Brad Foote Gear Works, a subsidiary of Broadwind Energy, has secured a $1.37m contract from the US Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) for the design and fabrication of a 5.8MW wind turbine gearbox.

The company will design a new dynamometer at NREL’s National Wind Technology Center (NWTC).

Dynamometers enable industry and testing agencies to verify the performance and reliability of wind turbine drivetrain prototypes and commercial machines.

The planned 5MW dynamometer upgrade at the NWTC will enhance the research and operational capabilities of the US wind industry, the company said.

Designs are tested by simulating field conditions in a laboratory environment, and in a typical dynamometer test, a powerful motor replaces the rotor and blades of a wind turbine.

The company said wind turbine dynamometer testing focuses on the electrical power producing systems of a wind turbine including generators, gearboxes, power converters, bearings, brakes, lubrication, cooling and control systems.

The schedule calls for delivery of the gearbox to the NWTC later this year.