Innovative methods for wind measurements

ECN part of TNO supports commercia in the wind energy industry with research and innovation, in order to achieve the greatest possible return from offshore wind energy.

One way to achieve this is to take accurate measurements in and around wind turbines to demonstrate innovations, bring the latest turbines to market and validate the most advanced wind farm models.

ECN part of TNO manages facilities and carries out wind measurements for the benefit of industry and for its own research & development. Developments and innovations in this sector are very rapid and it is therefore necessary to test them accurately and on a full scale.

The government has designated a number of locations in the North Sea where new wind farms will be developed in the near future. In order to create a level playing field for market parties that can bid for tenders, ECN part of TNO carries out wind measurements at these locations at the request of the government and makes the results available to these parties.

Advanced Measurement Techniques

In the past, experiments had been carried out on a research turbine on the site in Petten. Nowadays, ECN part of TNO tests the most modern turbines on the test site in the Wieringer lake. These are up to 5 times larger and have rotors of up to 130m. Measurement engineers install instruments around and inside the turbines. For example, they climb up to the blades (rotors) of the turbines to do so. In this way, the behaviour of the turbine as a result of the driving wind is pinpointed.

A modern wind measurement technique is LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging). LiDAR uses laser light to measure wind speed at distances ranging from a few tens of metres to a few kilometres, and by accurately aiming the beam, entire wind fields can be scanned. Remote measurements and measurements in the higher air layers are becoming increasingly important, because the wind turbines that are built are also becoming larger and larger.

Innovation

In the future, we expect, among other things, that many inspection and maintenance activities on operational wind farms will be automated. At present, this is still mainly done by hand, which is a labour-intensive process. Drones and robots will take over these tasks to a large extent in the future. ECN part of TNO is actively involved in this development and wants to make facilities available to test drones and robots for this type of work.

Towards large-scale generation of wind energy

Dr Jan Willem Wagenaar

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Dr Jan Willem Wagenaar

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ECN part of TNO

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