By Liz Segrist
Published Oct. 7, 2013
Two massive pieces of equipment arrived recently in North Charleston — both essential parts for the world’s largest wind turbine test facility.
Crews spent hours Thursday slowly moving a huge gearbox, which was wrapped in heavy-duty plastic, and a giant steel ring, which was enclosed in a huge wooden box, into Clemson’s wind turbine drivetrain testing facility in North Charleston. (Photo/Liz Segrist)
The nearly four-story gearbox, which was wrapped in heavy-duty plastic, and a giant steel ring, which was enclosed in a huge wooden box, arrived from Germany on a barge Thursday. The equipment will become part of a 15-megawatt drivetrain testing unit in Clemson University’s wind turbine drivetrain testing facility.
Crews spent hours Thursday slowly moving the ring, which helps connect the gearbox to the rest of the testing equipment. They had to use a 500-ton floating crane and heavy chains to move the ring from the barge onto a 192-wheel truck, which rolled slowly into the facility.
The 341-ton gearbox and 170-ton ring will complete a 1,000-ton unit that can produce 15 MW of power. The facility also has a 150-ton unit that can produce 7.5 MW of power.
Drivetrain manufacturers for the wind turbine industry will rent the facility to test their equipment.
“It will provide real-world testing without a need to go out into the real world,” program manager Jim Tuten said.
The $100 million facility will be dedicated in November with an anticipated opening in the summer.
Two other wind turbine testing facilities exist in Spain and Colorado, but this is the largest-scale testing site in the world, said Peter Hull, a Clemson University spokesman.
Reach Liz Segrist at 843-849-3119.
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