Laboratories, infrastructure, open field
Testing, checking, validating – ForWind has built up a unique in-house research infrastructure over the past 20 years. If the partners from the Wind Energy Research Alliance are included, ForWind researchers can investigate and model almost all processes and phenomena along the wind energy value chain.
WindLab and turbulent wind tunnel, University of Oldenburg
In 2017, ForWind’s WindLab was inaugurated on the Oldenburg campus. The centerpiece of the new building with 2,300 square meters of floor space is a turbulent wind tunnel that can be used to study the interaction of atmospheric flows with wind farms, wind turbines and their components. In this way, exact data on the operating behavior of wind turbines and large offshore wind farms are determined.
The wind tunnel is used by physicists, meteorologists, oceanographers and engineering scientists from the University of Oldenburg and the University of Hannover, the Jade University of Applied Sciences and Arts, the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (Bremerhaven) and the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (Göttingen).
Large wave flow channel (GWK+), University of Hanover
In 2023, the Large Wave Current Channel at the Coastal Research Center was expanded to GWK+. The Forschungszentrum Küste is an institution of the Leibniz Universität Hannover and the Technische Universität Braunschweig.
With a new more powerful wave machine, larger waves and loads can be generated, which will allow even more realistic testing and further development of structures under extreme conditions. The waves are generated by a 7 m high dry back piston type wave flap, whose maximum stroke is 7.5 m. Thus, a maximum generatable wave height of approx. 3 m can be achieved. At the same time, the system is designed for active absorption of reflected waves.
A flow generation facility can be used to generate tidal currents, for example, to study their loading on sediment stability and structures, and to consider and analyze nonlinear wave-current interactions. The flow facility consists of 2 inlet and outlet structures, respectively, 152 m apart. The flow is directed into the channel through an opening at the bottom. The flow profile can be optimized with individually controllable louvers in the openings.
Krummendeich Research Wind Farm, Wind Energy Research Association
The Wind Energy Research Park (WiValdi) enables full-scale research to develop technologies to increase the acceptance, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of wind turbines. Various DLR institutes and facilities and the partners from the Wind Energy Research Alliance (the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems – Fraunhofer IWES and ForWind – Center for Wind Energy Research of the Universities of Oldenburg, Hannover and Bremen) are building the research park, which can later be used by the broad research community.
Research wind turbine, University of Bremen
In the Bremen Industrial Park, the ForWind Institute BIMAQ (Bremen Institute for Measurement, Automation and Quality Science) and Deutsche WindGuard GmbH from Varel operate the 180 meter high research wind turbine “UNI Bremen”. Systematic investigations are being carried out on the 3.4-megawatt plant to develop and test practicable solutions in plant technology. It is intended to provide measurement data for improvements in the design, material selection, manufacturing and control of wind turbines.
HPC Cluster, University of Oldenburg
Numerical simulations, along with free-field measurements and laboratory experiments, form an important pillar in current research questions to achieve a comprehensive understanding of turbulent wind conditions and their interaction with wind energy systems. The high-performance computers at the University of Oldenburg will profitably link different modeling and simulation methods in order to be able to map physical properties of wind flow even more precisely – both with regard to individual wind turbines and entire wind farms.
Test Center for Support Structures, University of Hanover
Large-scale experimental studies are necessary to investigate the fatigue and load-bearing behavior of wind turbine foundations and support structures. Simulation results are validated based on the results. The test center is involved in numerous research projects and carries out extensive test campaigns here on large structural components of onshore and offshore wind turbines.
GeCoLab – Generator Inverter Test Bench, University of Hanover
The Generator Converter Test Bench (GeCoLab) can be used to research both conventional and innovative converter and generator concepts, including converter-related control and methods for filter design in the MW range. The implemented universal test bench enables the investigation of steady-state and dynamic properties of electrical machines and converters, including converter-machine interactions. This includes studies of dynamics and system stability, steady-state and transient thermal loading, various methods of grid injection and control, and behavior in the event of grid faults such as voltage dips, phase shorts, or ground faults. The test bench will also enable research into interactions between the converter and generator and their influence on other plant components such as bearings and gearboxes.
HiPE-LAB, University of Bremen
In wind turbines, the power electronics must endure both the electrical loads and possible harsh environmental conditions. The combination of environmental stresses and electrical operating loads to which power electronics are subjected is critical to equipment life. Predicting the effect of these multimodal loads already during the development phase is therefore of great importance for avoiding field failures and thus for long-term product success. The High Performance Electronics Laboratory HiPE-LAB of the IALB at the University of Bremen offers the unique possibility to expose whole frequency converters with power ratings up to 10 MVA to electrical and climatic loads in almost any combination and to perform tests to predict important issues regarding lifetime. In the field of wind energy, we – as a member of ForWind – work closely with Fraunhofer IWES.
MARUM – Center for Marine Environmental Sciences, University of Bremen
The Marine Engineering Geology Group at the Center for Marine Environmental Sciences (MARUM) of the University of Bremen is a member of ForWind. In basic research, engineering geology, geotechnical, sedimentological and geophysical methods are used to describe and quantify a wide variety of sediment mechanics and shelf geology tasks. Examples include determining relative stratigraphies using the degree of compaction, assessing slope stability, and measuring hydraulic permeabilities of shorelines and shelf sediments. In the area of transfer, the focus is on the scientific support of industrial, geotechnical pilot projects and large-scale projects in the run-up to and during construction measures. The main focus is on renewable energies and their offshore and onshore implementation (e.g. geotechnical support for offshore wind farm projects).