Siemens opens world’s largest wind turbine test facility

Siemens Energy has broadened its scope for developing larger wind turbines by opening the world's largest research and development (R&D) test centres in Denmark.

One centre in Brande will test major components of Siemens wind turbines, including generators, main bearings. It will also test complete nacelles which are the coverings that house all of the generating components in a wind turbine such as the gearbox, drive train, and brake assembly. 

The other centre in Aalborg is capable of performing full scale tests of rotor blades, including the world’s largest blade in operation, which spans 75 meters.

In combination, the two centres, which feature indoor testing facilities of more than 27,000 square meters, represent the world’s largest R&D test centre for wind power.

Siemens developed the new facilities in response to the expansion in size and scope of wind power technology. As the company points out, wind turbine blades are now bigger than any other composite structure in the world. For example, the wing of an Airbus 380 is less than half as long as the largest wind turbine blade in operation.

Siemens Wind Power Division CEO Felix Ferlemann said: “With our extensive tests of all major components of a wind turbine we can significantly reduce the risk of technical issues in the field. Our continued commitment to R&D and testing enables us to deliver wind turbines that are both the most innovative and the most reliable at the same time.”

According to Siemens, the nacelle test stands in Brande are among the most advanced in the industry. They are capable of testing Siemens’ D6 direct drive platform, the company’s largest current wind turbines with a six megawatt rated capacity, and are prepared to test even larger turbines.

In addition, at its new facilities, Siemens can perform Highly Accelerated Lifetime Tests (HALT) on all major components of its direct drive and geared wind turbine platforms. In HALT testing programs, which can last to up to six months, Siemens exposes prototypes to much higher loads than they would normally experience over the course of their full life-time in the field.

Conor McGlone

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