The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is working with ENERCON to set up the Krummendeich Research Wind Farm. The company is the largest German manufacturer of wind turbines and is based in Aurich in East Frisia. It will supply the first two wind turbines for the research farm as part of its infrastructure construction. This will be followed by the construction, integration and certification of the turbines. Trial operation and the first feed-in of electricity are scheduled to begin in the second half of 2022. At the same time, DLR, alongside ENERCON's research and development company Wobben Research and Development (WRD) and the Center for Wind Energy Research (ForWind), is modifying the wind turbines to include the components specifically required for research. These include over 2000 sensors and measuring devices.
Full-scale research for innovations in wind energy
The two wind turbines each have an output of 4.2 megawatts. They have a rotor diameter of 115 metres and a blade tip height of 150 metres. In contrast to turbines on commercial wind farms, these are deliberately placed one behind the other in the main wind direction. This will allow the researchers to investigate specific effects, such as how the flow of one wind turbine affects the efficiency, noise emission and mechanical load of the other. For this purpose, the turbines are equipped with a variety of scientific instruments. In addition, meteorological measuring masts and LIDAR devices – using laser technology – record the wind conditions in the field with an unprecedented level of detail. The control technology is also specially adapted for experimental operation: This enables the safe and flexible operation of the turbines in the research park. At the same time, this allows for the systematic investigation of operational methods and control technology.
Strong partners in industry and science
"With this unique infrastructure, we can conduct research on a full scale in a real-world environment instead of in the laboratory – and we do it together with partners from academia and industry. In doing so, we are creating direct knowledge transfer to industry. Together we can make wind energy even more efficient and affordable. The continuous improvement of the technology and its economic viability is important because it is an indispensable part of the energy transition," explains Karsten Lemmer, DLR Executive Board Member for Innovation, Transfer and Research Infrastructure.
"ENERCON is a global pioneer in wind energy and offers solutions for the energy technology challenges of tomorrow. That is why we are particularly pleased to be a partner of the Krummendeich Research Wind Farm. We are supplying two state-of-the-art wind turbines as central components. With our involvement we are actively contributing to promoting wind energy research in Germany. Innovations that promote acceptance by the public and at the same time reduce costs are an essential key to the continuation of successful onshore expansion in Germany and around the world. The fundamental knowledge that can be gained with this research wind farm will help in this regard. This research alliance will certainly also strengthen our technological leadership as a leading manufacturer," says Jörg Scholle, Chief Technology Officer of ENERCON.
Broad spectrum of topics – from the air molecule to the electron in the power grid
The goal of the Research Wind Farm is to make research on many scientific and technological questions possible – comprehensively, in the long term and to a high standard. The facility initially has a service life of 20 years. The spectrum of topics to be covered includes the entire process chain – from whole-system turbine planning, forward-looking rotor concepts, turbine technology and operational management, to their environmental impact and acceptance research, as well as the integration of wind turbines into the power grid.
ENERCON expertise – from blade tip to foundation
The use of series-produced turbines for wind farm research places special demands on the turbine technology in particular. For this reason, ENERCON has optimised the technical equipment: researchers can equip the wind turbines with a wide variety of measuring sensors during production. The open sourcing of the control software should also be emphasised. This enables the partners to jointly develop new, safe and trend-setting concepts to control the turbines.
About the construction of the Krummendeich Research Wind Farm
In addition to the two turbines described above, a further, somewhat smaller wind turbine will be added, which will have a modular design. This will make it possible to exchange, convert and optimise the components depending on the research question at hand. There are a total of five measuring masts between the three wind turbines. These are equipped with a large suite of sensors. This special constellation of wind turbines, masts and measuring instruments is what makes the research park unique. All the data from these sensors are collected in the control room, then processed and made available to the respective research projects.
The construction of the Krummendeich Wind Research Farm is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) and the Ministry of Science and Culture of Lower Saxony (MWK).
Many scientific disciplines united for one goal
Seven DLR institutes and facilities are contributing their know-how to the development of the Research Wind Farm, as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems (IWES) and 11 member institutes of the Center for Wind Energy Research (ForWind). The Research Alliance Wind Energy (FVWE) brings together these activities for the field of wind energy research. The network covers the entire range of topics and, with more than 600 researchers, is one of the world's largest alliances in the field of wind energy research.