3-D illustration of the STRETCH test facility. Photo: Idiom
A consortium of GE Renewable Energy
, LM Wind Power
(the Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research) will construct the largest wind turbine rotor test rig of its kind which will be cable of testing giant rotor blades under extreme conditions.
The facility is being built under the three-year STRETCH project, with partial funding from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.
Construction of the test facility at LM Wind Power’s WMC Technology Center in Wieringerwerf is expected to be completed in November 2020.
Wind turbines continue to grow in size to reduce the cost of wind energy per kWh. This requires great efforts in innovation and technological development.
The rotor test rig will allow for verification of the strength and the dynamic behaviour of wind turbine rotors under the enormous mechanical loads caused by large blades. Knowledge gained in the project will be used to improve existing design tools.
Peter Eecen, R&D manager TNO Wind Energy, said: ”Larger turbines are essential to shape the much required energy transition. Without innovations, larger turbines would become too heavy and too expensive to be commercially viable.
“Fast-paced innovation in wind turbine blade and rotor design, materials, construction and manufacturing have made the up-scaling of offshore wind turbines feasible and attractive around the world.
“We are thrilled by this chance to partner with the Dutch government, GE Renewable Energy and LM Wind Power to advance the understanding of rotor technology, which will ultimately contribute to better designs that help make renewable wind energy even more reliable and affordable.”
Hanif Mashal, LM Wind Power vice-president of engineering, said: “Establishing the most advanced and largest rotor test rig of its kind shows our commitment to develop insights into rotor technology that go beyond blade production alone.
“With this innovative rotor rig, we will be able to verify in-house the pitch bearings and pitch system that fix the wind turbine blades to the hub and allows pitching blade maximizing captured energy while reducing loads on wind turbine.
“This capability will provide our customers with a better understanding of the dynamic behaviour of large onshore and offshore rotors and will help LM Wind Power design ultra-large rotor blades by stretching and improving the existing designs.”