Potential of Partially Superconducting Generators for Large Direct-Drive Wind Turbines

Dong Liu, Henk Polinder, Asger B. Abrahamsen, Jan A. Ferreira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper aims at assessing the potential of partially superconducting generators for 10 MW direct-drive wind turbines by investigating their performance for a very wide range of excitation currents. Performance indicators such as shear stress and efficiency and other generator characteristics are compared for 12 different generator topologies. To be sufficiently attractive, superconducting generators must have significant advantages over permanent magnet direct-drive generators, which typically have shear stresses of the order of 53 kPa and efficiencies of 96%. Therefore, we investigate what excitation is required to obtain a doubled shear stress and an efficiency of 98%. To achieve this, the different topologies require a range of excitation from 200 to 550 kAt (ampere-turns) with a low armature current density of 2 A/mm2. The more iron that is used in the core of these topologies, the easier they achieve this performance. By examining the maximum magnetic flux density at the location of the superconducting field winding, feasible superconductors can be chosen according to their engineering current density capabilities. It is found that high- and low-temperature superconductors can meet the performance criteria for many of the topologies. MgB2 superconductors are feasible for the fully iron-cored topology with salient poles but need cooling down to 10 K.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5203711
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Applied Superconductivity
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 25 May 2017

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Direct drive
  • high temperature superconductor (HTS)
  • low temperature superconductor (LTS)


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