A leading designer in the growing wind turbine industry, Norwin Wind Turbine Technologies was first established in 1992 as a research, development and consultancy company, before moving its focus in 2006 entirely to its product portfolio of small to medium sized wind turbines. These designed turbines are then built, marketed and installed by licensed manufacturing partners across the world. At present Norwin has four partners in India, the US, Brazil and China covering a wide market spectrum. Norwin’s business model is based on know-how and show-how – know-how in terms of the complete design of wind turbines, and show-how in instructing its manufacturing partners in how to assemble, manufacture, install and service these turbines.
Although a smaller player within the market, Norwin has spent the last three years building up a core staff of highly specialised and qualified individuals across all aspects of the business, many with up to 20-30 years of prior experience in the industry. Describing the other key strengths of the business, Ole Sangill, executive director, says: “Today we have two very well proven products in our 225kW and 750kW wind turbines with more than 15 years of operational experience. Alongside this we have the experience and knowledge to continue to develop and optimise our products for today’s market. We also have long relationships with a number of major suppliers and partners in the wind industry, who play a strong role in the development of products.”
To enable it to remain at the forefront of the market, Norwin regularly invests in R&D of both new products and expanding the capabilities of its current portfolio. As part of this Norwin takes into account the different climates and environmental conditions wind turbines operate in when designing systems. These include versions designed for the high temperatures and wind speeds of India, and a new development for Alaska using a different kind of steel, and cooling and heating system. Wind speed is one of the most variable aspects of the different sites, so Norwin has one turbine designed for high wind speeds and is currently developing another for lower wind speeds.
“Today we are using blades from the world class supplier LM Wind Power. In addition we are investing in the development of new longer blades for larger rotor diameters to further develop and expand our portfolio in order to make our turbines more competitive. Looking at the European market and particularly the UK, we are also designing a new smaller 500kW version of our turbine for launch in 2011, as this is a very feasible size for this market,” adds Ole.
In terms of completed projects, Norwin has successfully undertaken some challenging ventures in the niche market of integrated wind turbines, demonstrating its engineering capabilities and expertise in action. These include the Bahrain World Trade Centre, where three 225kW turbines were mounted on bridges between two skyscrapers, which has become a well-known landmark across the world making it the first building in the world to incorporate wind turbines in its structure. Another niche project is the Strata Building, which is the tallest residential building in London, where Norwin installed three 18 kW wind turbines particularly designed for this project.
Historically the mega-watt (MW) class wind turbines have been the industry focus for optimisation, which has resulted in more cost-effective turbines. Norwin is now applying the same focus to the medium sized turbines, making its products highly competitive even to the MW class turbines. With the market for this size of turbine growing, Ole describes the advantages of the smaller wind turbines: “They are easy to transport and install, even on difficult to access sites, and with many places imposing height restrictions they have a much greater scope of applications. This size of turbine is also an affordable investment for the smaller market of private buyers, small landowners, farmers and factory owners. Also in terms of local support, particularly in areas considering the possibility of investing in wind turbines, typically a smaller turbine will promote more local involvement than a big turbine.”
Turning his attention to the future, Ole concludes with the opportunities that are opening up within the market and Norwin’s strategy for taking advantage of these: “In terms of the turbines already in our portfolio, we want to expand our offering to other parts of the world, through one or two more licensed partnerships. To support this we plan to expand our sales network, and have already started to build up a dealer and co-operative association network for our turbines in Europe and special targeted areas throughout the world. We are also looking at moving into new areas, such as the need for small turbines on islands. Across the world there are thousands of islands, which are totally dependent on diesel power, and this is a sector where we would like to be able to provide our services in combined systems.”