The WINSENT wind energy research test site (“Wind Science and Engineering Test Site in Complex Terrain”) is currently being developed in the Swabian Alb. Given the equipment and the complexity of the terrain, the wind energy test site is thought to be without parallel anywhere in the world. The ZSW has a major milestone to reach in making wind turbines even more efficient and more powerful, but also in making them quieter and lengthening their service lives. The results obtained from the wind turbine research at the test site will be transferred to large-scale commercial systems. In this way, the industry will gain new impetus and important data for its own development work. The accompanying nature conservation research also shows that the use of wind energy is compatible with the protection of wildlife.
The WINSENT and WINSENT-BW projects are funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie - BMWi) and the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of the Environment (Umweltministerium Baden-Württemberg).
The research test site will consist of two wind turbines, each with a rated output of 750 kilowatts and a hub height of 73 metres. Their rotor diameter will be 54 metres, bringing their total height to 100 metres. One of the ways in which the project is unique is that the research scientists will have unrestricted access to the entire control system and the turbine design data at all times, allowing them to analyse and control all the processes in exact detail.
There are also numerical models and digital twins with different levels of detail, allowing the results to be scaled up to larger wind turbine sizes. The wind turbines are also fitted with measuring sensors from the base all the way up to the rotor blades.
Besides the two research wind turbines there will be build two meteorological measuring masts as well, totalling 100 metres in height, one in the inflow and one in the wake in the prevailing wind direction. They will have their own sensor system to measure the wind speed, wind direction, temperature, humidity and air pressure, and to record other meteorological parameters.
The lidar system will be used to measure the wind flow. Lidar (light detection and ranging or light imaging, detection and ranging) is a radar-type method used for the optical measurement of distance and speed and for remote measurement of atmospheric parameters. The system can be used for various applications, such as virtual measuring masts in front of and above the slope of the mountains. Lidar will record all the wind parameters, even at great heights above the test site. Other measuring systems at the site will record the exchange of energy between the soil and the atmosphere, taking various parameters into account like thermal radiation, humidity, soil conditions, air temperature and wind.
Three so-called eddy covariance systems in the field record the energy exchange between the ground and the atmosphere, taking into account parameters such as thermal radiation, humidity, soil properties, air temperature and wind. Another system, the so-called ceilometer, detects cloud height, cloud cover and overcast, vertical visibility, aerosol layer height and boundary layer over the test field area both during the day and at night.
Other measuring systems at the site record the exchange of energy between the soil and the atmosphere, taking various parameters into account like thermal radiation, humidity, soil conditions, air temperature and wind.
The WINSENT research platform provides a real as well as a virtual environment for researching the dynamic behaviour of wind turbines in complex terrain, and for testing new technologies and control strategies. The newly developed WINSENT basic controller and at least one numerical plant model will be made available to other research facilities and institutes in the sense of the open data concept at the end of the current project. Likewise, measurement data from at least one meteorological mast will be made available to the public as 10 minute averages.