New WindLab Building at Wechloy Campus, Oldenburg

by Edu Knagge and Grit Schürmann (PPRE staff)

In the WindLab, scientists investigate the interaction of turbulent atmospheric currents with wind-energy-systems — thus of wind parks, wind turbines and their components. Exact data will be obtained from operational behavior of wind turbines and huge offshore wind parks.

Responsible for the proposal of the new WindLab were Oldenburg scientists under the guidance of wind energy expert Prof. Dr. Martin Kühn, turbulence researcher Prof. Dr. Joachim Peinke and energy meteorologist Dr. Detlev Heinemann. The new construction was recommended and classified as especially eligible by the science council, already back in 2012. Due to the energy transition, the significance of wind energy use increases constantly. Exploration of wind power and its use, as well as the advancement of existing infrastructure, fuel chances for the economy and science of the entire coastal region.

In comparison to wind tunnels (like they are for example used in the aviation industry), the wind tunnel of the new WindLab will be able to simulate turbulent wind fields as they occur in nature. “So far experiments in wind tunnels are carried out under especially non-turbulence conditions”, the physicist and turbulence expert Peinke explained. But this does not match the reality in the field of wind energy. Wind energy turbines are exposed to 100 million windblasts in a working period of 20 years, which leads to extreme challenges of the material and engineering.

“With the new wind tunnel we are now able to carry out exact experiments with respect to turbulence processing on rotor blades, on single model wind turbines or even on constructions in wind park arrangements”, so Peinke. The investigations are expected to contribute to the efficiency management of wind parks and avoid financial risks.

The Windlab was designed by the architect's office Hammeskrause Architekten, Stuttgart.
Further infos and project sketches are available here.

The overall costs of the new construction were about 20 Million Euro. In July 2016 the first scientists moved to their new building. For approx. one year the wind tunnel will now be tested, measured and calibrated. A more detailed report about the new Oldenburg WindLab will be provided in the next news.

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