Renewable energy conversion in offshore environments, such as wave, wind and tidal energy, can potentially give a considerable contribution to the global electric energy demand. These harsh environments require robust generators with minimal need for maintenance at competitive costs. To reduce the generator cost, the electromagnetic design must be done with manufacturing in mind. An optimal design provides high electric efficiency, long device life-time, little need for maintenance and low manufacturing costs.
Modern simulation tools can be used to optimize the electromagnetic design of a generator for a specific task and operation mode. Hereby both electromagnetic losses and material stresses can be reduced. Industrial robots might provide new possibilities to automate generator-specific manufacturing tasks.
A generator design with a cable wound stator, surface mounted permanent magnets on the translator and direct-drive linear technology is investigated in this article. This concept has a simpler and more robust mechanical design, while both the electromagnetic losses and the need for maintenance are reduced. By reducing the number of generator assembly steps, manufacturing might also be facilitated. Further work is however needed in developing automated assembly methods and comparing them to conventional generator manufacturing.