Enercon GmbH, a producer of wind turbines, has selected Maxwell’s BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors for backup energy storage and power delivery in its new E-48 800-kW wind turbines.
Alain Riedo, vice president and general manager of Maxwell’s Swiss subsidiary, Maxwell Technologies SA, said that the companies have signed a strategic supply agreement through which Enercon will source ultracapacitors exclusively from Maxwell.
“With an installed base of more than 7,300 wind turbines worldwide, Enercon is at the forefront of developing and producing megawatt class turbines,” Riedo said. “To optimize energy output and enhance system reliability and longevity, each of their turbines’ three blades has an independent braking and pitch adjustment mechanism with backup power to ensure its continuous operation in the event of a power failure. Enercon’s E48 turbines each incorporate more than 200 of our BOOSTCAP ultracapacitors for backup power.”
Ulrich Neundlinger, Enercon’s managing director of switching units, said that the company decided to use ultracapacitors for blade pitch system backup power after extensive testing confirmed their significant advantages over traditional battery solutions.
“Ultracapacitors enabled our engineers to solve a number of battery-related design challenges, including poor low temperature performance and limited cycle life,” Neundlinger said. “Maxwell’s products emerged as the clear choice for this application on the basis of their robust construction, long operating life and cost effectiveness. Our customers want systems that require no maintenance and operate reliably for many years, and we believe that BOOSTCAP products will allow us to continue to meet that expectation with our new generation of pitch systems.”
Industry sources place the current annual value of the global wind energy market at nearly $9 billion and project that yearly wind turbine unit sales now approaching 8,000 will grow by an average of more than 10% per year over the next five years. Neundlinger noted that new offshore installations are expected to account for an increasing share of that growth, and that ultracapacitors’ high reliability and long operating lifetime make them particularly attractive for offshore and other remote locations that are costly and difficult to service.