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Hydraulic-electric hybrid wind turbines: Tower mass saving and energy storage capacity


  • Qin, Chao
  • Innes-Wimsatt, Elijah
  • Loth, Eric


This study investigates concept of introduction of a hydraulic motor in the nacelle to convert rotor shaft work into hydraulic power that is transmitted to the electric generator at ground/sea level. This combination of hydraulic and electric power generation can help simplify or even eliminate the gearbox, and significantly reduce the head weight mass that the tower needs to support. Also, this hybrid concept allows energy storage in the tower which can reduce electric generator size. The analytical technique for tower mass savings employed herein was validated and used to show that 33%–50% of the tower mass may be saved through decreased tower thickness. In addition, the hydraulic-electric generator concept is compatible with employing isothermal CAES in the tower. Analysis based on cross-over pressure for the design limit indicates that this energy storage concept provides more than 24 h of energy storage if one considers S-glass towers of 10 MW or more. To accompany the above engineering analysis, a CAPEX cost model was developed based on recent production wind turbines and system designs. The hydraulic-electric hybrid system with CAES was estimated to yield a total CAPEX savings of 17% due to a substantial decrease in generator and electrical infrastructure costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Qin, Chao & Innes-Wimsatt, Elijah & Loth, Eric, 2016. "Hydraulic-electric hybrid wind turbines: Tower mass saving and energy storage capacity," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C), pages 69-79.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:renene:v:99:y:2016:i:c:p:69-79
    DOI: 10.1016/j.renene.2016.06.037

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hedegaard, K. & Meibom, P., 2012. "Wind power impacts and electricity storage – A time scale perspective," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 37(1), pages 318-324.
    2. Green, Richard & Vasilakos, Nicholas, 2011. "The economics of offshore wind," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(2), pages 496-502, February.
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    4. Saadat, Mohsen & Shirazi, Farzad A. & Li, Perry Y., 2015. "Modeling and control of an open accumulator Compressed Air Energy Storage (CAES) system for wind turbines," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 137(C), pages 603-616.
    5. Qin, Chao & Loth, Eric, 2014. "Liquid piston compression efficiency with droplet heat transfer," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 114(C), pages 539-550.
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    Cited by:

    1. Qin, Chao & Saunders, Gordon & Loth, Eric, 2017. "Offshore wind energy storage concept for cost-of-rated-power savings," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 201(C), pages 148-157.
    2. Roggenburg, Michael & Esquivel-Puentes, Helber A. & Vacca, Andrea & Bocanegra Evans, Humberto & Garcia-Bravo, Jose M. & Warsinger, David M. & Ivantysynova, Monika & Castillo, Luciano, 2020. "Techno-economic analysis of a hydraulic transmission for floating offshore wind turbines," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 153(C), pages 1194-1204.
    3. Noyes, Carlos & Qin, Chao & Loth, Eric, 2018. "Pre-aligned downwind rotor for a 13.2 MW wind turbine," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 116(PA), pages 749-754.
    4. Zengguang Liu & Guolai Yang & Liejiang Wei & Daling Yue & Yanhua Tao, 2018. "Research on the Robustness of the Constant Speed Control of Hydraulic Energy Storage Generation," Energies, MDPI, vol. 11(5), pages 1-14, May.
    5. Wang, Kunlin & Sheng, Songwei & Zhang, Yaqun & Ye, Yin & Jiang, Jiaqiang & Lin, Hongjun & Huang, Zhenxin & Wang, Zhenpeng & You, Yage, 2019. "Principle and control strategy of pulse width modulation rectifier for hydraulic power generation system," Renewable Energy, Elsevier, vol. 135(C), pages 1200-1206.
    6. Tao Wang & He Wang, 2017. "Research on an Integrated Hydrostatic-Driven Electric Generator with Controllable Load for Renewable Energy Applications," Energies, MDPI, vol. 10(9), pages 1-17, August.
    7. Olusola Fajinmi & Josiah L. Munda & Yskandar Hamam & Olawale Popoola, 2023. "Compressed Air Energy Storage as a Battery Energy Storage System for Various Application Domains: A Review," Energies, MDPI, vol. 16(18), pages 1-42, September.
    8. Roggenburg, Michael & Warsinger, David M. & Bocanegra Evans, Humberto & Castillo, Luciano, 2021. "Combatting water scarcity and economic distress along the US-Mexico border using renewable powered desalination," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 291(C).
    9. Simpson, J.G. & Hanrahan, G. & Loth, E. & Koenig, G.M. & Sadoway, D.R., 2021. "Liquid metal battery storage in an offshore wind turbine: Concept and economic analysis," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 149(C).

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