Chalmers has a new wind turbine for research

​At the island of Björkö outside Gothenburg, there is a new wind turbine - a prototype to be used for research and testing of energy efficient and sustainable wind turbine technology. The tower is made of wood, which is unique, and sensors will provide researchers with information about the loads that the wind turbine is exposed to under different operating and wind conditions.

The construction of the new wind turbine has been made possible by support from Region Västra Götaland and the Swedish Energy Agency. It has attracted the interest of both domestic and European research colleagues.

“For a university, it is unique to have access to a test wind turbine that is made to scale and equipped with that many different sensors. The ability to control and adjust the various parameters of the wind turbine enables new research opportunities”, says Sara Fogelström, coordinator of the Swedish Wind Power Technology Centre, SWPTC.

Within a couple of decades, wind power is expected to be the largest, or second largest, energy source for electricity generation in Sweden. It puts high demands on cost-effective and sustainable wind power turbines with high electricity generation. Wind power must also contribute to the development of system support services for the electricity grid. Integrating wind turbines into the grid requires many different competences working together. Chalmers hosts the Swedish Wind Power Technology Centre, which brings together players in both the wind power industry and academia.

“Operators, windfarm owners and project developers within the centre will work together with researchers from academia in various projects on the new wind turbine. We hope that even more researchers and companies will get in touch and want to test their research”, Sara adds.

Test platform for the industry

In addition to being an important research facility, the wind turbine also serves as a prototype turbine for the wind power industry. For example, a new type of tower is being tested for the first time. It is the company Modvion, which is part of Chalmers Ventures’ company portfolio, which has developed a wooden tower manufactured in modules. The tower is climate neutral from the start and costs significantly less to manufacture than conventional steel towers. As where steel emits a lot of carbon dioxide in the manufacturing process, wood can act as a carbon sink as the material can store carbon dioxide. The conditions for large-scale manufacturing in Sweden are good. Wood is an indigenous raw material for which there is good access and Sweden has a traditionally strong laminated timber industry.

Press releases from Chalmers Ventures:

Contributes to efficient and sustainable electricity generation

Chalmers’ test wind turbine is equipped with eight different sensors in each rotor blade that provide data of incoming wind. The tower is equipped with sensors in both the wooden structure and in the steel joints. The foundation also has sensors that collect data on how the concrete is affected over time. The sensors measure the loads that the different parts of the wind turbine are exposed to under various operating and wind conditions.

“If you know which loads the wind turbine is exposed to, you can control it in a smarter way. You save material in the design and become more cost-effective in electricity generation”, says Ola Carlson, Professor in sustainable electric power production and director of the Swedish Wind Power Technology Centre.

The first research project to be carried out on the test wind turbine is a project that deals with frequency control. As the proportion of wind power increases in the electricity grid, wind turbines must also be involved in contributing to better grid stability. It requires that the frequency is kept constant at 50 Hz. The research project, led by Ola Carlson, will test different models for frequency control and look at how to further develop the control services that exist today.

Contact
Sara Fogelström, coordinator of the Swedish Wind Power Technology Centre
sara.fogelstrom@chalmers.se

Ola Carlson, professor and director of the Swedish Wind Power Technology Centre
ola.carlson@chalmers.se

Read more about the Swedish Wind Power Technology Centre, SWPTC

More news articles on wind power technology:

Text: Anna Wallin
Portrait photos: Oscar Mattsson


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Fact sheet about Chalmers' wind turbine

Effect: 40 kW
Total height: 38 m
Rotor diameter: 16 m
Material: The tower is made of laminated wood. The rotor blades are made of carbon fibre, which is more durable than conventional fiberglass rotor blades.

The wind turbine is small, but to scale, which means that the data and research results are applicable to larger wind turbines with larger rotor blades.
Source: The Swedish Wind Power Technology Centre

Published: Mon 29 Jun 2020.