Structural Mass Saving Potential of a 5-MW Direct-Drive Generator Designed for Additive Manufacturing

Latha Sethuraman, Lee Fingersh, Austin Hayes, Katherine Dykes

Research output: NRELPoster


As wind turbine blade diameters and tower height increase to capture more energy in the wind, higher structural loads results in more structural support material increasing the cost of scaling. Weight reductions in the generator transfer to overall cost savings of the system. Additive manufacturing facilitates a design-for-functionality approach, thereby removing traditional manufacturing constraints and labor costs. The most feasible additive manufacturing technology identified for large, direct-drive generators in this study is powder-binder jetting of a sand cast mold. A parametric finite element analysis optimization study is performed, optimizing for mass and deformation. Also, topology optimization is employed for each parameter-optimized design.The optimized U-beam spoked web design results in a 24 percent reduction in structural mass of the rotor and 60 percent reduction in radial deflection.
Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2017

Publication series

NamePresented at WindTech 2017, International Conference on Future Technologies in Wind Energy, 24-26 October 2017, Boulder, Colorado

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PO-5000-70322


  • additive manufacturing
  • direct-drive generator
  • structural design
  • topology optimization


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