FASTAP inaugurates a new benchmark medium voltage laboratory in Europe, aimed at improving the wind energy sector

Last 27th march, the EU-funded FASTAP project inaugurated its 700 m2 medium voltage laboratory at the University of Mondragon, providing a leading European facility of its kind, capable of experimenting with pioneering, cutting-edge technology. The innovative nature of the laboratory’s potential performance is unparalleled; few facilities in the world will be as well prepared as this one.

The entities behind the project have extensive experience of working together and cover the entire value chain for the final FASTAP product to reach the market. Siemens Gamesa, a leading company in the manufacture and maintenance of wind turbines, is the main coordinator of the project. It will be the integrator and validator of the FASTAP product in the Siemens Gamesa 4.X and Siemens Gamesa 5.X platforms through the prototypes that the company has in the CENER Experimental Park in the Alaiz mountains.

Mondragon Unibertsitatea is the most industrially-oriented university in Spain and was the first to develop the original technology on which FASTAP is based. It will be responsible for providing the new on-load tap-changing technology for the wind turbines. Infineon is the market leader in high-performance bipolar semiconductors and will provide the know-how and commercial capability in thyristor-based semiconductors. Finally, SGB-SMIT, Europe’s leading manufacturer in the development of mid-size transformers, will provide the transformer know-how and commercial capability.

Cost reduction

FASTAP’s goal is to transform and improve the wind energy sector by optimising the electrical capabilities of turbines, so its technology focuses on increasing energy production while reducing CO2 emissions and associated costs.

In fact, thanks to the construction of this new laboratory, the aim is to reduce the cost of leveraging wind energy by up to 5.5% and simultaneously achieve a 5% increase in annual production, thus responding to the current market situation.

To this end, FASTAP aims to replace the traditional wind turbine transformer with a faster on-load tap-changer transformer that improves the electrical performance of wind turbines and facilitates their integration into weak grids. This new technology uses semiconductors that make it possible to choose and regulate, very quickly, the best voltage at which the wind turbine operates. The drivers of the project have extensive experience of working together and cover the entire value chain to bring the final product to the market.

A new reference laboratory

The new equipment will enable the various tests aimed at improving the wind energy sector to be carried out. In fact, the equipment installed will have the capacity to test rotating machines of up to 8MW of rated power and will be able to validate 20kV medium-voltage grid codes.

The new space has a surface area of 700 m2 with independent test areas for low voltage/low power (BTBP)