Fraunhofer IWES in Germany is building a new test bench that will be able to handle the huge blades for the next generation of offshore wind turbines.
Under the ‘Future Concept Operational Stability Rotor Blades Phase II’ project Fraunhofer IWES has received €12M towards constructing the facility, work on which is due to get under way by the end of 2019 in the expectation that it will be ready for use in 2021. It will be able to test rotor blades measuring up to 115 m in length.
When Fraunhofer IWES first opened its rotor blade testing hall in 2009, it had a 70-m testbed and the maximum length of a rotor blade was 62.5 m. In 2011, it opened a second hall allowing testing of blades measuring up to 90 m. However, blades measuring 100 m now also need to be tested, hence the decision to build the new lab.
At the heart of the new facility will be a test bench will be a test block measuring 11 m x 11 m that can be extended to handle even larger blades, if required.
Describing the new facility, MHI Vestas Offshore Wind senior project manager Flemming Kløcker Grove said, “Independent test facilities are an enabler for development of large offshore turbines. New concepts such as component testing and segment testing of blades are extremely interesting for us.”
Fraunhofer’s head of department for rotor blades Steffen Czichon said, “It’s not just about testing longer blades – we also want to test more intelligently and expand our position as a leading institute for rotor blade tests.”
The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the State of Bremen/ERDF are contributing €3.4M (US$3.8M) towards the cost of the project. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy is providing €8M and the state of Bremen/ERDF is providing €253,000.