NORTH CHARLESTON — U.S.-based wind-energy manufacturing company GE Power & Water Thursday announced it is expected to be the first industrial partner to test its technology at the world’s most-advanced wind-turbine drivetrain testing facility.

GE Power & Water will use the state-of-the-art SCE&G Energy Innovation Center’s 7.5-megawatt test rig at the Clemson University Restoration Institute campus. GE will test its next-generation wind-turbine drivetrain technology over a period of several months beginning in spring 2014 to investigate its robustness, reliability and efficiency.

Mark Johnson, general manager for renewables engineering at GE Power & Water in Greenville, made the announcement during the Energy Innovation Center’s dedication. The event was attended by more than 1,000 people, including elected representatives, U.S. Department of Energy officials and industry executives from around the world.

”Developing the most-advanced technology has always been the cornerstone to GE’s presence in the wind industry and performance testing is a critical part of that process,” Johnson said. “Our collaboration with Clemson University will be an incredible asset to the development of more advanced GE drivetrain technology.”

The facility’s mission is to accelerate testing of advanced drivetrain systems for wind turbines in two testing areas: one up to 7.5 megawatts and the other up to 15 megawatts.

7.5 MW test rig with a static non-torque load applicator, upgradeable to dynamic in the future

  • Power (electrical closed loop): 8,700 kW
  • Test power: 7,500 kW
  • Nominal test torque: 6,000 kNm
  • Nacelle, drivetrain or gearbox testing for geared or direct-drive units
  • Capable of handling test specimens up to 8.5 meters in diameter

15 MW test rig with dynamic non-torque load applicator

  • Power (electrical closed loop): 17,400 kW
  • Test power: 15,700 kW
  • Nominal test torque: 15,000 kNm
  • Nacelle, drivetrain or gearbox testing for geared or direct-drive units
  • Capable of handling test specimens up to 13 meters

The larger test rig will be operational by summer 2014.

The $98 million test rigs were funded by a $45 million Energy Department grant and matched by $53 million in public and private funds.

Clemson University’s Nikolaos Rigas, executive director of the Restoration Institute, said GE Power & Water is one of the world’s premiere manufacturers in the power generation industry, and one of South Carolina’s most important employers.

“GE’s willingness to be the first company to explore the vast capabilities of the Energy Innovation Center validates the work of Clemson’s team of engineers and researchers who, in collaboration with industry, helped make this advanced testing facility a reality,” he said.

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GE Power & Water
GE Power & Water provides customers with a broad array of power generation, energy delivery and water process technologies to solve their challenges locally. Power & Water works in all areas of the energy industry including renewable resources such as wind and solar; biogas and alternative fuels; and coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy. The business also develops advanced technologies to help solve the world’s most complex challenges related to water availability and quality. Power & Water’s six business units include Distributed Power, Nuclear Energy, Power Generation Products, Power Generation Services, Renewable Energy and Water & Process Technologies. Headquartered in Schenectady, N.Y., Power & Water is GE’s largest industrial business. Follow GE Power & Water and GE’s renewables business on Twitter @GE_PowerWater and @GErenewables