This new facility will be specifically dedicated to both aerodynamic and aero-acoustic testing of wind turbine blades. FORCE Technology is involved in the design and planning of its operation.
The design of the National Wind Tunnel
With the development of the National Wind Tunnel, we will be part of a wind tunnel cluster collaboration.
The project is a part of the national research infrastructure for the development of next generation’s wind turbines, in the frame of the ambitious target to renew the entire Danish energy supply as by 2050.
The wind tunnel is being designed by specialists from DTU and with assistance from the Swedish companies, Fluid Thinking and CreoDynamics and with help from FORCE Technology.
FORCE Technology’s experience from designing and constructing our Climatic Wind Tunnel (CWT) is valuable in this connection. Alectia A/S is acting as general consulting engineers for the overall project.
A unique model
According to the specifications, the new wind tunnel will be capable of reaching wind speeds up to 105m/s inside a 2.2x3.3m2 test section.
The latter will be an exchangeable module to satisfy both aerodynamic and aero-acoustic requirements, making the facility unique worldwide as one of the first commercially available facilities where aerodynamics and aero-acoustics can be addressed almost simultaneously.
Initially it was envisioned that the National Wind Tunnel should be able to perform climatic wind-tunnel tests as well. However, it became clear quite early in the planning phase that climatic testing would not be possible with the current restrictions for the tunnel.
Consequently, we are actively collaborating to reach this target by updating one of our existing facilities, the Climatic Wind Tunnel (CWT), to test airfoils and wind turbine components in a velocity range up to 32m/s, and in critical climatic conditions, i.e. with ice accretion. The CWT has a test section of 2x2m2 and its cooling unit is capable of controlling and keeping a long-term average temperature down to -5°C.
Assisting DTU in expanding the commercial activities
The plan is that the activities in the National Wind Tunnel will be divided equally between research activities for DTU-Wind Energy and the Danish research community and commercial activities.
FORCE Technology is currently operating five wind tunnels on a commercial basis, but at the same time we have a continuous collaboration with DTU allowing students to access our facilities in connection with bachelor-, master- and PhD-projects.
With FORCE Technology’s more than 50 years of experience in commercial operation of wind tunnels, we will assist DTU in expanding the commercial activities in the new National Wind Tunnel beyond the wind turbine industry.
One wind tunnel cluster
The collaboration between DTU-Wind Energy and FORCE Technology is supported by the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Higher Education. One of the purposes of the collaboration is to promote a setup where the new National Wind Tunnel and our five wind tunnels are considered as one wind tunnel cluster.
An example of this could be that small scale pilot tests with a certain test object could be conducted fast and at a relatively low price in our wind tunnel 1. Next, the actual aerodynamic and aero-acoustic tests would be performed in the new National Wind Tunnel. Finally, verification of the test object’s behavior in varying climatic conditions will be investigated in our Climatic Wind Tunnel.
According to the current schedule, the new National Wind Tunnel is expected to be in commercial operation in May 2017.