Thursday, June 25, 2009

Delaying new post because of Google's problems


I have most of the material ready for another posting on the SWS wind farm at Kilgarvan. However, I am going to delay publishing for the time being because Google Blogger is so unreliable at the moment.

The second from last posting, about the Nordex N90 turbine, has half of the photos not loading much of the time.

While I was in the process of publishing that post, I had to keep returning to the Blogger site as the pictures would not publish.

I hope Google get themselves sorted soon :-(


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Google a Victim of its own success


Lots of problems with Google Lately
I apologise for the inconvenience

I would like to apologise to my readers for the problems they have been experiencing with accessing the photographs on Google Blogger.

Victim of its own success?

Google, at the moment, is experiencing a lot of problems. Google Mail is off-line as often as not, albeit for minutes at a time. Google News is the same, often not accessible for long periods. But the one affecting this Blog is Google Blogger.

Please try again later - this is becoming a familiar Mantra!!

For weeks now some or all of the photographs posted on Google Blogger have been unavailable for long periods. If you cannot see the pictures the problem is with Google servers not being able to handle the load. Please try again later when Google has recovered it balance somewhat!!


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Nordex Windturbine Parts


A Day on the Farm
Please NOTE
Google Blogger is having a lot of problems recently.
The Photos on this blog may not be visible at times.
Please try again later if that is the case.

This is the first of several posts detailing the Nordex N90 and showing some close-ups of the parts and the installation of a blade.

The SWS wind farm at Kilgarvan is a large and impressive site. There are many dirt roads running through the mountain top site, easy enough to get a bit lost up there. The wind-farm is situated on a beautiful mountaintop with absolutely stunning views.

There is about 10 Km of a really rough ride along dirt roads to the very heart of the mountain to where I was to witness the lifting and fitting of a blade to the 80 meter high hub of a Nordex N90 2.5 megawatt turbine.

Met by the Wind Miller

Nordex's site manager Jonathan Millar met me, saw to my safety, and showed me around the installation site. Jonathan has an interesting surname for a new breed of wind mill man. I was allowed to photograph the bits of a wind turbine and I got up close and personal with the massive fibre-glass blades, Jonathan even opened the base plate of one of the blades so I could have a look inside at the construction.

The Nordex N90 Spec. Sheet

The Nordex N90 Spec. Sheet. NOTE: Blogger does not give a clear picture
Please click on the picture to get better definition.

We set out from Base

Starting from Base. NOTE please click on picture for better quality

Wind turbines like the Nordex N90 with an 80 meter hub height require one heck of a big foundation. In this installation the transformer is set into the base. The large number of tower mounting bolts, which you can see on the above photo, are precision fitted. Just imaging the crane has a huge section of steel tower hanging over the base and there are a couple of bolts an inch out of place??

Not suitable for your Ford Focus

And Gear up from there!

A fairly hefty and very high-tech gearbox is used in the Nordex N90. Can you just imagine the kind of torque involved with a rotor having a wingspan of 90 meters, that is 295 feet diameter, spinning in a strong wind? To the right of the gearbox you can see the rotor hub.

The Hub

Not a Russian Space Capsule - just a Nordex Turbine Hub!

What can I say - - it is the bit that the blades are bolted onto. The ladder conjures up images of vertigo if you can imagine climbing on it while 80 meters up in the air!!

The little house on a pole - aka Nacelle

An Expensive Mobile Home said Jonathan!!

The Nacelle or box behind the turbine blades houses the gearbox, the control gear and the generator among other bits of hi-tech machinery. I remarked to Jonathan Millar that the fibre-glass nacelle would make a very nice mobile home, a very costly one he retorted.

Below are two views of the nacelle, borrowed from the Nordex web site, which gives the layout of the various mechanics and electrics. Further below is a basic listing of the parts.

1. Pitch Bearing
2. Rotor Hub
3. Pitch Drive
4. Framework
5. Yaw adjustment bearing
6. Main Rotor Shaft
7. Yaw Brakes
8. That Great Big Gearbox!
9. Holding Brake.
10. Coupling to generator.
11. The Heart of the matter - The Generator.
12. Cooler for Generator.
13. Cooler for the Gearbox.
14. Wind Sensors.
15. On-board Crane.
16. The Yaw Drive Mechanism.
17. Support of Gearbox.
18. The Nacelle Fibre-glass Housing
19. Rotor Bearing.
20. Stem of Rotor Blade.

The Fibre-glass Blades

Massive does not adequately describe the huge blades of the N90. They are also elegant and possess a certain beauty of line. The blades are in one piece and are made of fibre-glass and resin, and at the base, have a wall thickness of about 10 cm.

Time for a Walk along a Country Blade!

Above you can see Jonathan walking the length of the blade. To the left you can see the gearbox and hub, while at the blade stem, you can see the nacelle.

Blade Runner?

Fine living space inside the Blade!

The blades are hollow inside with some just cross bracing pieces to strengthen the structure. There is lightening protection cabling built into the blades.

In fact there are two for rent here!

Made from 10cm thick highly compacted fibreglass

Bit cramped inside the blade! Cross braces spoil a blade run!

In the next post I aim to show the installation site, the cranes, and the blade being lifted into position.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

SWS Wind Farm at Kilgarvan


SWS Natural Resources
Wind Farm at Kilgarvan

I was invited by Kevin O'Donovan of SWS to visit and photograph the installation of new turbines at the very large SWS wind farm at Kilgarvan Co. Kerry. I was introduced to Jonathan Miller the Nordex Turbine Manufacturer's site manager who facilitated my visit to the wild and beautiful mountain top site.

The site has a variety of wind turbines installed. The current phase consists of 10 Vestas V52 turbines (850kW)with a hub height of 55m, and 13 large Nordex N90 turbines (2.5MW) having an 80m hub height.

I have captured some very interesting images during my visit and got to see close up some details of the Nordex turbine. Over the next week or so, I will be publishing a series of posts with the photos and details.


Friday, June 12, 2009

Spirit of Ireland Presentation


Graham O'Donnell
Prof. Igor Shvets
presentation on youtube

Graham O'Donnell (right) and Igor Shvets gave a presentation, outlining the "Spirit of Ireland" proposal. The presentation took place on 4th June at the Institute of International and European Affairs. The Institute of International and European Affairs is a sort of think-tank. It provides a meeting place for the exchange of ideas with representatives from industry, the professions, academia, and government etc.

The presentation is quite informative have a look:


Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Spirit of Ireland Proposal


Spirit of Ireland

In four of my very recent posts I have featured the "Spirit of Ireland" Wind-Hydro proposal. It is a proposal that has caught my imagination and that of many others. It has also sparked some questions and concerns some of which I have published. The following letter was posted as a comment to one of my posts by Graham O'Donnell the "Spirit of Ireland" project initiator. Graham O'Donnell has invested both his time and money into developing this idea. I personally hope this project prospers, and that all the questions and concerns can be fully addressed.

I think Graham O'Donnell's voice deserves a full posting and I have therefore copied his comments below:


Thanks for your thoughts. All of the points you make have merit.

The technical approach is simple. The scale is significant. I took the decision to be bold with the launch because I believe our incremental approach in Ireland often leads up to do nothing except talk. It may be no different here. In the meanwhile we are working through a very detailed technical and fiscal plan with considerable local consultation. Over the next few months the real possibilities of this project will emerge. Thank you for your comments.

Kindest regards,

Graham O'Donnell.


Tuesday, June 09, 2009

UK's 1st Geothermal Project?


UK's First Deep Bore Geo-thermal Project?

The Eden Project in Cornwall, a cool looking Geo-dome visitor centre, plans to be the UK’s first deep bore geothermal hot rock-powered project.

Cornwall has large granite mass at relatively shallow depths of about 3km. Water from the proposed boreholes would emerge at 150 centigrade and be used primarily to heat the geo-domes. The rest of the heat would be turned into electricity via a heat exchanger system.

In addition to powering the Eden project the company aim to supply up to 5000 homes with electricity. The projected completion date is 2012.


Monday, June 01, 2009

Some Thoughts on "Spirit of Ireland"


Some of my thoughts to date
on the position of the
"Spirit of Ireland" initiative.

1. I think the basic idea of a promotion of sustainable wind based and hydro-storage energy future for Ireland is basically an excellent one. It could not only secure our energy and economic future, it could also stimulate the economy and mitigate against the effects of the deepening depression.

2. However, there are not enough leading public figures rowing in behind the idea and fronting a campaign to fire the imagination of the Irish public.

3. Also, there are some serious questions being asked about both the technical and economic viability of the project. The questioning voices come from several respected experts in their respective fields. That these voices are audible means at least that insufficient background consultation and consensus building has taken place prior to launch. In all human affairs, a unilateral approach, no matter how well meaning, can often spark some very negative responses. The negative stuff can be anything from hurt personal or professional egos, to political differences, to vested business interests, and even include some heart-felt beliefs which contradict the proposals.

4. A proposal with such a high price tag and involving every soul on the island of Ireland in deep fiscal, environmental, political, and legal questions, is for the man and woman in the street, like playing high stake poker without having all their cards in view and without a proper understanding of the rules of the game. It could also be likened to being told that you need open heart surgery and not having full trust in the doctors. It is therefore of vital importance that the minds of the people are put at ease by a barrage of technical, environmental, and economic experts all agreeing on the basics - like the surgeons all agreeing on the operation procedure. To date this has certainly NOT been the case.

5. IMHO I think it might be necessary for the "Spirit of Ireland" team to re-invent the initiative in order to bring on board the people and organisations that can persuade the public to support this huge proposal with its vast implications for the future of Ireland.

As I said, I think the basic "Spirit of Ireland" concept and proposal are worthy of consideration. I applaud the initiative that has been taken to date. I would love to see this idea grow and flourish. However, I feel that the gears of the initiative are in need of some serious lubrication at this point in time.