Replacing Si IGBTs with SiC FETs Improves Efficiency and Reliability
Boulder Wind Power (BWP) today announced an expansion to their product line with the new DC Generation System™. The new power conversion approach leverages BWP's unique Distributed Converter and Printed Circuit Board (PCB) technology to distribute the power conversion process across the generator, and convert power from ac to dc directly at the generator. This new system can be used with all of BWP's geared and direct drive generator designs, and results in turbine system efficiency increases of up to two percent through the use of next-generation SiC MOSFET active rectifiers in the Distributed Converter and dc transmission in the down tower cables. Alternatively, customers can trade efficiency gains for smaller down tower cables, lowering system costs.
"We are bringing an innovative power conversion approach to the wind industry," said Andy Cukurs, CEO, Boulder Wind Power. "Because BWP generators are naturally segmented, we can combine our PCB stators with power conversion components in a modular fashion, and can optimize system voltage to meet customer requirements. These lower voltage combinations enable the use of off-the-shelf, low-voltage silicon carbide (SiC) MOSFET active rectifiers."
"IGBTs tend to fail frequently, but SiC MOSFETs are more reliable and deliver superior efficiency. This is why we believe the wind industry is evolving in this direction," said Cukurs. "As such, BWP is strategically focused on developing distributed converter technology that can take advantage of the benefits of silicon carbide components while reducing the size of the system and ensuring high reliability."
The development of the DC Generation Systemâ„¢ follows the recent announcement of BWP's expanded generator portfolio, which includes the new Ultra Low Speed Generator category for sites where low wind speeds require a large aerodynamic rotor and noise considerations limit aerodynamic rotor tip speed.
"Our team at BWP is constantly working on new ideas. We wanted to develop new conversion technology to match our expanded line of medium, low and ultra-low speed generators for onshore and offshore wind projects," said Cukurs. "When OEMs combine our generators and power conversion systems, they will produce more wind energy at lower costs - a critical competitive edge in a mature global wind market."