NSK selected for large-scale offshore wind turbine research project

NSK is announcing its selection as part of a major research project funded by the Japanese Government’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). The project will pursue research that enables the rapid largescale deployment of floating offshore wind turbines in Japan.

) To help optimise wind energy applications, NSK offers a range of bearing solutions that
include hybrid and roller types. Photo: nblx/Shutterstock

The ambition of the project is to research and develop technology that evaluates the wake effect phenomenon in floating wind turbines. Aside from NSK, key project members include
Kyushu University (Multiscale Offshore Wind Research Division), Toshiba Energy Systems Corporation and Hitachi Zosen Corporation. Professor Takanori Uchida of Kyushu University will lead the project.

The government of Japan has set a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, with offshore floating wind turbines expected to provide a notable contribution. However, there are specific challenges to overcome, including a phenomenon known as the wake effect, which occurs downwind of turbines during blade rotation. In large-scale offshore wind farms comprising of numerous turbines, wake effect causes negative outcomes such as greater turbulence. In addition, there is a reduction in electricity generation on the downwind side and an increase in the load acting on the turbines.To deliver large-scale offshore wind farms in Japan as quickly and appropriately as possible, among the most vital tasks is developing technology to help understand and precisely predict the wake effect. It is also of paramount importance to establish innovative and optimal design methods for Japan’s geographical context.

Taking place in a large wind tunnel facility at Kyushu University, researchers have several objectives, including: to comprehend the wake effect unique to floating wind turbines and their mutual interference phenomena; to develop technology for their prediction and evaluation; and to set out the future pathway for technology development with an eye toward industry academia collaboration. The wake effect in floating wind turbines is mostly unstudied, so the project team expects the research to solve technical issues for large floating offshore wind farms and make a significant contribution to enabling their introduction at scale.

As part of the project’s research, NSK aims to enhance the reliability of bearings for wind turbines by understanding the attributes of load changes acting on turbines as a result of the wake effect, thereby supporting more widespread adoption of wind power generation.

The NSK Group is actively promoting ESG management and will pursue opportunities for business growth and contribute to a sustainable society by leveraging technological
capabilities that contribute to global environmental conservation.

About NSK Europe
NSK Europe Ltd. is the European organisation of the Tokyo-based bearing manufacturer NSK, which was
founded in Japan in 1916 and today employs nearly 29,882 people in its worldwide operations. The products
and solutions provided by the industrial and automotive supplier can be found wherever things move. In addition
to nearly all types of rolling bearings, the company’s portfolio includes housed bearings, linear technology,
wheel bearing units, transmission and engine bearings and steering systems. The company is oriented to
perfection in all of its business activities. Its aim is quality leadership in its industry, which it strives for through a
continuous process of improvement, excellent product development, optimised production processes and
customer-oriented service processes. In fiscal year 2022, the more than 4,030 employees of NSK Europe Ltd.
generated sales of over € 893 million.

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