The Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy Systems IWES has institute locations at five sites in the northern part of Germany, where it focuses on wind energy system technologies on all scales - from nanometres within the material development research to kilometres when doing site investigations and wind field simulations. The unique and broad testing infrastructure, established throughout the years since the foundation of Fraunhofer IWES, has secured the institute a leading position in several research fields. This mixture of research and industrial application is possible due to the research type and structure of institutes among the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft: applied research. This allows to directly focus on the needs of the industry and to benefit the business community and society.
Fraunhofer IWES profile
The history of Fraunhofer IWES reaches back to 2009, when - based on a structural study on national and international wind energy research - the institute was founded in Bremerhaven, being located directly at the coast of the German North Sea. Already in the founding year, the first testing facility - a 70 m rotor blade hall - was built in Bremerhaven, followed by a 90 m rotor blade hall just two years later. Having the offices just next to harbour areas, was highly beneficial for commencing the first LiDAR buoy for laser supported wind speed measuring in 2013. In the next year, a new facility - the test centre support structures in Hanover was established. In the following years, the location in Bremerhaven expanded massively by building the Dynamic Nacelle Laboratory (DyNaLab), establishing the application centre for field measurements, developing the BladeMaker manufacturing facility, and setting up a test field which comprises an 8 MW demonstrator wind turbine. In 2019, the large bearing test bench was established at a new location - in Hamburg - while just recently an electrolyser test field has been launched in Bremerhaven. Today, Fraunhofer IWES employs around 220 scientists and administrative staff, as well as more than 80 students at five sites: Bremerhaven, Hanover, Bremen, Hamburg, and Oldenburg.
Fraunhofer IWES is already highly active in lifetime and fatigue analyses based on accelerated testing, well experienced in mechanical and electrical system testing of wind turbine nacelles, simulating and validating the entire production chain involved in the manufacture of blades, and highly involved in research with respect to wind farm development, comprising environmental and site investigations, as well as offshore wind condition simulations. The future focus will still be on testing and validation, measurement methodology, as well as life cycle aspects, but also include digitalization topics and sector coupling - especially with hydrogen.
All in all, the institute is oriented towards the needs of wind farm developers and operators, open for innovative and future wind technologies – such as floating systems as dealt with in the AFLOWT project – and new business areas, as for example for hydrogen technology, and aims to position itself as an internationally leading research facility in selected fields.