Construction began on the world's largest production base for magnetic levitation (maglev) wind power generators in central China on Monday.
The Guangzhou-based Zhongke Hengyuan Energy Technology Co. Ltd. invested 400 million yuan in building the base for the generators, from which it expects a yearly revenue of 1.6 billion yuan.
The base will produce a series of maglev wind power generators with capacities ranging from 400 to 5,000 watts in the first half of 2008, said a company statement.
The maglev generator co-developed by the company and Guangzhou Energy Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences is expected to create new opportunities for harnessing wind power in low-wind-speed areas, as it can utilize winds with starting speeds as low as 1.5 meters per second.
The problem of the traditional wind turbines was that they require high wind speeds to start, because of the friction caused by their bearings, said Li Guokun, chief scientific developer of the new technology.
The frictionless maglev generator would cut the operational expenses of wind farms by up to half, keeping the overall cost of wind power under 0.4 yuan per kilowatt-hour, said Li.
Since it was unveiled at the Wind Power Asia Exhibition 2006 in Beijing, the technology has garnered interest in a dozen Chinese cities and more than 50 countries and regions in the world.
The Zhongke company said the generator could be used on islands, in observatories, and television transfer stations, and even provide roadside lighting along highways by utilizing the airflow generated from passing vehicles. (One U.S. dollar equals 7.5 yuan)