Exploring Optimization Opportunities in Four-Point Suspension Wind Turbine Drivetrains through Integrated Design Approaches

Latha Sethuraman, Julian Quick, Yi Guo, Katherine Dykes

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


Drivetrain design has significant influence on the costs of wind power generation. Current industry practices usually approach the drivetrain design with loads and system requirements defined by the turbine manufacturer. Several different manufacturers are contracted to supply individual components from the low-speed shaft to the generator – each receiving separate design specifications from the turbine manufacturer. Increasingly, more integrated approaches to turbine design have shown promise for blades and towers. Yet, integrated drivetrain design is a challenging task owing to the complex physical behavior of the important load-bearing components, namely the main bearings, gearbox, and the generator. In this paper we combine two of NREL’s systems engineering design tools, DriveSE and GeneratorSE, to enable a comprehensive system-level drivetrain optimization for the IEA Wind reference turbine for land-based applications. We compare a more traditional design with integrated approaches employing decoupled and coupled design optimization. It is demonstrated that both approaches have the potential to realize notable mass savings with opportunities to lower the costs of energy.

Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2018
EventWind Energy Symposium, 2018 - Kissimmee, United States
Duration: 8 Jan 201812 Jan 2018


ConferenceWind Energy Symposium, 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

See NREL/CP-5000-70622 for preprint

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5000-71327


  • doubly fed induction generator
  • drivetrains
  • optimization


Dive into the research topics of 'Exploring Optimization Opportunities in Four-Point Suspension Wind Turbine Drivetrains through Integrated Design Approaches'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this