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每日英語跟讀 Ep.K049: A Monster Wind Turbine Is Upending an Industry 超大風機 顛覆風電業

· 每日跟讀單元 Daily English

每日英語跟讀 Ep.K049: A Monster Wind Turbine Is Upending an Industry

Twirling above a strip of land at the mouth of Rotterdam’s harbor is a wind turbine so large it is difficult to photograph. The turning diameter of its rotor is longer than two American football fields end to end. Later models will be taller than any building on the mainland of Western Europe.

鹿特丹港口一處狹長土地上,有座風力發電機在轉動,規模大到難以近距離拍攝,葉片旋轉直徑比兩座美式足球場接起來還長,日後更新版的風機將比西歐大陸上任何建物都高。

Packed with sensors gathering data on wind speeds, electricity output and stresses on its components, the giant whirling machine in the Netherlands is a test model for a new series of giant offshore wind turbines planned by General Electric. When assembled in arrays, the wind machines have the potential to power cities, supplanting the emissions-spewing coal- or natural gas-fired plants that form the backbones of many electric systems today.

這個位於荷蘭的巨型旋轉機器,是奇異公司所規畫新系列巨型離岸風機的測試模型,配備了收集風速、電力輸出及各零件所受應力數據的感應器。這些風機若以陣列布建,具備為城市供電的潛力,取代大量排放廢氣、組成當今許多發電系統骨幹的燃煤或燃氣發電廠。

GE has yet to install one of these machines in ocean water. As a relative newcomer to the offshore wind business, the company faces questions about how quickly and efficiently it can scale up production to build and install hundreds of the turbines.

奇異公司尚未在海上安裝此類機器。奇異在離岸風電業堪稱新兵,面臨的問題是,能多快、多有效地擴大生產規模,以建造並安裝數百座風機。

But already the giant turbines have turned heads in the industry. A top executive at the world’s leading wind farm developer called it a “bit of a leapfrog over the latest technology.” And an analyst said the machine’s size and advance sales had “shaken the industry.”

然而這種巨型風機已在業界引起轟動。全球頂尖風場開發商的一位高管稱其為「超越最新技術的一次飛躍」。一位分析師表示,這款機器的尺寸與預售量「撼動了整個產業」。

The prototype is the first of a generation of new machines that are about a third more powerful than the largest already in commercial service. As such, it is changing the business calculations of wind equipment makers, developers and investors.

這是新世代風機的第一個原型機,新世代風機功能比已在商業運轉的最大風機還要強三分之一左右。因此,它正在改變風力設備製造商、開發商與投資人的盤算。

The GE machines will have a generating capacity that would have been almost unimaginable a decade ago. A single one will be able to turn out 13 megawatts of power, enough to light up a town of roughly 12,000 homes.

奇異的風機將具有十年前幾乎無法想像的發電能力,一座就能產生13百萬瓦電力,足夠點亮約有1.2萬戶家庭的小鎮。

The turbine is capable of producing as much thrust as the four engines of a Boeing 747 jet, according to GE, and will be deployed at sea, where developers have learned that they can plant larger and more numerous turbines than on land to capture breezes that are stronger and more reliable.

奇異表示,這種風機能產生相當於波音747飛機四具引擎的推力,將部署在海上,開發商已經知道在海上能安裝比陸上更大也更多的風機,以捕捉更強也更可靠的風。

The race to build bigger turbines has moved faster than many industry figures foresaw. GE’s Haliade-X generates almost 30 times more electricity than the first offshore machines installed off Denmark in 1991.

建造更大風機的競賽步調比許多業內人士預測的要快。奇異的Haliade-X風機,發電量幾乎是1991年安裝於丹麥近海的第一座離岸風機的30倍。

In coming years, customers are likely to demand even bigger machines, industry executives say. On the other hand, they predict that turbines will reach a point at which greater size no longer makes economic sense.

業界高層表示,未來幾年顧客很可能要求更大的機器。另一方面,他們預測,風機遲早會來到再大就不合經濟效益的時刻。

Source article: https://udn.com/news/story/6904/5180307

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