Norwood, MA (12/09/2009) - Analog Devices, Inc. today announced that Northern Power Systems has selected ADI SHARC® digital signal processors for use within the company’s flagship Northwind® 100 community-scale wind turbines. Northern Power Systems’ Northwind 100 uses an advanced “digital drivetrain” to deliver 100 kilowatts of rated power for community wind applications such as schools/universities, businesses, farms, and municipalities. Leveraging SHARC processors, data converters and other advanced ADI components to ensure high-performance system operation, the Northwind 100’s Permanent Magnet Direct Drive (PMDD) design eliminates the need for a gearbox in favor of a full power converter. ADI’s expertise in next-generation energy infrastructure assures that companies like Northern Power Systems are equipped with advanced components across the entire signal chain to enhance the value, performance and innovation of their system designs.
“Just as our innovative, gearless wind turbine designs help customers achieve the highest possible energy yield and return on investment, ADI’s similarly elegant signal processing platform has helped us realize significant system performance gains without compromising on cost,” said Kiran Kumar, Lead Controls/Embedded Engineer, Northern Power Systems.
The Northwind 100 generator’s power flow is regulated by the power converter to compensate for variable wind speeds, which helps to maximize energy extraction. This capability ultimately enables a Northwind 100 wind turbine to provide a steady flow of clean power to a local grid, simplifying grid interconnect infrastructure and maintaining grid stability.
At the heart of this system is ADI’s 32-bit floating point SHARC 21363 digital signal processor, which hosts real-time closed-loop control algorithms to efficiently control the Northwind 100’s generator and power converter subsystems, based in part on incoming data provided by the ADI AD7656 16-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) embedded in the data acquisition hardware and ADI dual-axis iMEMS® ADXL203 accelerometer sub-assembly part affixed to the turbine’s nacelle. Delivering core processing performance up to 333 MHz/2 GFLOPS with support for IEEE 32-bit/40-bit floating point and 32-bit fixed point operations, SHARC 21363 processors employ an enhanced Single Instruction, Multiple-Data (SIMD) architecture to provide the real-time processing bandwidth and atomicity required to keep these subsystems running in precise coordination.
SHARC 21363 processors feature integrated 3 Mb SRAM/4 Mb ROM on-chip memory and a rich peripheral set to accommodate a wide range of configuration options. The Northwind 100’s data acquisition platform hosts the ADI AD7656, which provides the high-speed signal sampling and data conversion that feeds into the system’s real-time closed-loop control algorithms. This is facilitated by the SHARC 21363’s six high-speed serial ports (SPORTs), yielding a seamlessly connected signal chain that helped minimize design complexity.
“With high-performance Analog Devices components at the core of the Northwind 100 wind turbine, Northern Power Systems’ customers are assured ultra efficient power generation that reduces energy costs and minimizes the community’s environmental footprint,” said Tim Resker, Product Marketing Manager, Analog Devices. “For utility-side and consumer-side applications, Analog Devices enables technology developers like Northern Power Systems to design intelligent systems that promote energy efficiency and maximize investments in clean, renewable power.”
Innovation, performance, and excellence are the cultural pillars on which Analog Devices has built one of the longest standing, highest growth companies within the technology sector. Acknowledged industry-wide as the world leader in data conversion and signal conditioning technology, Analog Devices serves over 60,000 customers, representing virtually all types of electronic equipment. Analog Devices is headquartered in Norwood, Massachusetts, with design and manufacturing facilities throughout the world. Analog Devices is included in the S&P 500 Index.
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