A large new research turbine that better matches today’s commercial turbines than the models currently installed is on its way to Risø Campus.
This April, a new addition will be made to the distinctive row of wind turbines on DTU Risø Campus—‘an injection of new blood’, as the researchers put it. This constitutes a much-needed upgrade to a set of research equipment with great significance to the wind turbine industry.
Commercial wind turbines are experiencing something of a boom at present, and it has long been clear that a large research wind turbine was needed on Risø Campus, where researchers are working closely with industry to make turbines even more durable and efficient.
DTU actually started seeking out a new turbine back in 2010, but it was not until 2014 that a stalled project in Italy presented the University with the chance to purchase a Vestas V52 model that was ‘small’ enough (less than 80 m from ground to blade tip) to be added to Risø’s row of turbines, and large enough to match the commercial models.
Vestas had actually decided to phase out the V52, but then in 2014 the company received an order from Kenya to supply turbines for a wind farm sited at the remote Lake Turkana. On completion, this farm will be the biggest in the world measured in the number of turbines: no fewer than 365 of the relatively modest turbines are to generate energy from the exceptionally strong winds that blow across the lake.
The order rekindled Vestas’ interest in the V52, and the company has developed a new tower for the turbine, which takes the form of an ‘assembly kit’ in two parts that fit conveniently inside one another during transport. It is a tower of this kind that will be used in DTU’s row of turbines.
First year for baseline measurements
The turbine is currently in four sections on Risø Campus, while it is being fitted with all kinds of different instruments. It is scheduled to be installed on the northerly end of the line of turbines around 1 April. Before the researchers can get to work, however, the turbine is to be left to operate undisturbed for period sufficient to establish baseline measurements in wind speeds from zero to 25 m/s.
The new turbine will reinforce DTU’s close collaboration with Vestas—the company is already utilizing the opportunity to train Kenyan engineers in turbine operation. In return, DTU will have access to useful data from Vestas. Projects will also be carried out with other manufacturers, of course, and the numerous subcontractors to the wind turbine industry will likewise have a unique opportunity to test and develop their equipment.
“But first and foremost, we are delighted to have a modern turbine here, close to our workplace, where we can decide for ourselves which experiments to run, when, and for how long. This is crucial to our ability to verify our models and hypotheses,” says Thomas Buhl, Head of Section at DTU Windenergy.