Turbulence and Wind Energy Systems Laboratory and Turbulence Wind Tunnel

Ready for the major challenges of wind energy research

One of the centerpieces of ForWind’s wind energy research is the research building “Laboratory for Turbulence and Wind Energy Systems” (WindLab) on the campus of the University of Oldenburg. A unique feature is the turbulence wind tunnel, which can be used to generate realistic turbulent wind fields and wind speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour. With the so-called active grid, more than 1,000 flaps can be controlled and aligned in such a way that targeted turbulence and wind gusts can be generated.

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Research focus

Turbulence wind tunnel

In the Turbulent Wind Tunnel, the interaction of atmospheric flows with entire wind farms, wind turbines and their components is studied. The aim is to generate accurate data and models for the efficient and sustainable operation of wind farms, especially offshore. To enable the underlying physical phenomena to be considered across multiple orders of magnitude and time scales, ForWind also has a high-performance computing cluster that can be used to incorporate machine learning methods into research. Weather systems with diameters of several hundreds of kilometers as well as small-scale turbulence directly affecting the wind turbine components can be simulated and modeled in this way. Industrial partners receive a reliable database for the further development and operation of their plants. This research is rounded off by extensive lidar measurement equipment, which can be used to measure wind conditions in the range of meters to kilometers around real wind turbines by laser steels with high resolution and accuracy.

Active grid

With the so-called active grid, a variety of different turbulent wind fields can be generated in the large Oldenburg wind tunnel. A total of almost 1,000 diamond-shaped aluminum blades are mounted on 80 individually controllable shafts. In this way, specifically limited areas of the wind tunnel nozzle can be obstructed and turbulence can be generated. The aluminum frame construction makes it easy to install and remove the 3 x 3 meter grille in the wind tunnel. The combination of active grating with a wind tunnel of this size makes the ForWind channel unique. Using the grid, ForWind scientists can scale down features of complex atmospheric wind fields to the dimensions of the wind tunnel and thus reproduce characteristic properties of a real wind field in the wind tunnel, such as different types of turbulent flows, wind shear, and gusts. Their goal is to better understand turbulent flows and their effects on wind turbine components. They are also developing and testing novel control concepts to better compensate for turbulence effects.


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 Universities of Oldenburg and Hannover, the Jade University of Applied Sciences, the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology (Bremerhaven) and the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization (Göttingen).

Working Group Wind Energy Systems at the University of Oldenburg

Working Group Turbulence, Wind Energy and Stochastics at the University of Oldenburg