GE has completed trials of PassiveBoost, a technology the company says is designed to allow remote power networks to go direct current (DC) and could cut the cost of offshore wind power by 15%.
The trials were performed at the company's full-scale power system test site near Leicester, U.K. According to GE, the solution provides a straight replacement, on the same footprint, for the alternating current (AC) transformer inside every wind turbine and allows direct connection to a high-voltage DC power collection grid while reducing cable cost and without the need for a DC breaker. PassiveBoost features a new power device packaging technique with a cooling system, as well as GE's ActiveFoldback fault protection system.
"Whether extracting fossil fuels or capitalizing on renewable energy resources, we find ourselves working further offshore or in inhospitable desert locations," says Keiran Coulton, senior executive of global industry at GE Power Conversion. "In either case, the energy wasted in AC transmission systems is costing the energy consumer too much. The technologies behind PassiveBoost will enable these costs to be cut."
Scottish Enterprise supported the PassiveBoost project, and the company's Seoniad Vass comments, "Reducing the cost of electricity generated by offshore wind is a vitally important factor in realizing the significant economic potential of the technology. As a result, the development of innovative technologies such as this is key to the sector's ongoing development, and we look forward to continuing to work with GE in this important field."