HydRoLa-6M bearing Copyright: © CWD

Hydrodynamic main bearing for a 6 MW Offshore-Wind Turbine

Failures of rotor main bearings in wind turbines cause high costs due to production losses and resulting maintenance. Especially in offshore applications these cost can result in a write-off of the whole turbine.

In comparison to currently employed rolling bearings, hydrodynamic bearings feature a potentially unlimited lifetime as well as easy maintenance and quick replacement if realized segmented. Hence, reliability and availability of wind turbines can be expected to be increased by the application of hydrodynamic rotor main bearings. This could result in lower TCO and cost of electricity generated by wind energy.

In the research project "HydRoLa-6M" a hydrodynamic rotor main bearing concept for a dissolved wind turbine power train is developed to prototype-state and tested on system test rigs at CWD.

Despite these advantages, there also exists a significant technical and economic risk of this concept due to possible catastrophic wear in critical operating conditions. Furthermore, calculation and dimensioning of a hydrodynamic main bearing solution cannot be realized with current state of the art methods. Hence, neither a pure industrial nor a pure scientific approach is productive.

The project comprises conceptual design, development, and prototype manufacturing as well as testing of the new rotor main bearing approach in three wind turbine power classes. Hence, it is composed of two parts:

  • Part 1: Concept development for a 6 MW offshore wind turbine and validation by simulations and experiments on a 1 MW system test rig at CWD.
  • Part 2: Realization of the concept for a 3 MW wind turbine and validation on a 4 MW system test rig at CWD.

The project is realized in close cooperation with RENK AG, which has extensive experiences in design, construction, and manufacturing of heavy hydrodynamic bearings for industrial, marine and wind energy drive trains. The chair for wind power drives contributes extensive experiences in simulation of hydrodynamic bearings and test procedures for wind turbine drive trains.


01.08.2015 – 30.09.2019

Associated project partner:

Renk AG

Project funded by:

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy

Project promoted by:

Projektträger Jülich