Coal, Gas

Mitsubishi develops technology to safeguard wind turbines

3 March 2004 – Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has announced the development of low-cost control technology for wind turbines, capable of withstanding even typhoon-strength winds up to about 70m per second.

The new turbines can swivel on their towers, facing downwind when winds get stronger than 28m per second, to minimize resistance. The firm is applying for patents in Japan, the US and Europe, and aims to make the technology available to wind turbine producers overseas. Mitsubishi Heavy aims to help set standards for safety technology in this field in Asia, where typhoon-strength storms are not uncommon. Such technology will also come in handy for marine wind turbines.

Since the new turbine relies on wind power to swivel downwind, it can operate even if power is interrupted. Since a 1993 Indian incident in which more than 100 turbines were blown over in a storm, the industry has been exploring ways to ensure
turbine safety. The conventional solution relies on motors to turn the turbines, but this requires expensive auxiliary power sources.