New 160-V ultracapacitor module for wind turbine pitch control reduces costs and lowers installation expense

November 12, 2012 // By Paul Buckley
Maxwell Technologies, Inc., has introduced a 160 V ultracapacitor module designed to provide energy storage and power delivery for wind turbine pitch control, short-term uninterrupted power supply (UPS) and renewable energy systems.

Primarily targeted at pitch control systems for 1.5 to 3 MW wind turbines, the 160 V module provides a turnkey solution to simplify the installation process and reduce costs for all integration partners.

According to the company, the new 160 V module is a cost-effective and easy-to-install energy storage and power delivery solution for wind turbine pitch control systems from Maxwell Technologies who has ultracapacitor technology installed in more than 20,000 wind turbines worldwide.  Ultracapacitors have been designed into an increasing share of the electric pitch system portion of the market because of their longer operating lifetime, low maintenance requirements and superior cold weather performance compared with batteries.

“Our new single-module solution for wind turbine pitch control systems is easier and less costly to install than other product designs, requires fewer connections improving safety and reliability and reduces overall system build and maintenance costs,” said Jeff Venegas, senior product marketing manager, Maxwell Technologies.

Ultracapacitors provide burst power for electrical blade pitch control systems that enhance the consistency of wind turbines’ electrical energy output and ensure rotor speed remains within a safe operating range by constantly adjusting turbine blades to compensate for changes in wind velocity.  Ultracapacitors also provide an independent source of backup power for orderly shutdown in the event of a main system power failure and are used to smooth the flow of wind farms’ output to the electric utility grid.

Unlike batteries, which produce and store energy by means of a chemical reaction, Maxwell ultracapacitor products store energy in an electric field. The electrostatic energy storage mechanism enables ultracapacitors to charge and discharge in as little as fractions of a second, perform normally over a broad temperature range (-40 to +65°C), operate reliably through 500,000 or more charge/discharge cycles and resist shock, vibration and overcharging.

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