Ultracapacitors Signals Change in Wind Turbine Capabilities

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The pitch of a wind turbine's three rotor blades can be adjusted to respond to current conditions and create electricity. Pitch adjustments allow wind turbines to maximize the amount of clean energy they can generate. In order to adjust the blades, turbines need power. To date, wind turbine manufacturers have relied on battery-driven energy storage systems for that power.

The wind turbine market, however, has been constrained by the challenge of creating consistent, reliable stores of energy from an unpredictable natural resource. The industry has hungered for an energy storage system that responds quickly, regardless of current meteorological conditions, to the needs of wind turbines.

In addition to the problems associated with battery-powered energy storage, which I outline below, often energy storage systems for wind turbines are sized to meet the highest possible power demands, even if those rates only occur briefly and sporadically.  This changeability also creates waste.

Drawbacks of Battery-powered Energy Storage

There are other problems raised by battery usage in these types of applications, including the following:

  1. Batteries struggle under moments of high peak power and perform poorly in low temperatures.
  2. In extreme conditions, the operating life of a battery is extremely limited, creating a situation in which engineers and maintenance crews must frequently swap out components under potentially dangerous conditions.
  3. Batteries do a poor job of delivering the frequent, short power boosts wind turbines need to make rapid rotor blade adjustments and create electricity.
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    Reference: Renewable Energy World
    Brendan Andrews