once installed on the nose, the diameter of the three rotor blades is 90 metres. This means they cover an area of 1.25 football fields or 6,400 m2.

Their exceptionally aerodynamic shape is the result of high-tech research. 

The wind turbine is fully adjustable thanks to the controls. Computers receive data from many sensors (regarding wind and weather, performance of the parts, impact of the other turbines…) and adjust the speed and position of the rotor blades.

Operation

Wind turbines convert the power of the wind in a usable form of energy.

The wind makes the rotor blades turn around an axle. This axle is connected to a generator which converts the rotating movement into electricity. The generator is in fact a large version of a bicycle dynamo. The generated electricity goes from the generator via a 33 kV cable to the offshore high-voltage station.

The turbines of classic plants generate electricity in similar fashion. The turbines turn thanks to the steam produced by the heat released by the combustion of petrol, gas or coal and nuclear fission.

The length of the rotor blades and the generator determine the maximum capacity of a wind turbine. A 90 metre rotor diameter (two 45 metre rotor blades) gives our turbines a capacity of 3 MW or 3 million Watt. The wind farm's total capacity amounts to 165 MW (55 x 3 MW).

When it comes into operation a wind turbine works fully automatically, controlled by sensors and a built-in computer. The nacelle, for instance, automatically turns in the right wind direction, which is transmitted by the wind sensor mounted at the back.

In case of fierce wind the system automatically turns the blades toward feathering position (like a flag) and the turbine stops turning to avoid any damage due to overload.