Vestas will be the first customer for the Fraunhofer IWES’ new rotor blade test bench.

Fraunhofer IWES to test Vestas’ XXL rotor blade on new test bench

Press release /

Bremerhaven, March 18, 2022. Following successful conclusion of the contract, the first customer for the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES’ new rotor blade test bench has now been decided: the Danish wind turbine manufacturer Vestas will be testing the rotor blade of the new V236-15.0 MW™ prototype in Bremerhaven later this year. The state-of-the-art test bench offers comprehensive testing possibilities for rotor blades measuring up to more than 120 meters. In addition to biaxial full-scale blade tests, manufacturers also have the option of testing individual segments of a rotor blade. The modular and adaptable design of the test bench allows the scientists at Fraunhofer IWES to react flexibly to requirements and further develop intelligent test methods. The rotor blade test bench currently still under construction is being funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) to the tune of €14.8 million and has received €4 million in funding from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the State of Bremen and ERDF financing.

© Fraunhofer IWES/Nils Glinka
Visit of the construction site of the new rotor blade test rig in Bremerhaven. From left to right: Catherine Lester, Research Associate, Fraunhofer IWES, Prof. Andreas Reuter, Managing Director, Fraunhofer IWES, Jan Hagen, Regional CTO, North Central Europe, Vestas, Alexandra Wieczorek, Project Controller, Fraunhofer IWES, Christian Fenselau, Chief of Test and Verification, Vestas, Brian Hvolbøl Mikkelsen, SVP, Quality, Improvements & Processes, Vestas, Alistair Tillmann, Director Blade & Material Testing, Vestas, Prof. Jan Wenske, Deputy Director and Technical Director, Fraunhofer IWES, Dr.-Ing. Steffen Czichon, Head of Department Rotor Blades, Fraunhofer IWES.
© Fraunhofer IWES/Nils Glinka
Rotor blades with a length of more than 120 meters will be tested on the new test stand.

Rotor blades are growing ever larger and more powerful, which sees the wind industry faced with new challenges, since the testing options for these prototypes are limited. Fraunhofer IWES is now filling this gap with the new large-scale rotor blade test bench currently under construction in Bremerhaven. It is capable of testing rotor blades with lengths of more than 120 meters and thus also provides a testing environment for the necessary validation and certification standards for offshore rotor blades in particular. Vestas, a leading global manufacturer in the wind energy sector, has now secured for itself the first test campaign on the new IWES test bench.
With the V236-15.0 MW™ wind turbine, which was developed for maximum efficiency in offshore environments all over the world, Vestas has achieved the largest swept area in the industry with a capacity factor of more than 60% from the 115.5-meter-long rotor blades.

“The development of our new wind turbine represents an important step for us in being able to advance technological innovations in the wind industry around the world further and faster. We look forward to conducting the rotor blade test we need for our V236-15.0 MW™ prototype with a rotor diameter of 236 meters together with Fraunhofer IWES, with the aim of being able to start the serial production planned for 2024 assuredly,” says Christian Fenselau, Chief of Test and Verification at Vestas.

Dr.-Ing. Steffen Czichon, Head of Department Rotor Blades at Fraunhofer IWES, adds: “Even after more than 30 successfully completed test campaigns, a rotor blade measuring more than 115 meters still represents a special challenge for us that requires particularly close cooperation between all those involved. We are delighted to have been able to secure in Vestas a long-time partner as the first customer for our new test bench. Our test environment is the only one of its size in the world. However, the infrastructure is not the only decisive aspect – the test methods are also being continually further developed so as to be able to conduct the tests more realistically and faster.”

Construction of the new test bench in Bremerhaven is currently coming along in leaps and bounds. The coming months will see the installation of the test block and setting up of the measurement technology, meaning the test campaign with the 115.5-meter-long rotor blade from Vestas will likely be able to get under way as of fall this year.

Origin of funding:
Hall construction: BMBF and the State of Bremen/ERDF financing, €4 million
Test bench setup: Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) €14.8 million



Contact person at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES
Project Coordination IWES: Dr.-Ing. Steffen Czichon, Head of Department Rotor Blades
Phone.: +49 471 14290-383

Contact person at Vestas
Project Coordination Vestas: Christian Fenselau, Chief of Test and Verification
Phone: + 45 2237 6920


Fraunhofer IWES
Fraunhofer IWES secures investments in technological developments through validation, shortens innovation cycles, accelerates certification procedures, and increases planning accuracy by means of innovative measurement methods in the wind energy and hydrogen technology sectors. At present, there are more than 300 scientists and employees as well as around 150 students employed at the eight sites: Bochum, Bremen, Bremerhaven, Görlitz, Hamburg, Hanover, Leuna, and Oldenburg.

Vestas is the energy industry’s global partner for sustainable energy solutions. We design, manufacture, install, and service onshore and offshore wind turbines across the globe, and with more than 140 GW of wind turbines in 85 countries, we have installed more wind power than anyone else. Through our industry-leading smart data capabilities and unparalleled more than 120 GW of wind turbines under service, we use data to interpret, forecast, and exploit wind resources and deliver best-in-class wind power solutions. Together with our customers, Vestas’ more than 29,000 employees are bringing the world sustainable energy solutions to power a bright future.