Measuring in at a whopping 42 metres long and 9 metres wide, Vestas’ new wind industry test bench is the most powerful test bench in the world, and has recently started operation at Vestas’ global testing centre in Aarhus, Denmark.
The 20 MW test bench is able to test the full nacelle of a Vestas V164-8.0 MW, testing its performance, robustness, and reliability over a simulated 25-year period.
“Vestas has invested in the industry’s most powerful test bench to ensure the turbine will perform in challenging conditions for 25 years,” said Chief Technology Officer Anders Vedel. “The superior testing expertise we have accumulated over the last decade is a key part of giving confidence to our customers that the machine is of the high quality that they expect from Vestas.”
Unsurprisingly, testing the critical components and systems of the V164-8.0 MW turbine is critical to Vestas’ “process to ensure the highest possible industry leading quality and reliability.” Such is their diligence to this goal that Vestas has invested in several unique testing capabilities over the past two years which cover all the V164-8.0 MW’s critical components.
The test bench weighs nearly 700 tonnes, and it better, as it includes the weight of the test bench itself, as well as motors, wind simulator, and generators. Due to its massive weight, Vestas has installed fifty metre-deep concrete foundations to support the weight. The motors which power the test bench are able to produce 20 MW — the equivalent of 26,820 brake horsepower — and the torque exerted on the components of the turbine can be up to a massive 18 meganewton metres.
While the test bench is likely to be of significant use for Vestas, the outcomes could very well be of benefit to the whole industry. Much like Vestas’ involvement in the Scaled Wind Farm Technology (SWiFT) facility recently launched at Texas Tech University to study how turbine spacing within a wind farm affects turbulence, aerodynamic losses, equipment damage, and overall wind energy generation efficiency.
And Vestas need to keep ahead of the game, if they intend to stay at the top of the game. A report released earlier this year from Bloomberg New Energy Finance found that Vestas (tied with GE) was the leading supplier of wind energy installations in 2012.
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