MADE3D: Enabling the Next-Generation High-Torque- Density Wind Generators by Additive Design and 3D Printing

Latha Sethuraman, Ganesh Vijayakumar, Shreyas Ananthan, Parans Paranthaman, Jonathan Keller, Ryan King

Research output: NRELPresentation


Direct-drive wind turbine generators are increasing in popularity, thanks to recent project developments - especially offshore, where reliability and efficiency are major cost drivers. Yet, high capital costs are forcing many original equipment manufacturers to consider lightweight, high-torque density generators for next-generation multi-megawatt turbines that may be difficult to realize by traditional design or manufacturing methods. In this study, we present a new design framework enabled by advanced machine learning and multimaterial additive manufacturing to perform a magnetic topology optimization that maximizes the torque per rotor active mass for a 15-megawatt direct-drive permanent magnet wind generator. A comparison of the proposed approach against conventional topology optimization demonstrated a significant increase in computational efficiency and accuracy in performance predictions. Results using single and multimaterial compositions for rotor core and magnets identify a wider choice of 3D printable designs for a given specification. A hybrid combination of sintered and dysprosium-free polymer-bonded magnets shows good potential for torque performance by saving material costs up to 8.75%. More than 30% improvement in rotor torque densities is identified which can marginally improve the overall generator torque density. With the rapid evolution of multipowder deposition technologies, this study can greatly inspire a new paradigm for design-driven manufacturing with novel material compositions and lightweight, low-cost, high-strength multimaterial geometries that were previously unexplored for direct-drive generators.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the 5th Conference for Wind Power Drives CWD 2021, 9-11 March 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-5000-79384


  • 3D printing
  • additive manufacturing
  • wind energy
  • wind generator


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