Focus topic test infrastructure: Fraunhofer IWES’ trademark

© Frank S. Bauer
An efficient and intelligent test strategy coordinated to the respective product and technology development will play an even more decisive role in the future.

Large-scale test rigs for realistic and accelerated life testing of wind turbines are Fraunhofer IWES’ trademark. Alongside test rigs for rotor blades, blade segments, blade bearings, nacelles, the grid integration of electrical systems, and support structures, testing facilities for electrolyzer systems and components also form part of IWES’ portfolio.

Continuous investment in new test rigs

Large composite components and mechanical components are being considered as well as grid integration, power electronics in the megawatt range, and the grid properties of the electrical system. Different operating scenarios, damage mechanisms, and adapted protection concepts are being investigated and models validated through comparison with experimental tests. IWES is not only continuously investing in new test rigs for increasing component sizes, but also offers segment tests, scaling, and partial load tests.

Cost reduction through earliest possible validation

The growth in size and the further expansion of wind turbines mean that the demands on technical reliability are continuing to increase. Accelerated introduction on the market, the use of one platform for multiple turbine models, the professionalization of wind farm operators, and higher costs in the event of offshore turbine failures all speak in favor of comprehensive validation prior to initiating operation. Added to this comes the increasing complexity from the coupling with systems in the hydrogen value chain. Modular testing and the precise characterization of multi-domain properties – across sectors – are cost scalable thanks to variable complexity and size and are being performed at IWES.

In addition to 1:1 testing of subsystems and components, 1:X scaled testing is also performed. Furthermore, hybrid testing in the partial load range with experimentally validated extrapolation of the results is also possible.

Current research projects on the focus topic of »Test infrastructure«