Structural Optimization of a Direct-Drive Wind Turbine Generator Inspired by Additive Manufacturing

Austin Hayes, Latha Sethuraman, Katherine Dykes, Lee Jay Fingersh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus Citations


This study explores the structural freedom and design opportunities of additive manufacturing for a 5-MW direct-drive generator for a wind turbine and compares it to more traditional spoke-arm designs using NREL's GeneratorSE. The work focuses on light-weighting the stator within the generator, complementing previous rotor work. The light-weighting approach uses complex geometries and lattice structures made possible by additive manufacturing to realize increased strength with reduced mass. By reducing the mass at the top of the tower, wind turbines face lower loading along with decreased cost and improved structural stability. Furthermore, an altered bedplate support location facilitates lighter stator designs by better load transfer. Design optimization suggests additive manufacturing has the potential to transform generator designs to realize light-weighting. Since these machines are large, simulation and modeling are essential first steps before future experimental validation.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)740-752
Number of pages13
JournalProcedia Manufacturing
StatePublished - 2018
Event46th SME North American Manufacturing Research Conference, NAMRC 2018 - College Station, United States
Duration: 18 Jun 201822 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-70973


  • additive manufacturing
  • direct drive generator
  • light-weighting
  • simulation/modeling
  • stator
  • wind turbine


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