Engineering experts hope to spark change through wind power

By Yuan Shenggao (China Daily)

Updated: 2023-03-31


A wind farm in the Inner Mongolia autonomous region equipped with wind-power turbines produced by Taiyuan Heavy Machinery Group. CHINA DAILY

Taiyuan Heavy Machinery Group dispenses advice nationwide to help provinces tap into clean energy source and improve environment

On a wind farm in Sonid Right Banner in Xiliin Gol League, Inner Mongolia autonomous region, huge turbines on 25 wind-power generation pylons spin rapidly in the strong wind of a late March day.

This is the first wind farm owned and operated by Taiyuan Heavy Machinery Group, a leading machine builder based in the capital city of North China's Shanxi province.

"Spring is the season featuring the strongest wind and it is the best time for power generation," said Liang Kaibiao, a Taiyuan Heavy Machinery manager in charge of the wind farm.

The first phase of the facility, which began operating in August 2021, has supplied 130 million kilowatt-hours of electricity to thousands of households in Xiliin Gol, according to Liang.

Founded in the 1950s, Taiyuan Heavy Machinery was one of earliest homegrown heavy machinery builders in the People's Republic of China. It now has one of the most comprehensive product portfolios in the country's machinery industry. It covers machines and equipment relating to coal mining, metallurgy, energy, astronautics, construction and railways.

In recent decades, it has diversified into the new energy sector. Boasting wind-power equipment manufacturing facilities in Shanxi, Inner Mongolia and Tianjin, it offers all-around solutions to wind-power generating companies throughout China. It also operates a number of large-scale wind farms in Shanxi and neighboring regions.

With a rich product portfolio that covers power generation sets, gearboxes, shafts, flanges, other components and diversified operations, Taiyuan Heavy Machinery is an indisputable leader in Shanxi's wind-power equipment industry.

Shanxi's wind-power equipment industry chain, which is represented by such heavyweights as Taiyuan Heavy Machinery, CRRC Yongji, Fenxi Heavy Industries, Dingxiang Flange and Lishi Electrical Cables, is now capable of producing 5,000 wind-power generators annually and a corresponding amount of components.

Taiyuan Heavy Machinery alone can produce 1,500 wind-power generators a year. It can also turn out 6,000 gearboxes and 60,000 metric tons of wind-power pylons annually. The output can satisfy the requirement for wind farms with a total annual capacity of 10 million kWh.

As a leader in the industry, Taiyuan Heavy Machinery will play a bigger role in helping to extend the industry chain in Shanxi province and making it stronger, said Zhu Shaohui, a senior engineer in charge of the company's wind-power equipment research and development.

He said his company will collaborate with upstream and downstream entities in the R&D of generators, turbine blades, pylons and other components.

One of the company's latest moves to promote cooperation in the industry was a promotional fair it hosted on Feb 16. Gathering 14 enterprises in the industry chain, the event showcased products and offered a venue for business representatives to discuss collaborations. Eleven agreements between the supply and demand sides and two contracts for investment cooperation were signed during the fair.

Business representatives at the fair also had the opportunity to visit the company's advanced production facilities.

Xu Bo, an executive responsible for Taiyuan Heavy Machinery's wind-power equipment production, showed visitors the company's state-of-the-art R&D and manufacturing equipment. This included a leading test lab for wind-power gearboxes and its cutting-edge flexible production lines for multiple products.

Xu also showed how smart, efficient production is made possible with such equipment. He said computer-aided manufacturing allows the production process to be automatic, only requiring workers to set parameters on a computer.

Executives at Taiyuan Heavy Machinery told the visitors that the company will collaborate more with upstream and downstream entities as part of the process of its rapid growth.

The company's upstream entities include R&D institutions and suppliers of raw materials and components. Its downstream players include construction enterprises and the operators of wind farms.

Through its cooperation with higher-learning and research institutions such as the Institute of Electrical Engineering of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhejiang University and Dalian University of Technology, executives said the company is planning to build a technological innovation platform for wind-power equipment.

Taiyuan Heavy Machinery has launched downstream collaborations with such wind farm operators as CHN Energy, Huaneng, Huadian, Datang and Three Gorges. They have jointly built more than 20 wind farms throughout China.

The company recently signed an agreement with the northern Shanxi city of Datong to develop a wind-power industrial base. It is planned to form an industry chain by using the company's local production facility for wind-power equipment and facilities established by upstream suppliers and downstream operators.

Taiyuan Heavy Machinery's executives said the company is willing to help Datong build a complete wind-power industry chain through in-depth cooperation with local enterprises. The company will use its resources in technology, talent and finance to assist local companies.

The development of the wind-power industry is an important part of Shanxi's energy revolution campaign. This features its traditional coal mining industry being upgraded toward cleaner and more efficient operations and strengthening the development of new energy resources like wind and solar power.

The provincial authorities of Shanxi are aiming for the wind-power equipment manufacturing industry to become a large cluster with annual output worth more than 100 billion yuan ($14.52 billion) in the future.

Du Juan contributed to this story.