In 2019, Estonian renewable energy company Eesti Elekter produced 18 gigawatt-hours of electricity in the Salme wind farm, which is 10% more than in the previous year. The majority of Salme’s production came from the Eleon 3M116, a 3 megawatt wind turbine based on Eleon technology, with an efficiency of 45.3 percent.
According to Oleg Sõnajalg, Member of the Management Board of Eesti Elekter, two thirds of the output of the Salme wind farm came from the Eleon multimegawatt-class wind turbine last year. “Last year, the Eleon prototype windmill generated 11.915 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, and the efficiency of the wind turbine reached 45.34 percent, which is considered a very good indicator, even for offshore wind farms. As far as we know, no other wind turbine in Estonia has achieved such efficiency,” said Sõnajalg.
Over 45% efficiency onshore wind farms can profitably generate electricity without the support of renewable energy.
According to Sõnajalg, it is good to compare wind turbines based on different technologies in the Salme wind farm, as the company operates not only the Eleon prototype wind turbine but also the Enercon and Vestas wind turbines. “The Eleon prototype produced 3,972 MWh per unit of power, which is 1.95 times better than other Enercon and Vestas wind turbines in the same park, which means the Eleon wind turbine 95% more productive last year – confirming once again that Eleon’s wind technology can successfully can compete with global wind turbine manufacturers.”
There are newer versions of the Enercon and Vesta models than thone in the Salme wind park, but on average, the Eleon wind turbine is 30% more efficient. This is thanks to patented technology that allows to build significantly lighter, taller and larger blades than any other wind turbine manufacturer.
Eleon’s direct drive wind turbine is based on a single-sided supported direct drive (SSDD) invention. The SSDD solves the challenging air gap problem of direct drive wind turbines with a pioneering and unique method. The permanent magnet generator is enclosed in the tubular main frame and fixed by a single main bearing to the front end of the main frame, where the stator is connected to the outer ring and the rotor to the inner ring of the bearing. The generator structure floats, i.e. the complete generator might be deflected but not the air-gap. The hub is also connected directly to the main bearing. With this design the main loads are led from the hub through the main bearing directly to the main frame and, in turn, from the main frame to the tower. The invention protects the generator against harmful off-axial loads that may lead to structural deformations and problems with the air-gap. Mainly torque is transferred to the generator. The invention allows for a significant reduction of the nacelle dimensions and mass.
Eleon wind turbine reliability reached 99.62% last year, which is also above the average for other windmills worldwide. Competitive series wind turbines typically have a required reliability of 95%. For prototypes, 70% reliability is already considered a good result.