Wind Turbine Drivetrains: State-of-the-Art Technologies and Future Development Trends

Amir Nejad, Jonathan Keller, Yi Guo, Shawn Sheng, Henk Polinder, Simon Watson, Jianning Dong, Zian Qin, Amir Ebrahimi, Ralf Schelenz, Francisco Gutierrez Guzman, Daniel Cornel, Reza Golafshan, Georg Jacobs, Bart Blockmans, Jelle Bosmans, Bert Pluymers, James Carroll, Sofia Koukoura, Edward HartAlasdair McDonald, Anand Natarajan, Jone Torsvik, Farid Moghadam, Pieter-Jan Daems, Timothy Verstraeten, Cedric Peeters, Jan Helsen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus Citations


This paper presents the state-of-the-art technologies and development trends of wind turbine drivetrains - the system that converts kinetic energy of the wind to electrical energy - in different stages of their life cycle: design, manufacturing, installation, operation, lifetime extension, decommissioning and recycling. Offshore development and digitalization are also a focal point in this study. Drivetrain in this context includes the whole power conversion system: main bearing, shafts, gearbox, generator and power converter. The main aim of this article is to review the drivetrain technology development as well as to identify future challenges and research gaps. The main challenges in drivetrain research identified in this paper include drivetrain dynamic responses in large or floating turbines, aerodynamic and farm control effects, use of rare-earth material in generators, improving reliability through prognostics, and use of advances in digitalization. These challenges illustrate the multidisciplinary aspect of wind turbine drivetrains, which emphasizes the need for more interdisciplinary research and collaboration.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)387-411
Number of pages25
JournalWind Energy Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

See NREL/JA-5000-80143 for for article as published in Wind Energy Science Discussions

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5000-82406


  • drivetrain
  • gearbox
  • generator
  • main bearing
  • power converter


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