Magnomatics, a world leader in magnetic gear development, is pleased to be able to contribute to the ongoing growth of cleaner renewable energy through their Pseudo Direct Drive (PDD) generator technology for offshore wind.

The Sheffield-based engineering company tested their Compact High Efficiency Generator (CHEG), a Magnomatics 500kW PDD, as part of the EU €100 million DemoWind project at the Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult in Byth, Northumberland. The result of the demonstration showed that the CHEG’s higher efficiency, compact size and low operation and maintenance costs could deliver significant reductions in cost.  This confirmed the conclusions from the InnWind project and and independent review by BVG Associates.  With these costs and performance confirmed, Magnomatics now has serious commercial interest in the technology for wind energy. 

With CO2 emissions hitting a record high, governments looking for decarbonisation and pressure from environmental groups, it is no wonder that major global focus has been placed on offshore wind making it an increasingly viable energy source.

According to a new report published by the International Energy Agency (IEA), global offshore wind capacity is likely to increase 15-fold and attract around $1 trillion of cumulative investment by 2040.

The UK is considered to be a leader in offshore wind technology, with over 7GW already operational and more installed or under construction, and is on track to deliver over 10GW by 2020, rising to 30GW by 2030. Much of this growth will be driven by the decreasing cost of offshore wind.  Recent successful bids in the North Sea were as low as £40/MWh.  This is less than half of the price of energy from the new Sizewell Nuclear Power station agreed with the UK Government.

Magnomatics’ latest innovations are embracing these opportunities and breaking new ground to lead the way with its pioneering generator technology.  With increased size it is likely that the PDD  prove even more effective than current drive train technologies.

Compact yet powerful, the Pseudo-Direct Drive is smaller, lighter and a more efficient alternative to the direct generators commonly used in wind turbine power conversion. The PDD magnetically geared generator can be scaled to 10MW and beyond to deliver class-leading annual energy output and cost of energy.

David Latimer, chief executive officer Magnomatics, said: “The PDD is a potential game changer, not just for the technology used in this market but also the UK economy. Currently all the wind turbines in the North Sea use generators that are not manufactured in the UK.  If we can build PDD generators in the UK for offshore wind it will be a fantastic step forward in the already strong position we have in this market.”

Dr Stephen Wyatt, research and innovation director at ORE Catapult said: “Exciting new technologies such as CHEG from Magnomatics are key to driving cost reduction and securing significant UK economic value from offshore wind.  As the UKs Innovation Centre for Offshore Renewables we are delighted to be working with Magnomatics to help unlock this win-win for the UK.”