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Inventors of the Year 2017

Lifetime Achievement

Inventor Thorkil Munk-Hansen is a master when it comes to arranging the many components and systems of a wind turbine in such a way that the turbine will reliably operate for a period of 25 years and can be easily maintained.

Cleverly planned right from the start

Cleverly planned right from the start

All components of a windturbine – from the rotors and generators to the gears, converters and cooling systems – have to work in concert with one another. But that is far from all: The turbine has to be assembled, transported, installed and maintained. All of these factors have to be taken into account when the nacelle is designed.

Think far ahead

Think far ahead

“When I view the nacelle with my inner eye, I primarily think about how you will be able to gain access to the individual components in the future,” the inventor says. If one of the motors, which turn the nacelle on the tower into the wind, has to be repaired, technicians do not have to remove other parts. This is critically important for people who have to work in blustery conditions at a height of more than 100 meters.

A young industry with major challenges

A young industry with major challenges

“Because wind power is still a relatively new industry, there is still much to invent for wind turbines. “Unlike washing machines, whose design hardly differs from one manufacturer to another, the design of wind turbines differs greatly from company to company,” Munk-Hansen says. A generally accepted standard has not been worked out for wind turbines. Munk-Hansen considers this to be a major challenge.

The obvious ideas are rarely the best ones. You have to turn things over in your mind a thousand times and completely rethink things.

Thorkil Munk-Hansen, Chief Designer Siemens Gamesa
Inventor Thorkil Munk-Hansen