Breakthrough GE MW Scale Modular Multi-Level Wind Power Converter
A team of engineers in the Electrical Systems group at GE Research have achieved one of the world’s firsts in the power conversion sector, demonstrating a MW-scale modular, multi-level wind power converter in its lab in Upstate New York. The demonstration successfully culminates the key objective a five-year project through the U.S. Department of Energy Advanced Manufacturing Office’s Next Generation Electric Machines program. While the principal objective of the program was to demonstrate the wind power converter, another positive outcome of the project was the development and demonstration of an early power conversion system for hybrid electric flight. Hybrid electric flight is another key focus area for GE Research and for the DOE’s AMO.
To pull off the wind converter demonstration, GE engineers turned one of their labs on campus into a virtual 3.5 MW wind turbine outfitted with an actual wind generator and gearbox from GE’s Renewable Energy business. GE scientists then developed, built and integrated its modular, multi-level “Tower of Power,” as it was coined by the team, into this virtual environment. The setup allowed the converter to be tested under real conditions as if a 300+ foot high wind turbine was standing tall and spinning in the middle of GE’s Research campus.