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LORC tests and demonstrates technology for harvesting renewable energy offshore

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Meeting industry’s needs for environmental testing of large components for offshore use is now one step closer with the ordering of a climatic chamber for a new LORC test centre.

Read more about the environmental testing of structures here




Wind and wave test centers

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onsdag 20. april 2011

Around the world, test centers are being constructed – some have existed for a long time. Many companies have test facilities of their own. But collaboration and specialist knowledge are also needed from independent test centers. The criteria for inclusion by Oceanwise in this overview of test centers is that the centers must allow industrial access to test facilities, combined with academic input. And of course, the field of research has to relate to offshore renewables. Many test centers have other competences as well, but our descriptions focus on offshore renewables.


Photo: Courtesy of NREL, Credit - Warren Gretz.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is located in Colorado, USA. Founded in 1977 as a research institute for solar energy, NREL today covers research in all areas of renewable energy. NREL has a total of around 2000 employees, and funding for the last fiscal year (2010) was $376 million (€273 million). Research in wind and hydropower covers about a tenth of the funding. Test facilities for the wind industry fall under the National Wind Technology Center (NWTC), which is an NREL department. NWTC has 115 employees.

Test facilities include:

• Two drivetrain test systems for drivetrains of up to 200 kW and 2 MW rated power
• Blade test stand for fatigue and static tests of blades up to 50 meters
• Test field for full turbine tests.

Research programs include:
• Grid integration
• Environmental impacts
• Small, medium, and large turbine research.

Learn more at

Sources: NREL website, presentations from Director Dan E. Arvizu.


Photo: Narec

The National Renewable Energy Center (NaREC) is located in Blyth, Northumberland, UK. NaREC was founded in 2002 (at that time named New and Renewable Energy Centre) by a regional development agency, and facilities are located in old harbor docks and buildings in Blyth. The focus has been on wave and tidal energy, but increasingly on offshore wind as well. About 120 people work at NaREC.
NaREC has a full-scale blade test facility, and a new facility is under construction for blades up to 100 meters., NaREC signed a frame contract for the construction of facilities for this new blade test as well as two drivetrain test rigs. NaREC also has plans for an offshore test field in the sea just outside Blyth, with room for 20 test turbines.

Test facilities include:
• Blade test for static and dynamic fatigue and destructive test of blades up to 70 meters
• Wave test facility 1/10th scale
• Tidal test facility 1/10th scale
• Electrical testing.

Research programs include:
• Electrical networks.

Learn more at

Sources: NaREC website, Wikipedia, LinkedIn.

CENER, Spain

Photo: Wikimedia

The Centro Nacional de Energías Renovables (CENER) is located in Sarriguren (Navarra) Spain. It is the national technology center dedicated to the research, development, and promotion of renewable energy in Spain.
CENER conducts research in all areas of renewable energy. The Foundation began its work in 2002 and has 200 employees.

Test facilities include:
• Static and dynamic tests of blades up to 75 meters
• Powertrain test bench for wind powertrains up to 5 MW rated power. This includes generator testing, functional testing of full nacelles, and a facility for testing the assembly of nacelles offshore
• Test field for wind turbines
• Composite materials laboratory.

Research areas include:
• Wind energy
• Solar thermal energy
• Photovoltaic solar energy
• Biomass energy
• Bioclimatic architecture
• Renewable energy grid integration.

Learn more at

Source: CENER website.

ECN, Netherlands

Photo: Wikimedia/ECN

The Energy research Centre of the Netherlands (ECN) was established in 1955. It started as a research facility for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, named Reactor Centrum Netherland (RCN). Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 1975, it switched to its current name.
ECN’s main focus is onshore, and activities cover wind, solar, bioenergy, CO2 storage, and fuel cells. ECN has a staff of nearly 600. It is located in Petten, Netherlands.

Test facilities include:
• Test field in Wieringermeer with 5 turbines and fields for customer turbines
• Scaled wind farm at Wieringermeer for testing wake effects
• Static and fatigue tests of blades (with Delft University).

Research programs include:
• Rotor and wind farm aerodynamics
• Design and controls
• Operation and conditioning monitoring
• Materials and structures (with Delft University).

Find out more at and

Source: Annual report 2009, ECN website, WMC website.

Fraunhofer IWES, Germany

Photo: Wikimedia/Hannes Grobe

Fraunhofer IWES - Institut für Windenergie & Energiesystemtechnik - was established in 2009 as a merger of the former Fraunhofer Center for Wind Energy and Maritime Engineering CWMT in Bremerhaven and the Institute for Solar Energy Technology ISET in Kassel.
Fraunhofer has more than 80 research units, including 59 Fraunhofer Institutes in Germany. It participates in international networks and organizations like ERCIM, EARTO, GRA, and WAITRO.

Test facilities include:
• Blade test: Static, dynamic fatigue, and biaxial fatigue
• Production: Demonstration of rotor blades, coupon, and beam specimen
• Component tests: Testing under static and dynamic conditions
• Applied materials development: Aging properties, etc.
• Material testing: Static loads and cyclic loads, testing of fiber composite materials
• Climate chamber: Testing of mechanical and environmental loads on material
• Testing of support structures/ foundations for water up to 70 meters deep.

There are numerous research programs.

Learn more at

Source: Fraunhofer website.

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