Chinese developers have unveiled the world’s first permanent magnetic levitation wind power generator at the Wind Power Asia Exhibition 2006 in Beijing. The device is called a MagLev generator, and is being regarded as a key breakthrough in the evolution of global wind power technology. The generator was jointly developed by Guangzhou Energy Research Institute under China’s Academy of Sciences. The MagLev generator is expected to boost wind energy generating capacity by as much as 20 percent over traditional wind turbines.
According to the chief scientist behind the technology, the generator can dramatically lowers operational expenses of wind farms — by as much as 50 per cent. This, he claims, would drive the cost of wind power to below 5 cents (U.S.) per kilowatt-hour. [Full text]
For more on this topic, see the Worldwatch Institute report “China Makes Huge Breakthrough in Wind Power Technology,” and a Xinhua report (in Chinese). For more about the science behind magnetic levitation see this Wikipedia entry.