TECNOGEN S.p.A. and Perkins make power a breeze for offshore wind farm

A flexible and powerful generator set solution, provided by TECNOGEN S.p.A. and powered by Perkins engines, is helping an offshore windfarm become a strong force in Germany’s renewable power sector.

Located in the German North Sea, some 80 km sailing from Eemshaven, the Netherlands, is the Merkur Offshore wind farm. This high-tech facility uses 66 wind turbines to transform blustery weather conditions into enough electricity to power half-a-million homes.

Conditions at sea are notoriously challenging. Under the threat of surging storms and levels of salty air that can cause metals to corrode, only the most dependable machines with the most robust components survive.

Merkur, like other power stations, needs power to make power. With essential site equipment and technology to run, the facility knew that having a dependable power supply would be crucial to its sustained success.

TECNOGEN S.p.A. making power a breeze for Merkur Offshore wind farm

Non-stop support… then a switch to standby

But its requirements weren’t straightforward. In the short-term, before a connection with the power grid could be established, the site needed generators to meet its entire power demand, day and night. Once a mains connection was in place, those same generator sets would need to seamlessly switch to providing standby power.

Merkur selected Italian generator set experts TECNOGEN S.p.A. to help them find the answer to this unique conundrum.

TECNOGEN S.p.A. has more than 30 years’ experience in the design and production of generating sets, creating machines from 2 to 3,000 kVA for customers across sectors including rental, mining, oil and gas, civil defence and construction. With a distribution network stretching across more than 70 countries, TECNOGEN S.p.A. is a leading global player with all the expertise and engineering excellence to meet Merkur’s brief.

Bruno’s bespoke solution was to supply 12 generator sets equipped with Perkins® 404D-22TG engines. The company selected the Perkins platform for its compact size and standard electronic speed regulator, which ensures a higher frequency accuracy.

Simple to synchronize when you need more power

The 2.2 liter 404D-22TG delivers up to 36 kVA combined with world-class power density, durability, fuel efficiency and quiet operation. While individual units have a relatively modest rating, each is equipped with a synchronization panel, which allows it to operate in parallel with other generator sets whenever more energy is needed.

The engine’s excellent power to weight ratio also helped TECNOGEN S.p.A. meet a 1,500 kg weight limit on the generator set. This made it suitable for transport inside smaller ships and vessels with no compromise on performance.

TECNOGEN S.p.A. made modifications to the generator set to ensure its durability under extreme conditions. The canopy, for example, underwent a special painting treatment consisting of a layer of sea primer followed by two layers of specialist paint. The alternator was also treated to increase its resistance.

An interesting innovation was the inclusion of a wind turbine charger. This allows the power produced on the wind farm to directly feed the generator set’s battery, bringing the energy cycle full circle.

After flawless provision of prime power, the units are now supplying approximately 1,200 hours a year of reliable emergency back-up. Together, Bruno and Perkins have delivered a solution that’s resilient to the elements and helping to turn the tide for renewable energy.