Title:
Wind energy installation comprising conductor rails
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The invention concerns a wind-power system for generating alternating current with a tower built from several tower segments, with a generator arranged in the region of the tower head, with a power module, and with current-carrying means for carrying the generated power from the tower head. In order to enable quicker, simpler, and thus more economical construction of the wind-power system, according to the invention, the current-carrying means are premounted in a segmented way in the tower segments and the power module is arranged at least partially in the region of the tower head and/or removed from the tower base.



Inventors:
Wobben, Aloys (Aurich, DE)
Application Number:
10/544315
Publication Date:
10/19/2006
Filing Date:
11/07/2003
Primary Class:
International Classes:
B63H1/06; F03D11/00
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Primary Examiner:
CUEVAS, PEDRO J
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
SEED INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY LAW GROUP LLP (SEATTLE, WA, US)
Claims:
This listing of claims will replace all prior versions, and listings, of claims in the application:

1. A wind-power system with a tower built from several tower segments, with a generator for generating current in the region of the tower head, with a power module, and with current-carrying means for carrying the generated current from the tower head, characterized in that the current-carrying means are premounted in a segmented way in the tower segments and in that the power module as a whole or at least one power module unit of the power module is not arranged in the region of the tower base.

2. The wind-power system according to claim 1, characterized in that the current-carrying means are attached to the tower segment with holders.

3. The wind-power system according to claim 1, characterized in that the current-carrying means are protected from touch by a cover, especially a sheet-metal cover.

4. The wind-power system according to claim 1, characterized in that the segments of the current-carrying means are rigidly connected in the assembled state to the associated tower segment only in one region, preferably in the uppermost region.

5. The wind-power system according to claim 1, characterized in that the current-carrying means are formed as cables.

6. The wind-power system according to one of claim 1, characterized in that the current-carrying means are formed as busbars.

7. The wind-power system according to claim 6, characterized in that flexible connecting bars are provided for bypassing parts projecting outwards from the inner wall of the tower and/or for connecting busbar segments.

8. The wind-power system according to one of the preceding claim 1, characterized in that the power module is arranged within or outside a gondola of the wind-power system provided in the region of the tower head.

9. The wind-power system according to one of claim 1, characterized in that the wind-power system is equipped as an off-shore wind-power system and in that the power module is arranged on land.

10. The wind-power system according to one of the preceding claim 1, characterized in that the power module has a first power module unit arranged in the region of the tower head and a second power module unit arranged underneath the tower head and in that the current-carrying means are provided for transmitting power from the first to the second power module unit.

11. The wind-power system according to one of the preceding claim 1, characterized in that the current-carrying means are provided for transmitting power from the generator to the power module.

12. (Canecled)

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The invention concerns a wind-power system with a tower built from several tower segments, with a generator for generating power arranged in the region of the tower head, with a power module, and with current-carrying means for carrying the generated current from the tower head.

2. Description of the Related Art

In known wind-power systems, the electrical power module of a wind-power system, which includes electrical units, such as transformers, service cabinets, optionally, rectifiers, medium-voltage networks, low-voltage distribution devices, etc., is arranged underneath the level of the generator and frequently in the region of the tower base of the wind-power system. For all or some of these components, usually a small, separate building is provided outside of the wind-power system.

In order to transmit the electrical energy generated by the generator, which is arranged within a gondola in the region of the top of the tower, to the power module, there are current-carrying means, which run for the most part within the tower and which are embodied in the form of cables. These cables are mounted in the tower after it has been erected. This is a costly process, because the cables must be installed in a separate procedure over the entire height of the tower. Furthermore, this procedure is dependent on the tower already being erected.

However, it is not absolutely necessary to arrange the power module completely in the region of the tower base. In principle, other positions are also conceivable. The current-carrying means therefore must essentially fulfill the purpose of carrying the current generated and possibly preprocessed in the region of the tower head away from the tower head.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides a wind-power system, which can be erected more easily and thus also more economically and more quickly, and in which the power module is not absolutely necessarily in the region of the tower base.

According to the invention, the current-carrying means are premounted in a segmented way into the tower segments and in that the power module is arranged at least partially in the region of the tower head and/or at a distance from the tower base.

The segments of the current-carrying means are thus prefabricated and preferably attached to the tower segments before the tower is erected from the individual tower segments. Thus, it is no longer necessary to draw cables through the tower in a complicated process after erecting the tower. Due to the means according to the invention, the total erection time of the wind-power system can be shortened and the costs for the erection reduced, without having to take into account any technical disadvantages.

To avoid arranging a power module in the region of the tower base, it is also proposed that the power module be arranged at least partially in the region of the tower head and/or at a distance from the tower base. Preferably, the power module is mounted—partially or completely—within or outside the gondola. In contrast, in off-shore wind-power systems, preferably the power module is arranged—partially or completely—on land, for example, in the closest area of solid ground or on a nearby island and to connect the wind-power system to the power module through underwater cables.

In another preferred configuration, the power module has at least two power module units, one of which is arranged in the region of the tower head and the other underneath the tower head, thus in the region of the tower base or at a distance from the tower base. The current-carrying means are then provided essentially to connect the two power module units.

Additional advantageous configurations of the wind-power system according to the invention are given in the subordinate claims. Preferably, the segments of the current-carrying means are rigidly connected in the assembled state to the associated tower segment only in one region, preferably in the uppermost region. This attachment to the tower segment is realized preferably before the tower is erected, so that the tower segments, including the attached segments of the current-carrying means, are prefabricated. Because the segment of the current-carrying means is attached rigidly to the tower only at one point, it is suspended tightly but does move within certain limits on the inner wall of the tower segment and thus can also be aligned in order to form as good and easy a connection as possible to the next segments of the current-carrying means of the next tower segment.

For additional attachment of the segments of the current-carrying means within the tower segment, additional holding elements can also be provided on the inner wall of the tower, with which the segments of the current-carrying means are rigidly connected before or after the tower is erected in order to fix these as well as possible.

If the current-carrying means are formed as cables, for bypassing flanges or parts projecting from the tower inner wall, the lengths of the cable sections can be dimensioned in the tower segments so that bypassing these areas is possible without a problem.

For the use of busbars as current-carrying means, preferably flexible connecting bars are provided for bypassing parts projecting from the inner wall of the tower and/or for connecting busbar segments. These are used after the tower is erected to connect the busbar segments, if these do not reach each other directly or if gaps or other obstacles between the busbar segments, for example, a flange on the tower bar segment, must be bypassed.

In order, on the one hand, to protect service personnel from contacting the busbars when climbing through the interior of the tower and to guarantee electrical insulation and, on the other hand, to protect the current-carrying means from damage, in another configuration, a protective sleeve, especially a protective sheet, is provided, which is rigidly connected, for example, to the inner wall of the tower and protects the current-carrying means completely from touch. This protective sleeve can also be split into individual segments, which are premounted to the tower segments just like the segments of the current-carrying means. This configuration further shortens the time and simplifies the construction of the wind-power system.

The invention also concerns a tower segment for a tower of a wind-power system, which is built from several tower segments and which has a generator for generating power in the region of the tower head. The tower segment is characterized in that a current-carrying means segment for carrying the generated current from the tower head is premounted in the segment.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWINGS

The invention is explained in more detail below with reference to the drawings.

Shown are:

FIG. 1, a representation of a wind-power system,

FIG. 2, a section of such a wind-power system with two tower segments,

FIG. 3, a perspective representation of busbars provided according to the invention,

FIG. 4, a representation of a first wind-power system according to the invention,

FIG. 5, a representation of a second wind-power system according to the invention, and

FIG. 6, a representation of a third wind-power system according to the invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The wind-power system 1 shown schematically in FIG. 1 and described in German Pat. No. 10 152 557 has a tower 2 with a foundation 3, a gondola 4 supported so that it can rotate in the region of the top of the tower, as well as a power module 7 arranged in the region of the tower base, for example, in a small, separate housing. Within the gondola 4, there is a rotor supported so that it can rotate about a horizontal axis with several rotor blades 5, as well as an electrical generator 6. The rotor is set in rotation by the force of wind acting on the rotor blades 5 and drives the generator 6 for generating electrical power.

For transmitting the energy generated by the generator 6 to the power module 7, which has numerous electrical units, such as a transformer or optionally a rectifier for further processing of the electrical power before it is fed into the power network or transmitted to a load, according to the invention, there are busbars, preferably two busbars, attached to the wall by means of attachment elements 10 in the interior 8 of the tower 2. These are electrically conductive and connected electrically to the power module 7 by means of a cable 11 to the generator, as well as by means of a connecting line 12, which preferably leads through the foundation 3 and the subsoil.

The busbars 9 are rigid and preferably comprise individual busbar segments, as shown in more detail, for example, in FIG. 2. There, two tower segments 21, 22 are shown, from which the tower 2 is preferably built. Such tower segments 21, 22 can be composed of, for example, steel or also concrete.

These tower segments 21, 22 are prefabricated and joined to the tower at the site of the wind-power system. In order to shorten the erection time even more and to simplify the work and thus also to reduce the costs of the entire wind-power system, preferably the busbar segments 91, 92 are rigidly attached to the corresponding locations of the individual tower segments 21, 22 just before the tower 2 is erected. Preferably, the attachment of the busbar segments 91, 92 is realized only in the upper region of the associated tower segment 21, 22 by means of an attachment device 10, while the remaining part of the busbar segments 91, 92 is still movable within certain limits in order to simplify the connection to subsequent busbar segments. Through this construction, relative movements between the tower 2 and the busbars 91, 92, e.g., due to different expansion coefficients, can also be equalized. However, it can also be provided that additional holding elements 14 are used, which guide the busbar segments 91, 92 over their entire length. For this purpose, the cross section of the opening for the busbar segments 91, 92 can be dimensioned larger in the holding elements 14 than the cross section of the busbar segments 91, 92 themselves. In this way, a relative movement of the busbar segments 91, 92 into the holding elements 14 is enabled and simultaneously, the busbars 91, 92 are guided and limited in their movements.

In order to connect the busbar segments 91, 92 electrically and to bypass optional parts projecting into the interior, for example, flanges 211, 212 at the lower and upper edge of the tower segments 21, 22, and insulated, flexible connecting bars 13 are used, whose shape can be changed by hand when attaching to the two busbar segments 91, 92. These connecting bars 13 can compensate for material expansions or contractions, e.g., due to temperature fluctuations.

In FIG. 3, a perspective illustration of two parallel busbar segments 911, 912 is shown. These are screwed tightly to the holding device 14 by means of screws 15. Here, insulation means can be provided in order to insulate the busbar segments 911, 912 from the holding devices 14. Alternatively, the holding devices 14 themselves can also, of course, be produced from an insulating material. The holding device 14 itself is screwed tightly to the inner wall of the tower segment.

To protect the busbars 911, 912 from contact when the wind-power system is in operation, a protective sheet 16 is also provided, which can be installed already in the individual tower segments just like the busbar segments 911, 912 before the tower 2 is erected. By means of a guide bar 17, which can be composed of, for example, a rigid rubber, on the one hand this protective sleeve is fixed and on the other hand it is insulated from the tower segment. However, for attaching the protective sheet 16, other means, which are not shown here, can also be provided.

Furthermore, other devices, such as outlets, lights, etc., can also be attached in and/or on these protective sheets 16 provided as protective sleeves, so that these can be premounted also in a simple way. In addition, building these devices into the protective sleeve 16 prevents exposed mounting on the tower inner wall and thus leads to reduced risk of damage, e.g., due to falling objects when the tower is being erected and after it has been erected.

FIG. 4 shows a first configuration of a wind-power system according to the invention. Here, the power module 7 is preferably arranged within the gondola 4 and connected directly to the generator 6 by means of cables 18. After the generated power has been processed in the power module 7, it is led via another cable 19 to the busbars 9, there guided through the tower to the tower base, from where it is discharged outwards via a connecting line 12, for example, to a substation 40, which can lie close to or far removed from the wind-power system. An alternative position of the power module 7′, indicated by dashed lines, can also be attached to the gondola 4 on the outside. Connecting cables from the generator 6 to the power module 7′, as well as from there to the busbars 9, are left out for reasons of clarity.

FIG. 5 shows another configuration of a wind-power system according to the invention. Here, the power module comprises at least two power module units 71, 72. The first power module unit 71 is in turn arranged within the gondola 4 and performs initial processing of the generated power, for example, initial conversion to a different voltage range. Further processing of the generated power is then performed in the second power module unit 72, which is arranged underneath the tower head, for example, as shown in the region of the tower base. However, the second power module unit 72 can also be arranged vertically underneath the tower 2 on the foundation 3 or far removed from the tower base. Likewise, naturally the first power module unit 71 can also be arranged outside on the gondola 4, as shown in FIG. 4.

FIG. 6 shows a configuration of a wind-power system according to the invention, which is formed as a so-called off-shore wind-power system. Here, this wind-power system 1 stands on another foundation 3′ anchored on the sea floor 25. Indeed, in such off-shore wind-power systems, the power module can also be arranged in the region of the tower head or within the tower in the region of the tower base. However, preferably the power module 7 is arranged on land 30 and the power discharged from the tower head by means of the busbars. 9 is transmitted via underwater cables 12′ to the power module 7. This has the advantage that the power module 7 does not require extra protection from negative effects of seawater and that maintenance on the power module 7 is significantly simpler.

All of the above U.S. patents, U.S. patent application publications, U.S. patent applications, foreign patents, foreign patent applications and non-patent publications referred to in this specification and/or listed in the Application Data Sheet, are incorporated herein by reference, in their entirety.

From the foregoing it will be appreciated that, although specific embodiments of the invention have been described herein for purposes of illustration, various modifications may be made without deviating from the spirit and scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is not limited except as by the appended claims.