Renewable energy: Hydraulics plant tour highlights wind power
Wind energy and the hydraulic components used in renewable energy projects were spotlighted during a recent visit by international journalists and state officials to Bosch Rexroth’s hydraulics plant in Bethlehem, PA.
Bethlehem, PA —Manufacturing for the renewable energy market was the topic for discussion when Bosch Rexroth hosted Pennsylvania state officials and journalists from Western Europe recently at its industrial hydraulics facility here. Organized by the state governor's office, the visit was part of an outreach effort to highlight Pennsylvania's manufacturing capabilities. Delegates from Germany, Spain, France, Finland, The Netherlands, and the U.K. toured the hydraulics plant and learned about hydraulic components used in renewable energy projects, especially wind energy .
“Although these projects are relatively new for North America, wind turbines have been used in Europe for years,” said Ken Hank, Bosch Rexroth executive vice president of hydraulics. “Bosch Rexroth has taken a leadership role to develop the drive and control technology required by the wind energy project designers.”
Continuing developments in the field of power transmission systems and hydraulic drive and control systems have led to a production increase for wind energy turbines, says Bosch Rexroth. The company has developed a compact generator drive that saves weight over conventional gearboxes and improves turbine efficiency. According to industry statistics cited by Bosch Rexroth, wind turbine output has increased nearly 100 times in the United States in the last 20 years. Industry analysts predict, according to the company, an annual growth rate of 8% for gearboxes alone by 2009 in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and the Americas.
As part of a commitment to support the development of alternative energy sources, Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell signed an agreement last year to encourage partnerships between European countries and companies like Bosch Rexroth. The tour gave the European journalists and government officials the chance to see a manufacturing operation directly involved in the wind energy market.
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