Vestas 8MW first into Lorc testing

A Vestas nacelle will be first onto the giant 10MW test rig being built at the Lindø Offshore Renewables Centre (Lorc) in Munkebo, Denmark, following the signing of a long-term deal with its compatriot turbine maker.

The two-and-a-half-year agreement covers testing of a range of "large-scale" nacelles at Lorc, under construction at the Lindø Industrial Park's former shipyard, with Vestas' new V164-8.0MW offshore machine expected to start trials next summer.

"We are extremely pleased to announce the agreement with Vestas for testing various types of nacelles. It gives us great reassurance to have our first customer in the house," says Lorc manager Ove Poulsen.

Lorc will have two test docks. One – the Function tester, which is slated to be up and running by July 2014 – will test nacelle functionality under extreme stresses, while the other, the Halt tester,  will perform mechanical and "highly accelerated lifetime tests".

"For Vestas, Lorc's testing means that we can test nacelles in a very realistic way without having to wait for the wind to blow," says Vestas chief technology office Anders Vedel.

"Our testing work reduces [our] warranty expenses, and is essential for our wind turbines having a Lost Production Factor [that is, turbine downtime] of less than 2%. This means that Vestas turbines are now harvesting more than 98% of the available wind."

Vestas is currently putting the V164 drive-train through an exhaustive programme of trials at its purpose-built 20MW test bench in Aarhus, with the aim of having a full prototype machine up and turning next year onshore and a commercial model ready for the offshore market by 2016.

Lorc, developed in close collaboration with both industry and academia, will be the first facility in the world to be able to test the "entire nacelle" for turbines between 3-10MW nameplate capacity, with the added feature of providing an offshore-specification 33kV grid-link.

"The design is unique with the capability for testing nacelles including the hub, where the turbine blades are normally fitted.

"This means that tests can be carried out with the nacelle's pitch system and software intact," according to Poulsen.

"In this way Vestas is expanding its testing options, which are already the most comprehensive in the wind industry, and help to constantly improve the quality and reliability of Vestas’ wind turbines."

Lorc foresees the function tester being used for end-of-production-line tests – quick functionality double-checks of nacelles coming out of final assembly.