Direct drive rotating electrical machines with axial air gaps are disclosed. In these machines, a rotor ring and stator ring define an axial air gap between them. Sets of gap-maintaining rolling supports bear between the rotor ring and the stator ring at their peripheries to maintain the axial air gap. Also disclosed are wind turbines using these generators, and structures and methods for mounting direct drive rotating electrical generators to the hubs of wind turbines. In particular, the rotor ring of the generator may be carried directly by the hub of a wind turbine to rotate relative to a shaft without being mounted directly to the shaft.
STATEMENT REGARDING FEDERALLY SPONSORED RESEARCH OR DEVELOPMENT
This invention was made with government support under grant no. EE0005489 awarded by the Department of Energy. The government has certain rights in this invention.