Power Electronics

Next-Generation Full-Power Converter for Wind Power and New Energy Applications

The Switch, a provider of megawatt-class permanent magnet generator and full-power converter packages for wind power and other new energy applications, has announced it has launched its next-generation full-power converter (FPC) series. The new converter eliminates wind turbine downtime, ensuring that turbines continually produce energy for the grid.

The new FPC is the result of a comprehensive R&D effort undertaken to meet the evolving needs of major players in the global wind power industry. Of the numerous improvements The Switch made in its FPC series, most focus on increasing wind turbine reliability. Optimum converter performance ensures turbine availability, a key metric of wind energy production. Recent tests prove the FPC is fully compliant with the strictest grid code requirements and fault ride-through standards, including those set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

While turbines with permanent magnet generators (PMGs) haven't yet been deployed in large numbers, the technology is rapidly gaining adoption among high-profile turbine manufacturers. "We expect that wind turbines employing PMGs will gain a significant market share," says Steen Broust Nielsen, an analyst with Denmark-based MAKE Consulting. According to a recent report released by MAKE, PMGs have emerged as a preferred technology for new multi-megawatt and offshore turbines due to such factors as increasing turbine size, and the need for improved grid compatibility and efficiencies.

To reach the highest reliability standards, The Switch's software solutions enable tight communication and coordination between the FPC and wind turbine control systems, which gather data for turbine management. The converter tracks commands from the turbine controller and transfers everything it measures to the turbine control system for processing. If the turbine experiences a lack of coolant flow, for example, the converter interacts with the controller to adjust production accordingly, ensuring against shutdown so the turbine produces the maximum amount of energy possible.

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