As global warming becomes increasingly severe, many countries have used wind power as a clean and environmentally friendly power generation alternative to conventional power generation or nuclear power generation. However, early generations of wind turbines have apparently seen insufficient power generation efficiency, and the best way to increase the efficiency of wind turbines is to make the tower even taller and turbine blades larger. GE has developed a method that allows small, inefficient wind turbines to be upgraded to larger, more efficient wind turbines by performing surgery on the blades - expanding the blades by adding plastic (or carbon fiber composite) parts to the blades .
General Electric GE quoted a paper on environmental science and technology, saying that the key to improving the efficiency of wind turbines is to build the tower higher and make the rotor blades longer. In this way, the wind turbine is more able to increase the unit output power than to proportionally increase the installed weight. The document states that following this method, the average size of commercial wind turbine generators has increased from 50 feet (15.2 meters) to 500 feet (152 meters) in the past three decades.
This problem has arisen. Although newly designed wind turbines can provide large-scale and high-efficiency power generation efficiency, how to deal with old and inefficient old wind power generation equipment? After all, these wind turbines are not cheap.
GE's proposed solution is to avoid replacing the turbine, but to expand the blade into a large and efficient turbine. It sounds simple, but because the blades are constructed of composite materials and the blade shape is as precise as a fighter wing, the renovation must be done with great care. In the following video, the GE team used a method to cut a 120-foot (27-meter) blade in half, then implanted a 23-foot (7-meter) long extension and closely matched the original curve of the blade. According to GE, wind turbines retrofitted by this method can increase power output by 20%, even at lower wind speeds. The pre-retrofit parts go through 6 million cycles, and the transformed parts are still in compliance with the International Electrotechnical Commission's standards (IEC), both static and fatigue tests.
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