Chinese developers have unveiled the world’s first permanent magnetic levitation wind power generator at the Wind Power Asia Exhibition 2006 in Beijing. The device is called a MagLev generator, and is being regarded as a key breakthrough in the evolution of global wind power technology. The generator was jointly developed by Guangzhou Energy Research Institute under China’s Academy of Sciences. The MagLev generator is expected to boost wind energy generating capacity by as much as 20 percent over traditional wind turbines. According to the chief scientist behind the technology, the generator can dramatically lowers operational expenses of wind farms -- by as much as 50 per cent. This, he claims, would drive the cost of wind power to below 5 cents (U.S.) per kilowatt-hour.
The MaglLev is able to utilize winds with starting speeds as low as 1.5 meters per second (m/s), and cut-in speeds of 3 m/s, the chief of Zhongke Energy was quoted as saying at the exhibition.
The Worldwatch Institute, citing Xinhua News, said the new technology could potentially fill the power void in locations with no connection to the grid by harnessing low-speed wind resources that were previously untappable. "With an increasing number of Chinese and international investors joining the global booming wind power market, the technology is expected to create new opportunities in low-wind-speed areas worldwide such as mountain regions, islands, observatories, and television transfer stations. In addition, the Maglev generator will be able to provide roadside lighting along highways by utilizing the airflow generated from vehicles passing by."