MWF in PES Wind
PES Wind Magazine, April 2016
From small beginnings...
Ton Bos, founding partner and CEO of Mega Wind Force, talks to PES about how curiosity, research and perseverance helped him and his co-founders to launch a new company and develop a new wind turbine …
PES: Welcome to PES Wind magazine. Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Would you like to begin by explaining a little about the background of your organization and how you currently serve the wind industry?
Ton Bos: The foundation for our organization began in 2015. I was working on a different project with co-founder and inventor Keesjan Klant, a specialist in aerodynamics, when we became intrigued by the wind industry. I noticed that the business model in the wind industry existed due to subsidization. A model that is not affordable in the long term. A major shift was needed in order to reduce CO2 and produce a sound commercial model for energy delivery. Several years ago Keesjan invented a new viable transmission system, the S-drive. This is a CVT system that provides more than 20% more power, if applied to a car it would go 25% farther and he already had the prototype. Our thinking was this would be attractive to the wind industry. First of all we delved deeply in to many, many scientific journals, major findings and developments that are out in the field today. At that time it seemed extremely difficult to exceed > 8 MW max power. The enormous power generated by these large turbines resulted in exceeding material tolerances and requiring high maintenance. The solution: lighter materials, cooling and new direct drives but it still proved to be very difficult to reduce cost substantially and increase the efficiency of the generator in such a way that no energy subsidization would be required. Important fact: 80% of the power of a wind turbine is produced by only 20% of the outer side of a blade. Keesjan wanted to implement the new transmission system to reduce the cost and increase the efficiency. In order to do this it was extremely important to be completely unbiased and open to any new design. Anything should be possible. In this momentum this question sprang to mind: why are all forces in a conventional wind turbine centered at one point? Leaving a very vulnerable spot in the design from where a lot of failures and wear originate. Then Eureka!!! In a flow of inspiration the whole center of the wind turbine was deleted leaving a ring where the generator is housed and the rotor blades are attached. A new model was born and it no longer required the new transmission system at all. We then did a thorough search of existing patents and were able to patent our concept and a new company was born, a company out to contribute and create a major shift in the industry: Mega Wind Force. In addition to Keesjan and myself there are two other founder members, Woud Vleugel a brilliant engineer and my operational partner Leendert van der Gevel, a highly experienced board member of several large companies. So we have all the necessary skills to be successful.
PES: Tell us about the Mega Wind Force (MWF) new generation of wind turbines?
TB: We have developed a turbine that has no hub, no nacelle, no gearbox and that doesn’t require a crane for construction and our design will run with less noise than modern conventional turbines. Our design simplifies controlling the wind turbine’s power using techniques that are used in other industries. The result is more reliable daily and annual power at less height and substantial loss of noise. This is the advent of wind power 3.0.
PES: How are they different from current wind turbines?
TB: Our ring acts like a generator and the invention of the generator is as important as the rest of the turbine. This principle was designed by Keesjan and Woud Vleugel. Our generator is flexible and scalable. The generator will start at a minimum 2 m/s and generate more power even up to 30 m/s. In comparison to standard generators only the parts generating the energy work at the appropriate wind speed. So our generator has a sweet spot and is highly effective at more than just one wind speed. The existing wind turbines reach their max approximately at 12.5 m/s. Furthermore our generator is based on two significant developments. One, a magneticflotation system that results in nearly zero friction and two, the direct-drive generator which doesn’t need a gearbox. The design also allows an air-gap speed of over 25 m/s 32 as opposed to existing direct drive designs that are limited to (5 m/s). In addition, the generator works with adaptive cooling and at high frequency resulting in a significant weight reduction (factor five). So we are able to reduce the weight between 40 % / 50% whilst improving the effective wind range of the turbine.
PES: What are the cost implications?
TB: The following items reduce our cost: • absence of a very heavy equipped center axle. • shorter and thus lighter and cheaper rotor blades • modular components that can all be transported in containers • carbon ring assuring strength at less weight • a direct drive generator operating at a higher frequency and speed which saves a lot of weight • no big cranes are required – therefore possible to lower the ring for maintenance • This way our construction can be lighter because the wind turbine will not be exposed to extreme storms. The overall impact of our design, of course, depends upon the size of the turbine. But generically we can state that we save 35%-50% weight, a massive reduction in maintenance, logistics and installation costs and in foundation paving. The generator is built from various scalable units; this redundant solution has a much higher uptime than conventional wind turbines with a single point of failure, resulting in an increase in the production capacity on an annual base. The speed of our ring will be held at a level that will not cause any severe noise. Even without increasing the production capacity, which we can, we are able to be economically viable without subsidies. Imagine the savings that can be made on a global scale, currently $550 billion a year. Everyone who is able to exploit wind energy will be able to exploit wind energy effectively. This would mean being competitive with fossil fuels. Today’s funding model could change drastically and reducing C02 is not dependent on governments having to subsidize wind energy. A roll out is available for any country and all people across the globe.
PES: How difficult, or indeed, easy do you think it will be to persuade customers to change to the new turbines?
TB: No noise, less height and low cost. No more barriers. All the arguments against wind energy no longer exist. This is wind energy 3.0. So MWF turbines, wherever positioned, will always be able to make money; discard subsidy and not cause any noise disturbance. Will it be difficult to persuade customers? Customers or even consumers will push their suppliers for MWF turbines. Exploitation – being able to build as many MWF turbines as possible, will be the constraint, so we will form strong partnerships and set up licensee agreements. To do this we have entered into a partnership with Costa Renewables to arrange and set up new licensee agreements.
PES: Geographically speaking, where are the key markets for Mega Wind Force?
TB: We are able to optimize our design for each wind speed area. We have more variables and in developing our data we are able to assure the most effective turbine will be installed at the selected area. In addition to traditional turbines MWF turbines can be placed in areas where noise pollution is not allowed or desired. Furthermore since reducing the weight our turbine is much easier to install at various floating developments today. This way at sea/off shore we are removing the barriers.
PES: Do you have any plans for expansion into other areas?
TB: Yes, our objective is to sell and build MWF in each GEO across the world. The reduction of C02 is key and affordable energy should be available to all of us. It is our objective to become the standard for the wind industry.
PES: How important is innovation in the wind market moving forward?
TB: Innovation is critical for the globe and the wind market. The current model will no longer be affordable after 2030 causing high debts for governments. The current model was adapted because the protection of our planet is paramount. But without innovation wind energy has no future. Innovation and adapting new technologies are truly of vital importance. Governments do play a pivotal role in stimulating innovation and assuring that disruptive developments find their way to the market as soon as possible.
PES: Which aspect of the wind industry provides the most satisfaction for you right now?
TB: The wind industry is beginning working towards the 2050 climate targets and we will be part of this transformation process. Our ability to transform the energy supply in the world and simultaneously reduce C02 is incredibly satisfying: creating a future for our children and the generations to come. By being required to be different means we need to be persistent, trusting, team spirited and incredibly faithful. We will fulfil our goals by being a part of it. This goes beyond satisfying…..
PES: And conversely, what presents you with the biggest challenges?
TB: Our technical main challenge is relatively small; it is to fine tune the aerodynamic properties of the wind turbine and write our own software by providing sufficient data for simulations. We are restricted by finance. Our fastest scenario would be a 30 meter rotor wind turbine within two years. Our roll out depends on the start amount and milestones. Once we can start multiple tasks in parallel, in about two years’ time, we will be able to compete. An advantage is that our biggest development challenge, the ring and stator, are no longer an issue as we have a partner who can build our design with very little risk as they already have used it in another domain.
PES: What are your thoughts about prospects for 2016 with regard to your organization, and the wind industry in general?
TB: 2016 is our year. The industry must become aware of the potential of a new wind turbine that is able to set new standards in the near future. For governments to consider that by waiting for a short time their investment will be worth much more. Disruptive development will only succeed once it is embraced by the market. We are embracing the market and industry and we will issue licenses to assure production can start globally asap. We invite the industry to contact us should they wish to contribute to change and want a license to manufacture MWF turbines. Our organization will start building the turbine and expand our number of technical staff and factories. 2016 is the year we are going to build and test the first MWF wind turbine and our organization will be ready for mass production by the end of 2017.