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Reliability boost for aging doubly-fed wind turbine converters

New design upgrade offering for ABB’s doubly-fed converters has a number of unique outcomes that can reduce the life cycle costs of aging wind turbines.

Since the late 1990s, doubly-fed induction generators (DFIG) have been a predominant turbine technology and industry standard for electrical drivetrain solutions. Still today, it is the preferred solution for onshore wind farms for major wind turbine OEMs. There are several reasons for it.

First of all, DFIG solution is a very cost-competitive solution for onshore wind turbines. And it has a well-established multi-source supply chain network. Since the majority of new wind farms are still onshore, along with tremendous installed base, we expect that the DFIG solutions will stay as predominant electrical drivetrain technology also for next coming years.

In order to be able to respond to the wind industry market demand efficiently, ABB has developed new life cycle service products for utility-scale doubly-fed converters. The new service offering utilizes latest revamp accessories and design upgrade arrangements on power module technology, ensuring a robust and reliable operation regardless where the converter is placed – in the tower or in the nacelle.

Design upgrades and their benefits

What do we mean when we are speaking about converter design upgrades?

The clear advantage of design upgrade is that all electrical components are utilizing latest state-of-the-art components, but are based on the same core technology which was prevailing once product was released to market at the very first day.

Today’s upgrade designs however are taking full advantage of a decade of accumulated onsite field experience at ABB, thorough reliability testing results, and systematic design improvement processes. These provide the best possible return on investment by phased migration to the latest technology, but without a need of conducting any time-consuming and expensive turbine re-certifications.

Last but not least, all revamps and accessories are fully backward compatible with your existing design, and unquestionably, this significantly prolongs the lifetime and lowers the life cycle costs of the entire converter.

Robust power modules for reliable DFIG operation

Both IGBT semiconductors and control method play an important role in frequency converter operation. If the interaction between the control and the IGBTs does not work correctly, such as power cycling and/or thermal cycling phenomenon, a power module failure is almost inevitable. This can then risk the operation of the converter and the entire wind turbine.

The new upgraded ACS800 module for DFIGs is designed for harsh environments and heavy cyclical loads. Its design accommodates the latest revisions of IGBTs, PCBAs, du/dt filter, and DC film capacitors. Together with design improvements and new thermal-compound materials, thermal-cycling performance and reliability are increased. Along with latest firmware upgrade, this risk of a power module failure is reduced to a minimum. The new upgrade offering for ACS800-67 doubly-fed converters considerably enhances the robustness and performance of doubly-fed electrical drivetrains, taking wind turbine reliability to the next level.

Life cycle services for ACS800-67 wind turbine converters

Together with all new design and component upgrade solutions, you can easily and cost-efficiently achieve optimum package in terms of performance, power quality and grid code compliance, and lower the life-cycle costs of doubly-fed wind turbines.

For additional information, please contact Jari-Pekka Matsinen, jari-pekka.matsinen@fi.abb.com. For more information about the upgrades please visit here.

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