HighTech Finland › Energy & The Environment › All articles in this section   ›  Making the most of new energy

Energy Solutions
Working for a Better Environment
All articles in this section


Making the most of new energy

Combining a permanent magnet (PM) generator with a power converter in a power drive train is simple, but only The Switch integrates everything into a totally optimised package for megawattclass PM generator and full-power converter units for wind, solar, and fuel cell needs.

The Switch specialises in control systems, power electronics, and electrical machines – designing and manufacturing energy-efficient drive trains for wind power applications, industrial facilities, variable-speed gensets, solar power, and fuel cell applications.

Its power converters and permanent magnet generators are ideal for a wide range of wind turbine projects, including those destined for particularly harsh environments. Full-power redundant liquid-cooled converters have been supplied to Windwind, for example, for its advanced 1 MW and 3 MW units; and permanent magnet generators with full-power liquid-cooled converters to PowerWind.

A broad offering

The Switch’s permanent magnet generators easily outperform conventional fixedspeed and double-fed wind power generator solutions. Following the addition of several new models – including an outer rotor generator, a modern 2.5 MW drive train, and a double-fed option – The Switch has become the first company to offer a complete portfolio of PM-based generator packages specifically designed for making the maximum use of wind potential.

The company’s latest generator model combines the benefits of a permanent magnet and direct-drive solution with an outer rotor. The simple, straightforward design integrates the main shaft, main bearings, gearbox, and mechanical brake into a single generator ‘combo’ – resulting in a simpler structure with fewer components for excellent reliability. This makes it possible to achieve the best possible energy yield in varying wind conditions and the extremes typical of areas such as Mongolia, where the first units will be installed.

The Switch’s new 1.5 MW and 2 MW double-fed units have been designed to enable manufacturers to use double-fed induction generator technology to tap into higher power ratings.

The company’s redesigned 2.5 MW drive train for conventional turbines is designed for manufacturers wanting to upgrade their existing wind turbine offerings without making substantial changes to their proven designs; while the new 1.5 MW and 2 MW double-fed units will allow manufacturers to tap into higher power ratings using double-fed induction generator (DFIG) technology.

Rugged, compact, and reliable

The Switch’s high-speed drives and permanent magnet machines for industrial use are also very rugged, as well as compact, and are always designed to customers’ specific requirements.

This highly customised approach is typical of the power electronics offered for variable-speed gensets, which are designed for optimal operability and controllability, as well as efficiency and reliability, by matching an engine’s best speed-torque point with the power output required.

Reliability is the touchstone for The Switch’s modular DC/AC converters for solar- and fuel cell-based systems as well. By offering both stand-alone and grid-tied configurations, a fuel cell installation equipped with this technology can operate as an off-line UPS.

> Jussi Vanhanen
(Published in HighTech Finland 2010)