Research spectrum: Our expertise in science

Analysis and modeling of operation and installation

© WT: istockphoto instamatics, diagram: Pixabay Buffik 022023

Wind turbine failures lead to considerable repair costs and yield losses. The reliability of turbines and their components – especially those with high failure rates – is thus of key importance for further reducing the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE).

Uncovering failure causes is therefore a focal point of our research and can inform improvements in component design, test procedures, and operational management. We also develop reliability models describing the failure behavior of the wind turbine components and mapping the influence of design aspects, operation, and environmental conditions to failure behavior.

More info

Mechanical modeling of wind turbines and their components

© Jan Meier

Fraunhofer IWES has developed a simulation model (MoWiT) for the load calculation of wind turbines and real-time simulation in a Hardware-in-the-Loop environment. With it, it is possible to take into consideration wind turbine components such as structural components, aerodynamics, turbine control, and much more. For the drive train, for example, any operating conditions can be simulated with an increased degree of detail via coupling with the full turbine simulation. The load distribution in the large bearing is reliably determined utilizing the finite element method. IWES contributes to increasing the efficiency and reliability of the support and foundation structures with customized mechanical models.

more info

Multichannel seismic survey of offshore subsoil

© Frank S. Bauer

The assessment of geological subsurface conditions is indispensable for the planning and development of offshore wind farms. It represents the key to determining geotechnical design parameters for the foundation structures of offshore wind turbines. Boulders and other geological features can pose risks for their installation. Fraunhofer IWES has developed a range of multichannel seismic measuring methods specifically for use in shallow waters in the offshore wind industry. Among other things, it conducts comprehensive research and industry projects in the field of ultra high-resolution seismics and geological modeling. In addition, it operates a flexible 2D/3D UHR multichannel seismic system for the efficient creation of high-resolution ground models. The novel Manta Ray G1 measuring system, which enables targeted risk assessment of offshore installation sites, represents another innovative technological development.

more info

Numerical wind field modeling and aerodynamics

© Fraunhofer IWES erstellt mit ParaView

Comprehensive modeling is crucial for the reliable analysis of wind sites. Fraunhofer IWES utilizes mesoscale simulations to generate precise time series data for large areas – data which can subsequently be employed to investigate research questions regarding the influence of meteorological conditions on wind farms. Topographical factors such as soil conditions, land use, and forest cover can be represented in 3D meshes with typical resolutions of between 1 and 100 meters. Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is used to solve the wind and turbulence fields for each wind direction sector in order to determine the wind potential. Further focuses in the IWES portfolio: modeling of wake effects in wind farms, aerodynamic simulation of wind turbines, fluid-structure interaction (FSI) and aeroacoustics.

more info

Virtual test rigs

© iStock_JB2022

At IWES, virtual testing is part of physical testing. It is primarily used for the precise and efficient realization of conventional tests and the development of innovative test methods. Using virtual test rigs and scaled large-scale tests, for example, IWES is able to precisely analyze even extremely large components such as support structures for wind turbines. Digital twins help to evaluate changes to the test geometry, the load or the geotechnical conditions quickly and cost-effectively.

more info

Wind measurement

© Fraunhofer IWES

Fraunhofer IWES employs a wide range of different technologies for tasks from the surveying of small-scale, turbulent wind fields up to the documentation of wind resources at a site over a number of years. Remote sensing methods such as lidar (light detection and ranging) are used as standard. When developing innovative measuring concepts, IWES takes the range and scales to be recorded as well as the use of cost-efficient measuring instruments into consideration. IWES also employs a range of data processing and wind field reconstruction methods for the collection of final wind field and wind resource data. A further focus is the recording of additional atmospheric parameters based on the wind measurements and supplementary measurements for optimal wind resource and site assessment.

more info

We will be happy to assist you with any questions you have concerning the planning, realization, and optimization of wind turbines or hydrogen production. Please feel free to get in touch!