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Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. (MHI) says it has begun testing a large-scale hydraulic drivetrain system for offshore wind turbines.

The testing of the new system, which is being performed at the company's Yokohama Dockyard & Machinery Works facility in Japan, uses MHI's Digital Displacement Transmission technology. The system is based on an existing MWT100 gear-driven wind power generation system that was retrofitted with the new hydraulic drivetrain.

The retrofitting involved the replacement of the step-up gear, which functioned as the power transmission system, in order to increase the rotation speed of the rotor (10 rotations per minute (rpm)) to the rotation speed of the generator (1,000 rpm) - by the digital displacement transmission hydraulic drivetrain.

MHI developed the new hydraulic drivetrain with support from NEDO, based on digitally controlled hydraulic technologies from U.K.-based Artemis Intelligent Power Ltd., a venture company acquired by MHI in 2010.

Leveraging the test results, MHI will accelerate its development of an offshore wind power generation system in the 7 MW class, with installation and operation slated to begin in Hunterston, U.K., this year. The company expects to begin mass production of the model in 2015.


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