Start-up of the Day: Wind farms – check their efficiency in just a few clicks

The economic viability of wind farms is a fascinating and complex subject for everyone involved in the renewable energy market. Nefino is committed to providing an initial, yet largely accurate validation of efficiency in just a few mouse clicks. Jan-Hendrik Piel, Chief Information Officer of Nefino, talks about how it works and the background to it.

What was the reason for setting up Nefino?

Repower, recycle or dismantle? Sooner or later this question will crop up for every wind turbine. In the coming years, thousands of wind turbines in Germany alone will cease to be covered by the subsidy scheme for renewable energy sources. By the end of 2020, this will be altogether more than 5,000 turbines. By the end of 2025, a further 8,000 wind turbines are to follow. In total, more than one in two wind turbines in the world will have to deal with the loss of national subsidies within the next decade. What happens to these wind turbines afterwards is still unclear. If they are shut down, the energy transition is in danger of coming to a halt. With our software, we help market players find alternatives to the dismantling procedure. This allows us to guarantee the expansion of wind energy capacity over the long term.

Why is Nefino important?

And regardless whether it concerns a new or an old wind turbine, or one that has been shifted to a more optimal use. Efficiency always depends on various spatial, technical and economic factors. Until now, the requisite and exhaustive analysis of efficiency levels has cost a lot of time and money. We offer an extremely useful and practice-based analysis that can be used to quickly and easily test any wind turbine. The high level of scalability of our software solution enables the analysis of numerous wind turbines in just a few seconds. This can be used by individual turbine owners as well as by the major market players. They can use the software to map out potential areas, investments, progression or repowering of complete wind farms.

What technology is Nefino based on?

The basis is the Nefino Location Intelligence (LI) software. It processes geo-, wind, turbine and financial data in an integrated system, made up of wind simulations, land and life cycle analyses, as well as economic feasibility studies. This makes it possible, for example, to use geodata to calculate the distance to buildings and roads down to the meter. This allows you to gauge at which location new construction or repowering will be approved. The software can also use wind simulations in order to show how much electricity can feasibly be generated at a specific location using a specific wind turbine. The expected gains and risks are examined in combination with life cycle analyses and economic feasibility studies.

Not only are owners able to evaluate their own wind turbines this way. Project planners and manufacturers can also use the geo-information system. For example, in their search for new potential areas. Banks and energy suppliers can discover new investment and financing opportunities this way.

What makes Nefino so different from the competition?

Much of this information and functionality is already available. So far, however, no one has applied any of that to an integrated system like we do. Instead of time-consuming and expensive advice, we offer an initial yet already very accurate assessment with just a few clicks of the mouse. As such, we offer our customers straightforward support in decision-making when it comes to pre-screening of new business opportunities. This means that expensive expert advice is only required for wind turbines and areas with considerable potential.

Will you still make money with economic efficiency monitoring for wind power plants? What was the biggest obstacle when it was set up?

At the start, we struggled to be in contact with the people who make the decisions in this market. On the one hand, it is the potential users, on the other hand, the people who oversee investments. We wanted to involve the potential users of our software in all the developments right from the outset. The collaboration with wind-turbine.com – a platform that brings many key players in this market together – and, of course, our shareholder Martin Westbomke, have all helped us with this. Martin has not just guided us through the various research projects that we have carried out as part of our work for the University of Hanover. He is also chairman of the Industrial Association for Repowering, Dismantling and Recycling of Wind Turbines (RDR Wind). In his role there, he has been able to make important contacts for us thanks to his network.

Was there a moment when Nefino almost didn’t get off the ground?

Two years ago, we had a critical moment at Husum Wind, one of the largest wind energy trade fairs in Europe. At that point we realized that we still had a lot of work to do. Actual sparring with prospective partners or customers from the industry only happened after that. We understood that there is a great demand for fast and pragmatic pre-screening.

What has been the most rewarding moment?

Two years later at the same trade fair. Of course, we already knew that our idea had a realistic chance. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have put all that work into the development and founding the company. Nevertheless, the success at this year’s fair has completely exceeded our expectations. We held discussions with almost every conceivable stakeholder in this market. The reactions were very positive. Before this, our problem was that we did have quite a concrete picture of our solution. But we were only able to present it to a limited extent. This year we were able to provide concrete figures in just a few clicks. Figures that are credible from the point of view of the experts. That convinced everyone.

What is the future for Nefino?

We are now able to analyse almost every wind farm in Germany. Yet in principle our model can be applied worldwide. In the intermediate term, we expect to be able to offer our system to a lot more countries. In the meantime, we want to earn money with software-related consultancy services. This means that project planners, operators or manufacturers of wind farms will be given a tool with which they can, for example, view their wind turbine inventory and conduct their own analyses. All of this can be automated if required. In the Software-as-a-Service model, they receive a customer-specific front-end from us and pay licence fees for updates and new features. And at long last they can say goodbye to their intricate Excel lists.

You decide: who will be our start-up of the month for August?

Innovation Origins has once again chosen four start-ups of the week in August. As September has started, we are taking another look at them. After all, there is still a monthly trophy to be handed out and we need the help of our readers for this. Together with our editors, you can decide who will run off with this great honour. To refresh your memory, here are the four weekly winners!

Vote for your favourite August Start-up of the Month now!

You have until Friday 5 pm to cast your vote.

[democracy id=”5″]

Start-ups of the week in August:

Week 32 – Actijoy: Start-up of the day: looking out for (hu)man’s best friend

Week 33 –  Método Sáncal: Start-up of the day: helping the brain via music

Week 34 – R-Energy: Startup-of-the-day: R-Energy, the urban turbine that also harnesses gusty city winds

Week 35 – Biosure: Start-up of the Day: know your HIV status in a jiffy

 

Startup-of-the-day: R-Energy, the urban turbine that also harnesses gusty city winds

The career path of Hans Vullers has not ever gone in a single straight line. More a case of 12 trades, 13 accidents, with occasional swerves to the side that frequently changed his path into a bewildering, winding route. But despite all of that commotion, one goal persisted: to make an essential contribution to the world which makes it greener, more beautiful and better. Previously, in 2006, this resulted in an attempt to build something himself: a company, a windmill. But the circumstances were not yet what they ought to have been, so attempt Nr. 1 floundered. Now 14 years later and after a life full of trial and error, Vullers is determined to make something of life, this time with R-Energy.

The core of Vullers’ mission is three-fold: he wants to make people aware of the seriousness of the world’s situation, he wants to contribute something towards solving this and last but not least, he is aiming to provide ” enjoyable and socially responsible work” for himself and his employees. The way that this is now taking shape is with an ‘urban turbine’ which is able to harness solar and wind energy in an urban environment and for direct usage by the people living in the same vicinity. As Vullers says, this is possible because the machine is able to catch even the slightest breeze, no matter which direction it comes from and however changeable the weather may be.

Half a bike and a washing machine

Vullers recounts his story in his workshop – a jam-packed space of about 2 by 5 meters in Eindhoven’s Microlab. All around him we hear sawing, drilling and hammering from the other studios as this is the heart of the Eindhoven makers scene. In the back of his workshop is a computer on which 3d models of his dream are revolving. The computer is surrounded by screws, pictures, pens, tape, a 3d-printer (along with a note “nozzle hidden”), and lots of papers with calculations and graphics. Next to his keyboard is a folder containing the step-by-step progress he has recently made with his first prototype. The floor is covered with so many materials that only a small walkway remains. Everywhere there are parts that might at some point come in handy: half-bikes, a large parasol, construction plates and a large-sized washing machine drum (“that’s for another project – I want to make a barbecue out of it which heats up water for the dishes afterwards.”) The walls are also full of useful information. Vullers points to a bar graph which shows the average temperatures since the eighteenth century. The peaks of the last 10 to 20 years leap out at you. “The facts are so clear and yet we somehow don’t want to see them. We are lulled to sleep by our luxury life, the high salaries, the ease of our existence. As a result, we have lost sight of the seriousness of the situation and we don’t even appreciate anymore how easy it actually is to do something about it.”

Hans Vullers, R-Energy, in his workshop at Microlab

Vullers warned us beforehand that he sometimes loses the thread of what he is saying, because he always wants to talk about everything and by doing s0, sometimes mixes up the details and his key points. During the conversation there is hardly any noticeable evidence of this: he is sharp, focused. However, this probably has everything to do with his preparation. He regularly leafs through a package of about 10 A4’s containing the main business outlines of what he wants to say. Yet private circumstances appear to be at least as crucial to Vullers’ decision-making as his intrinsic drive and his training as a mechanical engineer are. Two moments stand out: a two-month treatment in South Africa that ended his longstanding addiction and the sudden death of his younger brother.

“These events made me realize that I have no other choice. I have to do it. For my children, for my little brother, this is why I got cleaned up. We live in an age of waste, if there is anything I can do to prevent my children from coming to me later – when the tide is literally up to their shoulders – asking me what I had done to prevent it, then it is time to do something about it now.”

Nevertheless, before a wrong impression might be made, Vullers warns against his own words: “It’s not a negative motive, I do this because I am able to do it and I like it. I also know that the real solutions to the world’s problems cannot come from me alone; they are far more politically determined. Despite this, we can do a lot ourselves, anyone can do it! Yet people allow themselves to be consciously or unconsciously held in check. And I understand that too by the way; just step away from those high wages and luxury cafeterias. Prosperity quickly grows on you, but it’s a lot harder to surrender it.”

Autism

One last nudge in the right direction was given to Vullers during another episode of sick leave, when he was officially diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. “Funnily enough, that moment felt liberating – I had officially passed the autism exam!” Vullers registered his dream with the Chamber of Commerce, rented a space at Microlab and amidst dozens of other tinkerers in the finest Eindhoven tradition, just got started. It will be some time before the result of his endeavors will provide a stable source of income for the Vullers’ family, but until then he will make sure that there is at least some bread and butter on the table via a variety of part-time jobs.

In the meantime,he has gathered around him a group of about eight employees thanks to his infectious enthusiasm. Some of them are more involved than others, but all of them work on parts of Vullers’ machine. Fontys students are also working with him on a regular basis. “It is striking that all but one of the people around me are foreigners. Apparently, the Dutch are a bit more cautious. Probably it has everything to do with how good we have it here. Well, who else would put their energy into a project with an uncertain outcome?”

How does the R-Energy method work?

© Hans Vullers, R-Energy

“We are developing an ‘urban turbine’, a machine that uses wind and sun in order to generate sustainable energy in the built-up environment. We are certainly not the only ones. For example, the model that Ibis Power created is beautiful. But our concept is different on a number of points. We harness gusts of wind and low velocities as well, which is not the case with most of the conventional systems. The majority of companies always tell us how successful they are when it comes to a good average wind speed. But these are not realistic in practice. That is why the smaller wind turbines are always written off as unprofitable in studies. That’s quite different for us. Aside from that, we are able to adapt the product per location to the specific needs of that location. The device is ultimately the size of a car or a small van, because in order to be able to harness the wind properly, you really need to have a certain amount of size. Our system is built so that it can harness wind from all sides, which is very useful in urban environments where the wind often changes direction rather quickly. By adding an extra ramp where the wind enters, we increase the concentration, so that even light gusts of wind are still of value. The solar panels are also capable of rotating with the rotation of the earth, so that the yield is maximized there too. At the moment, we are working with prototypes that we are testing here and there and we are using our theoretical studies in order to determine which positions will have the most effect. Our models have already been designed for places such as the Philips stadium, the town hall square and various flats in the Eindhoven city center.”

What is the motivation behind the development of this system?

R-Energy

“As I said, it’s at least as much about convincing others that we have to do something to make the world a more sustainable place, as it is about the product itself. I am not ruling out the possibility that after this project I might do something completely different, for example with water or something to do with the food supply. But it will always be something that contributes to a better world and I will always try to convince others of my vision. Practice what you preach people sometimes say. Yet it is the other way around for me: preach what you practice.”

What is the main challenge for R-Energy?

“There are still quite a few, although when it comes to the technical part, as a mechanical engineer I’m quite confident. The challenge has more to do with the business side: finding finance for further development, finding customers, but also personnel with knowledge in this area. Anybody with good ideas can always contact me at: info@r-energy.biz …”

Has there ever been a moment when you felt like giving up?

R-Energy

“No, I’m so convinced that this is the way we have to go, that those kinds of moments just don’t happen. The more you read about the state of our earth and the more you learn about it, the more difficult it becomes to think about how we can find a solution for it. Not that the solution itself is complicated – if we are able to have all that oil from Saudi Arabia come this way, then surely it should also be possible to fill the Sahara with solar panels and to spread that energy all over the world? – Yet you see time and again that humankind does not in any way want to face the seriousness of these issues nor the obvious solutions. Although these moments of dispair disappear in no time when I’m working with my staff on this project. And I actually do live to make it happen, don’t I now?”

What was the most rewarding moment for you?

“There are too many to mention, but one single moment does stand out. That was when I had a very first prototype of a wind turbine with a small light on it on top of the roof at home. I was working in my shed one evening when I suddenly saw that light on my roof. That’s when I knew: I can just build it, I am an energy producer!”

What can we expect from R-Energy in the coming years?

“Soon Ecovillage Boekel will receive the premiere of our urban turbine. An initial pilot model will be installed there and then we will be able to see how it all works ‘in real life’. Actually, it is taking far too long for me, although Boekel’s cooperation is enormous – so I’m really looking forward to it. We will decide on our next steps depending on the results there, but it is certain that we are going to continue improving the concept. Aside from this, we will come up with other solutions, for example, with regard to conserving water.”

Are you interested in start-ups with solutions to the problems of our time? An overview of all our articles on this subject can be found here.

Start-up of the day: Installing giant wind turbines at sea in record time

It is generally known that today’s wind turbines are giants, reaching up to 100 metres in height. But the latest models, which will be on the market within the next few years, will be even bigger – they will have a capacity of 12 to 15 megawatts, a hub height of 150 metres with blades of up to 105 metres long. Installing them in the sea on account of the strong winds is not possible in a safety-guaranteed manner with the current vessels and installation methods.

That’s why engineer Jan Lanser came up with the idea of developing a better method – the sit up system method, or SUS. In this method, wind turbines are assembled in the harbour, including the foundation that will be placed on the seafloor, which can then be transferred from the harbour to the sea in one day. This allows a wind park of 30 turbines, for example, to be placed at sea in one month, whereas it currently takes about four months to complete transport and installation.

How does the Marine Innovators method work?

Engineer Jan Lanser

“We are developing a vessel that horizontally ships the wind turbine assembled in the port, including the foundation, to the location at sea. The SUS vessel consists of a small pontoon at the front and a large submersible pontoon at the back which are connected to each other by means of a rotating framework. The wind turbine and the connected foundation are attached to the framework. After sinking and anchoring the large pontoon on the seabed, the framework and the windmill are rotated upwards by the upward force of the pontoon that is pulled under water. Once the wind turbine stands upright on the foundation, it is then placed vertically on the seabed in a controlled manner. By pumping water out of the suction anchors underneath the foundation, it can be anchored in the seabed at a low noise level, up to about ten metres deep.”

What was your motivation for developing this new installation system?

“In theory, our sit up system allows a wind turbine to be placed at sea within about 9 hours. Depending on the transport distance between the harbour and the wind farm of 50 km, the total transport and installation time takes between one and one and a half days. With the current method, this can take up to four or five days.

The short installation time of large wind turbines as well as the relatively low investment in a SUS vessel results in a relatively low cost price for the transport and installation of wind turbines at sea. The installation of wind turbines using a SUS vessel will be highly automated. As a result, the very large and heavy wind turbines can be installed with a minimum of manpower, but with a high safety level.

What is the biggest challenge for Marine Innovators?

“Ensuring that the design for the vessel with the sit up system is calculated statically and dynamically. It must then pass the model test in the Marin water management lab in Wageningen. This will show whether the calculations we have made using computer simulation techniques are consistent with the results of the test. In addition, we have to market the vessel. The construction of this type of vessel costs around 80 to 100 million euros. So we are looking for an investor, such as a company or a consortium of companies. Although the Netherlands is an offshore country, our national character lends itself less to the investment of venture capital in innovative concepts. In this respect, the US seems to offer a more suitable breeding ground.”

Which moment during the innovation process was the most rewarding for you?

“There were two moments. The first was in 2017, when we collaborated with Professor Andrei Metrikine of the Faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences at TU Delft, who brought in graduates who are involved in the development of the SUS concept. The second was in 2018, when the government invested more than 100,000 euros in the development of the SUS concept.”

What can we expect from Marine Innovators in the future?

“We want to launch the concept on the market within four years. Because the sit-up system method for placing wind turbines at sea costs ten times less than the existing installation methods, we are expecting a great deal of interest from both contractors, owners and operators of wind farms. Large CO2 consumers, such as Tata Steel in Beverwijk, also have an interest in CO2-free energy because in two years’ time they will have to pay high CO2 taxes. They therefore have an interest in installing a wind farm at sea to generate energy that they can use for their production processes.”

Founder: Jan Lanser
When: 2017
Where: Papendrecht
Turnover: approx. 50,000
Employees: 1 + partnerships with KCI Engineers and TU Delft
Ultimate goal: to bring a certified portfolio of technical drawings and calculations onto the market

Need more inspiration: Check all our Start-ups of the Day!

Start-up of the day: ‘We’ve got to make better use of wind farms’

The start-up Ocean Grazer is focused on the multi-purpose use of sustainable energy locations in oceans. That is what Marijn van Rooij, CTO of Ocean Grazer, attests to as being badly needed when it comes to meeting energy targets. “With our system for offshore wind farms, we are also able to generate energy from waves, as well as store excess energy which gets used at some other point in time.”

Prior to this large system being expanded upon, the company first wants to put separate components on the market. Starting with a storage system which harnesses excess energy from wind. This system will be placed underwater in offshore wind farms. It works like a mini hydropower plant. “It pumps water out of an internal reservoir under low pressure, counter to the pressure of the ocean. Actually, it acts like a balloon that is being blown up. By opening a valve, the water from the ocean is pushed back into the reservoir. We are able to harness energy through a hydropower turbine this way,” van Rooij explains.

How does your product distinguish itself in the market?

By using a reservoir for energy, whereby variances between supply and demand are dealt with. “Sustainable energy sources such as wind and sun are variable sources. When the wind blows, energy is generated, otherwise it isn’t.  A buffer of gas-powered energy then compensates for any shortage,” Van Rooij explains further. “By storing this sustainable energy in our system, that buffer of gas-powered energy is needed less and less.”

The variances in supply and demand of energy can vary per microsecond, per season and everything that lies in between. “On a microsecond level, it is important to keep the grid frequency stable at 50 Hz, as here the system must be able to react extremely quickly. The smaller the time scale, the more charge and discharge cycles you have within the storage system,” explains van Rooij.

“Our system has an almost infinite number of charge and discharge cycles. This means that the amount of storage space does not/barely deteriorates over time. This makes our system more practical and durable than lithium-ion batteries. In effect, battery capacities are significanty reduced within a few years. That makes the use of batteries extremely expensive and hazardous to the environment.” Moreover, Ocean Grazer’s reservoir system can be implemented on a huge scale according to van Rooij. That’s also much more diffuicult for batteries.

Yet batteries and other forms of energy storage are still needed, finds van Rooij. “We need energy storage on every level. We can also make use of CAES (compressed air energy storage) for storage over long periods of time, such as days, weeks or seasons. For instance, for water reservoirs or for hydrogen.”

What is your greatest motivation?

“We stand for the multi-purpose use of available space. The North Sea is being filled up with wind farms that are affecting shipping and fishing, among other things. These windmills do not always generate sufficient energy to meet the targets regarding sustainable energy. If we want to achieve these goals, we must link technologies up with each other in order to harvest enough from the various locations. In addition, by using our storage system, we are able to ensure that energy generated by wind turbines, for instance, is not lost.”

What was the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome?

“The biggest challenge was finding the balance between developing the technology and getting funding. The amount of time that you invest in securing financial resources leads to a stagnation in technological development. You have several possibilities in the Netherlands where this is concerned, such as subsidies, loans and investors. Yet applying for these requires special skills. We’ve been working hard on this over the past year, so that should now start to pay off.”

“The investments are really needed in order to be able to develop the product further. We have recently been doing tests mainly in a laboratory and now really want to do tests in a harbour. That requires a lot of money. Which poses a dilemma. On the one hand you need the finacial resources to be able to keep on developing, yet on the other, you need to show what the product is and what has been developed in order to get those resources,. ”

What was the most rewarding moment for you?

“It was a wonderful moment for me when we managed to get the investment we needed to really get this start-up going. For this, we went from thinking in terms of  university research to thinking in terms of business. We have succeeded in bringing these two things together. After that, we had several wonderful moments, for example, when the prototypes were ready. We had worked on them for quite a long time, so when we put them in the water and they actually work -that feels great.”

What can we expect from you in the coming year?

“We have already tested the system on a smaller scale and are now scaling up the tests. Currently, we are also busy with a prototype for a storage system that will be tested in a deep water tank in the laboratory. Next year, we want to test the new storage system in an actual harbour. We have Eemshaven in mind for this. It is a major challenge to apply for licences approving tests in a real-world setting. We have now started that process on time.”

What is your ultimate goal?

“We are now busy with specialized technologies that we can put on the market one by one. Ultimately, we are working towards developing the Hybrid Ocean Grazer, a system in which all of these technologies come together. This is how we will make optimum use of a location in order to generate and harness sustainable energy.  Following that, we are looking at a global roll out so that it really ends up in all of the big oceans of the world.”

Ocean Grazer

Background information

Founders

Anthonis Vakis, Bayu Jayawardhana, Marijn van Rooij and Frits Bliek. Bliek has a background in the industry. The others come from the Nation University of Groningen. A professor at the university first launched the concept.

We still do a lot of research into this concept at the university. More than 70 students there have taken part so far.

Year founded

Research began in 2014. It was not until 2018 that the company was actually established.

Financial

Revenue is one of the difficult issues. A lot of money must first be invested in the project before it can yield a profit.

Employees

There are currently two students doing internships with us, one from France and one from the Netherlands. We are also looking for two new employees.

Ultimate goal in a few words

The realization of hybrid systems, linking diverse resources together with a storage technology.

Need inspiration? All of our earlier Start-ups of the Day can be found here.

Tests in the USA: New rotor blades for wind turbines

Wind energy is regarded as one of the energy sources of the future. Wind power plants generate electricity by driving a generator with a large propeller. Due to their climate-friendly eco-balance, ever larger, more powerful wind turbines are being built all over the world.

One of the SmartBlades under construction at the DLR Center for Lightweight Construction Technology in Stade.
Photo: DLR

However, the rotor blades have to withstand heavy forces, especially in difficult wind conditions. In addition to the centrifugal forces triggered by the rotational movement itself, there are also forces caused by bending and shear forces. German researchers have now designed rotor blades with a bending torsion clutch on the blade hub. As part of the “SmartBlades-2” programme, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Systems (IWES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Boulder/Colorado (USA) are testing three rotor blades with such a coupling. The test site in Boulder belongs to the US National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NRL) of the Department of Energy. The site was selected because of its environmental conditions. In winter, they offer a wide range from low to gusty and very high wind speeds.

Structure of the experimental power plant.
Photo: DLR
The bending torsion coupling is located at the base of the propeller blade. It should provide more flexibility at high wind speeds.
Photo: DLR

“This measurement campaign is the first test for our developments. We are very excited to see how our rotor blades will perform in this free-field test,” says SmartBlades2 project manager Zhuzhell Montano Rejas from the DLR Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptronics.

How smart blades work

Usually a wind turbine is controlled by adjusting the position of the rotor blades in relation to the air flow, i.e. the blade angle. Some models simply adjust the blade tips. This allows the operators to control the performance of the turbine and, for example, avoid overloading when wind speeds are too high. When a propeller is required to produce power, the blades are positioned at right angles to the airflow. The blades are switched off by the so-called sail position. In this case, the operators turn the propeller blade into the wind, so to speak, so that one edge points directly into the air flow. The propeller then stops turning.

The bending torsion coupling is located directly at the propeller attachment. It offers additional flexibility. This coupling allows the rotor blades to adapt automatically to changing wind conditions. They twist at higher wind speeds and thus offer the air flow less surface area to make contact with. This reduces the load on the wind turbine while increasing the service life of the rotor blades.

Rotor blade tests run until autumn 2019

The completed test facility in Boulder/Colorado is scheduled to deliver data by autumn 2019.
Photo: DLR

The three “Smart Blades” were designed by scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems (IWES). They were built at the DLR Centre for Lightweight Construction Technology in Stade. During construction, numerous sensors were installed to collect measurement data. “In order to record the deformations, accelerations and stresses of the blades, we are using several measuring systems that allow measurements to be taken over the entire length of the blade. The flow around the rotor blades at the surface is measured using an aerodynamic measurement system,” reports Dr Christian Kress, head of the measurement campaign at Fraunhofer IWES. The Fraunhofer Institute is in charge of the measurement campaign. The test generator provided by NREL was also equipped with sensors.

In addition, a laser sensor scans the wind field in front of and behind the wind turbine. This enables the scientists to observe how the rotor influences the air flow. The measurement campaign will last until autumn 2019. Those responsible hope to gain insights both for the further development of rotor blades with bending torsion couplings and for their market launch.