Schematic overview of the research project Copyright: © CWD


Stefan Witter © Copyright: CWD


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Real Time Analysis of the Dynamic Behavior and Damage Prediction for Wind Turbine Towers

Beside the construction, the operation of a wind turbine is a source of great costs. Part of those costs is maintenance which is necessary to detect and prevent defects early on. Because of a deficit of knowledge about the current state of the system, maintenance is being performed periodically. Each maintenance is subject to downtime and therefor large losses of revenue.

The goal of this project is to close the gap in knowledge by implementing a model that tracks the state of the physical turbine. On the one hand, in the case of operation without interference, this allows to lengthen the intervals between maintenances, lowering operating cost. On the other hand, defects can be detected early and therefor safety of operation will improve.

In the first step, the wind turbine provided by Nordex is being modelled as detailed as possible as a multibody system. The soil-structure-interaction as well as aerodynamics are also being included in the simulation. To help with the modelling, in-situ measurements of the soil stiffness and tests in a wind canal are being conducted. This is being done by the Center for Wind and Earthquake Engineering.

In the second step, the wind turbine equipped with sensors is being coupled with the model. The level of detail of the model gets reduced to be able to run in real time. The measurement data gets send over the internet and put into the simulation. The aim is also to verify whether the simulation model can correctly reproduce the behavior of the real-world turbine.

Finally, the defect detection and remaining life time calculation is implemented into the model. This will allow to move from an interval driven maintenance strategy to a defect driven one.


01.06.2021 - 30.11.2024

Funded project partner:

Center for Wind and Earthquake Engineering Nordex Energy GmbH SE

Project funded by:

Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action

Project promoted by:

Projektträger Jülich