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GE Renewable Energy constructing largest wind turbine testing rig

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GE Renewable Energy has started the construction of the largest wind turbine rotor test rig of its kind at LM Wind Power’s WMC Technology Center in Wieringerwerf, the Netherlands – located on the border of the IJsselmeer, approximately 70 kilometers north of Amsterdam.

Under the three-year STRETCH initiative, a consortium comprising GE Renewable Energy, LM Wind Power and TNO was formed to develop this test rig, with partial support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs.

The rotor test rig will enable the strength and dynamic behavior of wind turbine rotors to be verified under the huge mechanical loads caused by the large blades. The information gained through the project will be used to develop current design methods which will lead to the design of larger rotors after testing through digital twin concepts.

“Establishing the most advanced and largest rotor test rig of its kind shows our commitment to develop insights into rotor technology that go beyond blade production alone. With this innovative rotor rig, we will be able to verify in-house the pitch bearings and pitch system that fix the wind turbine blades to the hub and allows pitching blade maximizing captured energy while reducing loads on wind turbine. This capability will provide our customers with a better understanding of the dynamic behaviour of large onshore and offshore rotors and will help LM Wind Power design ultra-large rotor blades by stretching and improving the existing designs.”

Hanif Mashal, LM Wind Power vice president of engineering.

“Larger turbines are essential to shape the much-required energy transition. Without innovations, larger turbines would become too heavy and too expensive to be commercially viable. Fast-paced innovation in wind turbine blade and rotor design, materials, construction and manufacturing have made the up-scaling of offshore wind turbines feasible and attractive around the world. We are thrilled by this chance to partner with the Dutch government, GE Renewable Energy and LM Wind Power to advance the understanding of rotor technology, which will ultimately contribute to better designs that help make renewable wind energy even more reliable and affordable.”

Peter Eecen, TNO Wind Energy R&D manager.

Construction and commissioning of the test rig is scheduled to be completed by November 2020.

Nedim Husomanovic

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