Vestas’ latest and greatest offshore wind turbine, the 8MW V164, is designed to operate for a quarter century with minimal upkeep. To ensure that these massive turbines (their blade sweep area is equal to three football fields) are robust enough for 25 years of service in the North Atlantic, Vestas tortures its housings atop an equally gargantuan test bed.
The 42m long, 9m wide test bench has recently begun operation at Vestas’ global testing center in Aarhus, Denmark. But before the bench was installed, construction crews had to first lay a 50m deep concrete foundation to support the device’s 635-tonne mass — that’s including the 20MW (26,820 HP) motors, wind simulator and cadre of generators.
The bench is so large that it can easily accommodate a full V164 nacelle, which measures 7m tall, 24m long, and weighs close to 370 tonnes. Once on the bench, the nacelles are put through a rigorous testing simulation to judge the device’s reliability and ruggedness over its service life including stress testing the gearbox, main shaft and generator.