IWES sites: Science to the power of nine.

Fraunhofer IWES is currently home to more than 300 scientists and other employees as well as over 100 students at the sites in Bremerhaven, Bochum, Bremen, Görlitz, Hamburg, Hannover, Leer, Leuna, and Oldenburg. We secure our clients’ investments in technological advancements with our work and innovative methods in the fields of wind energy and green hydrogen technologies.

The core of the IWES brand is the testing, measuring, and validation of components and phenomena – originally solely in the field of wind energy but now also in the green hydrogen technology sector. By combining the IMWS competence field with the hydrogen activities of Fraunhofer IWES, we operate sites in Leuna and Görlitz as well as in Bremerhaven with different focal points of the hydrogen value chain since 2022.

Our sites


Unique test infrastructure plus methodological expertise

 Fraunhofer IWES constructed a third rotor blade test bench in Großer Westring in Bremerhaven in 2023, which allows testing of state-of-the-art prototypes with blades more than 120 meters in length. The »Future Concept Operational Stability Rotor Blades Phase II« project comprises a test infrastructure with a modular test block as well as novel methods for investigating subsegments. The site is located in the Fischereihafen port district, meaning long blades arriving by sea have only a short distance to travel to the test hall.

In recent years, the dimensions of the latest generation of rotor blades have increased from just under 90 meters to more than 115 meters – that’s the size of a soccer field! Fraunhofer IWES had commissioned a 90-m test hall ten years earlier. As the growth in size is continuing and the two existing smaller halls are well utilized, the institute’s expanded infrastructure also allows the testing of XXL blades from international manufacturers. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) financed the project alone to the tune of €18 million: Innovation for offshore wind energy at Fraunhofer IWES: Habeck inaugurates 115m+ Rotor Blade Test Rig

Download the fact sheet: Reliable Testing of Rotor Blades for the safe Operation of Wind Turbines

Our service portfolio here: Rotor blades

© Jens Meier


Lots of wind (research) in the Windhaus

IWES’ Windhaus building in Bremerhaven is home to four working groups:

The Application Center for Wind Energy Field Measurements (AWF) focuses on taking measurements on wind turbines in operation. In addition to conducting standardized and customer-specific measuring campaigns on behalf of third parties, this also includes the metrological support of research and development projects as well as the further development of the sensor technology and methodology for the measurement of wind turbines. IWES and the institute for wind energy (fk-wind) of the Bremerhaven University of Applied Sciences are working together on the further development of the AWF.

The Wind Measurement and Characterization department with the three associated groups works on new and improved technologies as well as methodologies in the field of wind measurement. It focuses on developing and evaluating measurement concepts. In addition, it is responsible for the construction and operation of the IWES lidar buoys, which are deployed for wind measurement in research projects or for wind farm developers. At the same time, the department also investigates future technologies.

The Wind Measuring Campaigns group is responsible for the realization of innovative methods and processes for wind measurement in research and industrial projects. Its focus is on transferring innovation into practical application in the planning and performance of both offshore wind measuring campaigns and onshore measurements. Working in close cooperation with industrial partners, it adapts measuring concepts and their implementation to suit future requirements.

Performing further research with the measurement data collected onshore and offshore is the task of the Wind Data Analysis group. It drives forward the development of methods and tools that can be used in the future in the industry for wind measurement. Its main activity is the development of measurement concepts and the interpretation of measurement data from wind lidar and radar technology.

Our service portfolio here: Overall system measurement and simulations, Wind measurement and wind modeling

© Fraunhofer IWES

Gondelprüfstand I DyNaLab

Lab advantage for nacelles, etc.: Faster certification and validation

2015 saw the opening of Germany’s first large-scale test bench for complete wind turbine nacelles in Bremerhaven. The Dynamic Nacelle Testing Laboratory (DyNaLab) offers a realistic test environment in the multimegawatt range for meaningful laboratory tests. Unique test services for the validation of prototypes are performed there with a drive power of 10 MW and the introduction of a nominal torque of 8.6 MNm.

Grid and HiL wind load simulations make it possible to create different load scenarios under reproducible conditions. This allows testing of wind turbine behavior during scenarios such as multi-dips in the grid during a storm, a network short circuit resulting from incorrect pitch control, and emergency stops.

Key research projects include ReaLCoE (Robust, Reliable, and Large Offshore Wind Energy Converters for Clean, Low-Cost, and Competitive Electricity), WindEFCY (Traceable mechanical and electrical power measurement for efficiency determination of wind turbines), Gusswelle, and VirtGondel (Development and validation of a virtual representation of the nacelle test bench for the elaboration of advanced test methods and more efficient test campaigns).

In addition to certification in the field, the DyNaLab offers the possibility of greatly shortening certification times – a lengthy process until now – as different operating scenarios can be run as often as required there. In this way, operational management and control can also be optimized and model validations performed. This makes it possible to increase the reliability and availability of the turbine while simultaneously reducing the associated maintenance and repair costs.

Download the fact sheet: Dynamic Nacelle Testing Laboratory (DyNaLab)

Our service portfolio here: Electrical components and system validationTesting and system validation of large mechanical components

© Frank S. Bauer

Hydrogen Lab Bremerhaven (HLB)

Supply security of decentralized power grids

At the Hydrogen Lab Bremerhaven (HLB), the focus is on the interaction of wind turbines with electrolytic hydrogen production. The increasing decentralization of power generation resulting from the integration of renewable energy sources places high demands on the power grids. In the context of offshore wind farms in particular, the development, assessment, and operation of which are among Fraunhofer IWES’ key competences, there is a considerable need for optimization in order to ensure the security of supply. Direct onshore and offshore production of green hydrogen has high potential for the security of supply in decentralized power grids by smoothing out supply and demand peaks by means of the generation and reconversion of hydrogen.

This approach is being tested at the HLB, with funding from the State of Bremen and the EU, on ten test areas for electrolyzers with a total capacity of up to ten megawatts. The electricity required is supplied by an 8 MW AD8 wind turbine on site. The electrical properties of electrolyzers in interaction with the fluctuating power feed from wind energy can be investigated on PEM and alkaline electrolyzers in order to gain insights into how electrolyzers and their power electronics need to be constructed so as to have a stabilizing effect on the grid and be able to structure the power grid reliably and flexibly in the future.

More infos: Hydrogen Lab Bremerhaven

Download the fact sheet: Hydrogen Lab Bremerhaven – Focus on challenge of offshore production

Our service portfolio here: Electrolyzer validation and qualification

© Wolfhard Scheer

Hangar for wind-measuring technology

Measuring technology for documentation of wind flows

The »Wind Measurement Systems« group with its 13 employees moved into Hangar II at the former airfield in Bremerhaven in 2017. It is part of the »Wind Measurement and Characterization« department and is responsible for maintaining and further developing the latter’s technical equipment.

The group’s focus is on lidar measuring technology for documentation of onshore and offshore wind flows. The wind-measuring buoys developed at IWES in 2012, which are deployed in a range of commercial and non-commercial measuring campaigns in the North Sea and continuously growing in number, are of central importance. The buoys are complemented by profiling lidar systems, which are also used on land, as well as additional measuring sensor technologies for marine parameters.

The group’s research work focuses on the further development of the buoy body and the development of the buoy’s autonomous energy system. To achieve their goals, the scientists work in close cooperation with the »Wind Measuring Campaigns« and »Wind Data Analysis« working groups.

Download the fact sheet: Fraunhofer IWES Wind Lidar Buoy – Offshore Wind and Ocean Measurements 

Our service portfolio here: Wind measurement and wind modeling

© Hauke Müller


Innovative solutions for the sub-surface investigation of offshore wind farms

The Fraunhofer IWES site in Bremen is home to an interdisciplinary team specializing in geophysics, geology, petrophysics, civil engineering, electrical engineering, and software development, which focuses on the holistic sub-surface investigations of offshore wind farms. The team adapts seismo-acoustic and geotechnical methods from the oil and gas industries as well as the military sector with the aim of optimizing them for use in the offshore wind industry. In this way, for example, the designed and patented Manta Ray G1 detection system utilizes multichannel seismic measurement methods to deliver high-resolution data for three-dimensional ground models. The detection of boulders at depths of up to 100 m below the seafloor plays a key role here. The goal is the time- and cost-efficient development of offshore wind farms and the corresponding infrastructure.

Since 2017, the Sub-surface Investigations department has been surveying the sub-seafloor for the sites designated for offshore wind energy in the German EEZ on behalf of the Federal Maritime and Hydrographic Agency (BSH).

Download the fact sheets:

Our service portfolio here: Sub-surface investigation

© Peter Sondermann-City-Luftbilder


New perspectives with cross-system orientation

A center of excellence for wind energy has been established in Bochum with the construction of the Fraunhofer IWES branch office HoMAS (Hochintegrierte Mechatronische AntriebsSysteme = Highly Integrated Mechatronic Drive Systems) under the direction of Prof. Dr.-Ing. Constantinos Sourkounis (Ruhr University Bochum (RUB)).

The close cooperation between IWES and RUB opens up new perspectives for research in the field of wind energy with cross-system orientation and expertise. Innovations for the future operation of wind energy systems are being advanced in joint projects, with the focus not only on individual turbines, but also on entire wind farms and their integration into the energy supply grid.

© RUB_Fakultät-ETIT_Archiv

Hydrogen Lab Görlitz (HLG)

On the way to leading the hydrogen technology sector

The Fraunhofer Hydrogen Lab Görlitz (HLG) is a research platform and research infrastructure at the Görlitz Innovation Campus with the aim of developing innovative solutions all along the hydrogen value chain. Here, the HLG benefits from the synergy effects of the research expertise of the Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology IWU and the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES.

The research focuses on the generation and storage of green hydrogen as well as the use of green hydrogen in mobile and stationary fuel cells, particularly for mobility and for supplying districts and industrial sites. This especially includes the evaluation of stacks and systems, microstructural analysis and diagnostics, digitalization, production processes, power electronics, and certification.

With its connected load of around ten megawatts (potentially 15 MW in the future), the HLG will be the site for the development and testing of future-proof and sustainable hydrogen technologies in Saxony, making an active contribution to achieving climate neutrality likely by 2035 while driving forward the technological leadership in the field of hydrogen technologies.

More info: Hydrogen Lab Görlitz

Download the fact sheet: Hydrogen Lab Görlitz – Test infrastructure along the entire H2 value chain

Our service portfolio here: Electrolyzer validation and qualification

© Fraunhofer IWU

Large Bearing Laboratory (LBL)

Experimental testing of the next generation of wind turbine bearings

The »Large Bearing Laboratory« (LBL) at the site in Hamburg bundles activities and expands upon them with experimental testing options for bearings for the next generation of wind turbines. This is where rolling bearings with diameters of up to 6 meters for both offshore and onshore use are tested, dismantled, and analyzed.

The LBL’s portfolio covers the whole lifespan of a large rolling bearing from concept engineering to simulation, design, testing, and diagnosis. In addition to the BEAT 6.1 large bearing test bench, the LBL also operates further test benches for rotor blade and main bearings as well as smaller facilities for basic tests and the testing of large numbers of units. Key research projects include HAPT2 (Highly Accelerated Pitch Bearing Test 2), ViBes4Wind, and HBDV for estimating the lifespan of rotor blade bearings.

Other areas of research at the ILES Application Center address the topic of green hydrogen and the integration of local energy systems. In cooperation with Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg), the Application Center, founded in 2020, works on systematic aspects of the production of green hydrogen using electrolysis.

Our service portfolio here: Testing and system validation of large mechanical components

© Jan Brandes

Application Center ILES

Research for the transformation of the energy system

The research focus at the ILES Application Center is on the topic of hydrogen and the integration of local energy systems. In cooperation with Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW), the Application Center, founded in 2020, works on systematic aspects of the production of green hydrogen using electrolysis. The main research interest is in cross-sectoral applications. Grid-forming regulation for the integration of hybrid power plants, especially with electrolyzers, represents another research focus.

Download the fact sheet: Application Center for Integration of Local Energy Systems

Our service portfolio here: Electrolyzer validation and qualification

© Fraunhofer IWES

Hannover Postkamp

System understanding for field data-based reliability modeling

Fraunhofer IWES’ Directors have their offices at the Postkamp location in the heart of Hanover city. Research here focuses on the analysis of operating and maintenance data. One of the primary goals is to render components such as converters more reliable through testing, condition monitoring, and fault analysis.

Other areas of research also include early fault detection and predictive maintenance concepts. Projects on field data-based reliability modeling take the entire wind turbine system into consideration. Of course, components such as rotor blades and support structures also need to be further optimized – but always with the whole system in mind. The scientists are able to draw on data from more than 10,000 turbines for their work.

In addition, IWES teaches key skills regarding system understanding and interdisciplinarity in degree courses at the Leibniz University Hannover, where the students learn to understand the interactions between the wind, wind turbine, individual turbine components, and wide area synchronous grid (WASG) as well as between wind turbines themselves. The close cooperation offers them the opportunity to utilize the unique IWES test infrastructure from coupon to full-scale blade testing. More info: https://www.iwes.uni-hannover.de/en/institute

The site is also particularly characterized by the many collaborations with other Fraunhofer institutes. Key research projects include the Innovation Cluster Power Electronics, power4re (Reliable Power Converter for the Provision of Renewable Energy), and HiPE-LAB.

Download the fact sheet: Understanding and improving O&M activities

Our service portfolio here: Reliability, monitoring, and yield analysisElectrical components and system validation

© Fraunhofer IWES

Hannover TTH

Life tests on constructions, components, etc.

The Test Center Support Structures (TTH) is a facility operated by the Leibniz University Hannover and ForWind with Fraunhofer IWES as its principal user. At the Test Center, experimental testing is performed on support and foundation structures as well as their components on a scale of 1:10 - 1:3.5. In addition, we also validate and optimize designs and construction techniques. Accelerated life tests of components such as screws, welded joints, and bearings are also possible. As required, special laboratories for material testing of steel, concrete, and fiber composite materials as well as geotechnical investigations are also involved.

Onshore and offshore wind turbines are further developed with regard to higher turbine availability and cost efficiency and simulation models validated employing a combination of structural models, numerical calculations, and large-scale experiments. We investigate the fatigue and dynamic behavior of structures under long-term loading in “short time”, with meaningful results available after just three to four months. Optimization approaches and system reserves can be identified and tapped in a time-efficient manner. It is also possible to investigate environmentally compatible construction techniques systematically.

Geotechnical consulting services for onshore and offshore structures are essential for the production of foundations – both for the development of designs and for the selection of an installation method for the respective site. Numerical calculations and/or simulations establish the basis for the experimental test planning and also provide security for investigations of the structure-soil interaction of support structures and foundations.

Download the fact sheet: Structural analyses on components and large-scale models

Our service portfolio here: Testing and system validation of large mechanical components

© Jan Meier


Heading into a climate-neutral future with green shipping

The energy transition in the maritime sector is important for a climate-neutral future. New cooperations between research and industry should pave the way for a sustainable future. In this way, the CO2 emissions caused by shipping are to be reduced by at least half by 2050 – as set out in the European Green Deal among other initiatives.

This was the reason for the establishment of the Maritime Technology Center in the Maritime Sciences faculty at the University of Applied Sciences Emden/Leer, that optimizes the teaching and research while simultaneously serving as a partner for information and services. There are a wind tunnel, a towing tank, and a laboratory for ship acoustics available to the researchers in the Technology Center. The modern equipment allows investigation of issues relevant for shipping from the fields of nautical science as well as marine and hydraulic engineering in one location – especially as far as green shipping is concerned.

The Fraunhofer Working Group Sustainable Maritime Mobility was founded in Leer and Bremerhaven with a focus on the design, construction, and operation of trendsetting wind propulsion systems. The university is also a partner of the Lower Saxon Wadden Sea national park administration. Its integrated marine science laboratory and exhibition areas serve as an extracurricular place of learning and provide information concerning important questions regarding the Wadden Sea habitat in public science events.

To the press release: Opening of the Maritime Technology Center (German only)

Download the brochure: Sustainable commercial shipping

Our service portfolio here: Overall system measurement and simulations

© Fraunhofer IWES

Hydrogen Lab Leuna (HLL)

Green hydrogen for the chemical industry

Embedded in the materials network of the Leuna Chemical Park, the Hydrogen Lab Leuna (HLL) boasts four test rigs and a pilot plant for electrolyzers up to five megawatts, which are supplied with deionized water, steam, compressed air, nitrogen, hydrogen, and CO2. Fraunhofer IWES’ expertise in electrochemical analysis makes it possible to trace degradation phenomena on critical components such as membranes and bipolar plates back to material properties and utilize these findings for the continuous further development of materials and components. Additional test benches for electrolyzers up to 50 kW enable the investigation of new components and operation under particularly challenging conditions (mechanical and thermal loading).

Industrial-scale electrolyzers of all types – be that PEM, AEL, AEM, or SOEC – can be tested in 24/7 operation at the HLL with the possibility of simulating dynamic load profiles during operation with electricity from photovoltaic systems and wind turbines in order to assess their performance, cost-efficiency, and long-term behavior in real-world operation as well as in accelerated aging tests. The green hydrogen produced is analyzed on site, purified, and fed directly into the 157-km-long H2 pipeline, from where it is distributed to the industrial sites in the region for use in chemical processes.

More info: Hydrogen Lab Leuna 

Download the fact sheet: Hydrogen Lab Leuna – Green hydrogen in the chemical industry

Our service portfolio here: Electrolyzer validation and qualification

© Till Schuster


Quantification of uncertainties for determination of individual error sources

In the »Scientific implementation and method development« subproject, IWES is responsible at the Oldenburg site for developing program modules for software-assisted site assessment as well as methods for quantifying a wide range of sources of uncertainty. A validated site classification system should gauge the uncertainties to be expected for future sites even before simulations are performed. In the long term, this will make a contribution to the standardization of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) in site assessment.

Statements about the site quality of future wind turbines and their energy yields can only be rendered more precise with the help of simulations. Awareness of uncertainty factors and their influence is essential for simulation results to be usable. Uncertainties flow directly into the calculation of the so-called P75 and P90 values – in key figures for the project evaluation, relevant for banks and tenders, for example. Moreover, it is hoped that the findings will improve the reliability and comparability of the calculation methods.

The »Simulation uncertainties for the detailed assessment of wind energy yield (SUnDAY)« research project focuses on quantifying uncertainties. It should provide quantitative insights into the scales of the individual error sources of CFD simulations for wind farm site assessment. Examining and comparing the sources of uncertainty also makes it possible to determine the causes of such sources, analyze them in detail, and potentially control them in the future.

Further research deals with the flow simulations of gas and liquids in hydrogen electrolysis. The development of adapted simulation methods is of particular importance here, as it is not possible to measure the flow effects without interrupting the chemical process.

Our service portfolio here: Reliability, monitoring, and yield analysisWind measurement and wind modeling

© Universität Oldenburg