The wind turbine is a complex product composed of many parts. R&D for wind turbines is done partly by the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), and partly by the suppliers of components. Dutch companies play a large role in the field of components and can improve their position in the wind turbine market by introducing new technology to help with the trend towards increasing wind turbine and rotor sizes, higher availability, and improvements to the transmission system. This programme deals with both completely new wind turbines as well as the components.
An offshore wind farm should be designed as a wind power station, but at the moment it is still a coordinated assembly of components with a different background. Integrated designs based on the lowest cost of energy of the whole assembly instead of the ‘own’ component are still new. Examples of integration aspects are: innovations aimed at increasing the reliability and the lifespan of the wind farm, integrated designs of turbines plus support structures plus network and optimisation of the wind power station. The latter relies on, among other things, a higher degree of controllability of each turbine, both separately and in relation to the other turbines and the integration with the electricity grid.
The R&D Activities
- Multidisciplinary analysis of wind turbines and wind power stations (aerodynamics, dynamics, materials, and control engineering) and a more integrated design approach.
- Innovations of wind turbines components (e.g. larger rotors, bearings, generators, transmission systems) among other things aimed at increasing reliability, yield and lifespan (e.g. erosion protection). These also include the development of new materials and coatings in addition to the life-cycle aspects of the wind turbine components.
- Development and demonstration of the next generation wind turbines, such as for example on the basis of Vertical Axis (VAWT) and Airborne technology, as far as the proof-of-concept phase has already been achieved.
- Optimisation of the wind power station as a whole, aimed at reducing the cost of energy.
- Improve offshore metocean and wind climate knowledge through measurements and modelling.