The Small Wind Turbine Field Laboratory

Hercules medium infrastructure

In cooperation with University College West-Flanders and University College Ghent, and with the support of the Flemish Hercules fund, Ghent University has constructed a field laboratory for small wind turbines. The Small Wind Turbine Field Laboratory is located in the Esperantolaan in Ostend, opposite to the GreenBridge science park.

Unlike large and medium wind turbines that have already reached technical maturity, small wind turbines are still troubled by relatively high production and purchasing costs and relatively low reliability and energy yield. This is (partly) explained by the fact that small wind turbines are often produced by small companies with a limited budget for research and improvement. The priority of these small companies mainly lays at introducing their product to the market as soon as possible. Many of the small turbines already available, only followed a short field test process, or even none at all. In terms of technological maturity, the current situation of small wind turbines is comparable with the situation of photovoltaic panels twenty years ago.

To address this issue, the Association Ghent University has launched the SWT Field lab to let the small turbines undergo thorough field tests. The SWT Field Lab contains ten foundations for wind turbines with a hub height of 15m. Six of those ten  foundations are already featured with a turbine. The other four are made available for services to companies active in the (small scale) wind energy sector.

The primary objective is the evaluation of electrical and mechanical features, the sound production, the efficiency and the energy yield of small wind turbines. Moreover, all data are crossed with metrological data such as wind speed and direction. That way, the SWT Field Lab can identify performance limiting factors and performance improving opportunities in the design and formulate improvements, as to give a helping hand to the developing market of small wind turbines.

Partners

  • Ghent University
  • University College Ghent
  • University College West-Flanders
  • GreenBridge
  • Ghent University, Power-Link

Further information

More information on the SWT Field lab and the installed turbines is available on the website: http://www.swtfieldlab.ugent.be.