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World's largest wind turbine R&D test facilities open in Denmark

German firm Siemens launches world leading centres to test large-scale wind turbine tech, components and blades

Main bearing test for the D3 wind turbine platform at the new test facility in Brande, Denmark. Image: Siemens

The world’s largest research and development facilities for wind turbine testing have opened in Denmark. German firm Siemens Energy has opened two major research and development test centres for large-scale wind turbine technology, including the world’s largest blades in operation.
 
The new centre in Brande features test stands for major components of Siemens wind turbines, including generators, main bearings and complete nacelles. Meanwhile, In Aalborg, seven blade test stands are capable to perform full scale tests of rotor blades, including record-breaking blades, which have a length of 75m. In combination, the two facilities form the world's largest R&D test centre for wind turbine technology.
 
Felix Ferlemann, CEO of the Siemens wind power division in Siemens Energy, said: “Our investments in testing today will result in savings for our customers tomorrow. 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.”

Most advanced for wind

The two test centres in Denmark feature indoor testing facilities of more than 27,000sqm. Siemens said 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 6MW rated capacity, and are prepared to test even larger turbines.
 
The seven blade test stands in Aalborg and three blade tests stands in Brande together form the largest blade test facility in the world both in size and in scope. The Aalborg facilities are able not only to fully test Siemens' 75m long B75 blade, the largest wind turbine blade in operation, but also even larger blades.
 
In the test facilities, Siemens said it can perform what are called 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 their full life-time in the field.
 
"In HALT tests, we compress the biggest loads over a short time, as they affect the turbine the most", said Siemens Wind Power CEO Ferlemann.
 
The last year has seen significant developments in world first wind turbine testing facilities across the west. In July 2012 construction started on the scaled wind farm technology facility (SWIFT), the world’s first test centre to measure wind turbine wake effects in the US.